Rutgers landed a huge commitment Wednesday from Philadelphia four-star running back Sam Brown. A 6-2, 205-pound junior, Brown picked Rutgers over 20-plus schools including football factories like Texas A&M, Ole Miss and Wisconsin. But how exactly will he impact Rutgers’ run game and offense, overall? Let’s break down his style, what makes him special, other strengths and areas where he can improve in forecasting his affect on Rutgers football.

What makes Brown special?

Brown is an instinctive runner and good things happen when the ball is in his hands. You don’t often find a back this big who can make defenders miss in the hole. He freezes them by gearing down and uses juke moves and head fakes at the (supposed) point of contact to flee. He has good interior vision and can navigate between the tackles unlike most high school backs who bounce everything outside. He can also run through defenders with his size and explosive burst.

Other strengths

Brown is a stallion in the open field, who’s rarely forced to gear up to top speed. He’s also strong and can spin off contact. Although he gets vertical, he can also stretch and cut. He has an inside-outside game which flourishes in his team’s inside/outside zone scheme.

Like to see more of this

Brown can take a swing pass and create in the open field. I’d like to see him utilized more in the passing game as it would open things up even more for him inside. He’s a versatile athlete who coaches will use primarily out the backfield, but also use in the slot, and to run fly or jet sweeps.

Brown plays tall but …

He’s tough to get on the ground. He always falls forward and finishes off the run. He also makes good, subtle downfield cuts, navigating defenders as he weaves down the field. And when he bounces a run outside, good luck finding the angle and speed to cut him off.


It will take time for Brown to get used to a new offense and more detailed defenses and preparation, as well as pass protection at the college level. But if he can embrace those things combined with his length, twitch and athletic gifts, he should significantly impact Rutgers’s offense. There are a number of good runners at Rutgers which will allow Brown time settle in and find his way. But he should contribute, in some capacity, from day one. That’s what he was recruited by Rutgers to do — impact the offense, and potentially Rutgers’ win column, immediately.

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Todderick Hunt may be reached at [email protected].

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