Brown Chose The Road Less Traveled

Brown's Focus On Baseball Helped His Draft Status

Dee Brown was a two-sport standout with the University of Central Florida before being selected in the 10th round of the 2005 MLB Draft by the Washington Nationals. Brown, who chose to give up football and focus on baseball in his senior year, shocked many with his decision - especially considering his pedigree.

Dee Brown played fullback and running back for the Golden Knights of the University of Central Florida, as well as outfield for their baseball team. With having to choose to focus on one sport to play professionally, Brown went against family history.

"I thought there was a better opportunity for me in baseball," Brown told CapitolDugout.com in a recent interview. "Playing football seemed to haunt me and hurt me as far as baseball. I think playing football didn't allow me to get drafted after my junior year."

"I'm not sure what teams and scouts were thinking," Brown continued. "Maybe because my dad [former All-Pro Philadelphia Eagles defensive lineman Jerome Brown] played in the NFL made them think I would pursue football. I wanted to focus on baseball my senior year to do the things I knew I was capable of. I just wanted to get stronger and faster for baseball."

Focusing solely on baseball, Brown responded with a huge senior year. He hit .312, his lowest career average for any one season, but chipped in with a whopping 18 home runs, which was 10 more than his entire career total heading into his final year of school.

After being drafted in the 10th round of the 2005 MLB Draft, a rather high selection for a fourth-year senior, Brown broke into the professional ranks with the Vermont Expos this past season and had a fantastic debut. He hit .283 with 8 home runs in the NY-Penn League in 2005, which was just three home runs off of the team lead.

At 6'0" and 235 pounds, Brown is built like former Major Leaguer and NFL running back, Bo Jackson. And like Jackson, Brown is all about athleticism.

"Dee is a hoss, but he's real fast," said former UCF and Vermont teammate John Howell. "He's a shyer type of guy but he's very aggressive when he's playing. He's real hard-nosed. He'll take a pitch in the arm just to get on base or he'll blast a 7,000 foot home run. He's just got so much energy."

As impressive as his overall numbers were in his professional debut with the Vermont Expos, perhaps the best stat of them all was the fact he did not go hitless in consecutive games all season.

"The one word that comes to mind to describe him is consistent," said Howell, his best friend and teammate the last three seasons. "He plays with complete consistency and he does everything right."

"I mean, he's got all the tools to work with," a proud Howell told CapitolDugout.com. "In college he would hit third and I would bat fourth and in the pros I batted third and he batted fourth. He's just the best guy to be playing with either in front of you or behind you. He kind of reminds me of Carlos Lee. He's real quiet in the box. I mean, you hardly know he's in there and then when you leave something over the zone, he's going to pound it."

While playing football and following his famous father's footsteps would have been the logical choice, Brown decided to be his own man and follow the road less traveled. His decision could be a major positive for the Nationals down the road.

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