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Sometimes the best athletes on a high school team play the position that most benefits the offense: Quarterback.
That was Nebraska cornerback Cam Taylor-Britt’s story. Once he reached college, he transitioned full-time to defensive back and has been one of Nebraska’s steadiest players on defense.
NU may have a similar story brewing on offense, where freshman receiver Alante Brown — a quarterback at Chicago Simeon High School — is turning the heads of teammates and coaches. He might be one of the fastest players on the team. He also had a bridge year between high school and college at Connecticut prep school St. Thomas More, where he began the transition away from quarterback by playing running back and receiver.
At Nebraska, Brown is in the R role that blends back and receiver duties. Offensive coordinator Matt Lubick — Brown’s position coach — complimented Brown’s willingness to improve outside of practice hours. Brown stays late, works hard and catches a lot of balls.
“His attitude alone is going to make him a really good player,” Lubick said. “Not to mention he has a ton of talent.”
Matt Lubick likes what he sees from a Nebraska offense that will spend more time in 2020 on its "bread and butter."
Husker senior tight end Jack Stoll, when asked to single out some of the NU newcomers at receiver, mentioned South Dakota transfer Levi Falck, a big-play pass-catcher who’s now healthy after battling some injuries at USD. Stoll also mentioned Brown.
“When he goes full speed I don't think there's anyone that can stop him,” Stoll said.
Brown is a little bigger (5-foot-11, 190 pounds) than Wan’Dale Robinson (5-10, 190), who plays a similar role. At least on tape, Brown has more straight-line speed and a little less agility than Robinson. The duo could make for a good 1-2 punch, especially in the absence of departed receiver JD Spielman, who now plays at TCU.
Nebraska was the beneficiary of Brown’s winding road to major college football. He originally committed to Michigan State in summer 2018, but switched to Texas Tech and signed with the Red Raiders in 2019. He didn’t enroll there, though, choosing to play at St. Thomas More where he was somewhat forgotten about by several schools and recruiting services.
But Brown eventually had strong offers from NU, Michigan State, Ole Miss, Maryland and Indiana. Brown was a blue-chip pickup based on his senior year at Simeon, where he led the team to an 11-1 record and reportedly accounted for 53 touchdowns.
"He's definitely impressed his teammates," Lubick said. "... He's brand new at it, everything to him — technique, scheme, plays, terminology. And to actually have a chance to play when you're at that position, you really have to put time in on your own. And he has."