Meadville (Pa.) running back Journey Brown, who ran for 722 yards in a game as a junior, committed to Penn State in a whirlwind day Thursday.
Brown, who is ranked as the No. 2 running back in the state, was planning to take an official visit to Temple this weekend and Temple was his No. 1 choice until Penn State called with an offer.
Brown got a visit at school Thursday from Penn State offensive coordinator Joe Moorhead in which the possibility of a grayshirt was raised. Later, Nittany Lions head coach James Franklin called and Brown said he asked about academics — Brown has acknowledged that he needed to get his grades in shape in order be on the radar of top programs. Franklin extended the offer and Brown accepted it a few hours later.
Brown, also the state AA 100-meter dash champion, ran for 2,791 yards and 45 touchdowns on 218 carries as a senior. His career totals are 7,027 rushing yards, 103 rushing touchdowns and 721 total points.
But the most memorable game of his career — and perhaps in state history — was the night he scored 10 touchdowns and had those 722 yards on 30 carries in a 107-90 victory against DuBois in September 2015. The national record is 754 yards by John Giannantonio of Netcong (N.J.), in 1950.
The game thrust Brown into the status of local celebrity and beyond. At the time, he had not attended showcase camps or been on the radar of major programs. His biggest college connection then was from the University at Albany in New York because a former player from his area was involved with the program.
But last summer, he went to Penn State’s camp, where he ran a 4.45 in the 40-yard dash, attended an The Opening Regional and his name appeared on recruiting rankings.
“Journey’s just a guy who will never get disappointed if he runs for 50 yards in a game as long as we win — it’s just who he is,” coach Ray Collins told USA TODAY Sports last fall. “He always has goals. He wants to keep getting better.
“But he’s a kid from a small town, and I think right now one of the biggest aspirations he has is to be the best that’s ever worn a Meadville Bulldog uniform? To him that’s, ‘Wow, that would be something to be thought of like that.’ What he doesn’t realize is, he could be thought of as one of the best that every played high school football, but that’s not something you would ever even dwell on.”
To that end — even despite the 120 people who were awaiting the team bus after the game and the media requests — Brown says things were back to normal by the time the team took the practice field Monday after his big game.
“When we got back here, there’s a whole crowd of friends and students from the school so that was pretty cool,” he said. “Then when I got to school Monday, it was like I was a superstar just visiting the school.
“A lot of people were coming up to me, like asking how, and like I’m a beast and the score was crazy and where was the defense and probably a million more questions that I had to answer, but I didn’t want to answer all of them.
“Then we got right back Monday to practice. We knew what we did and that was it, and it’s time to get your mind set for the next game. So that’s a ‘have-to.’ You can’t dwell on the past cause it’s over. You can’t go back in the past and live in it because you’ve got another game. That wasn’t our last game of the season so you’ve got to get going pushing forward.”