Spencer Brown is every bit of 6 foot 6, 300 pounds and when he blocks someone, they stay blocked.
Last season, the Michigan State commit recorded more than 50 pancake blocks at left tackle for Walled Lake (Mich.) Western. C.J. Brown has empathy for his victims — he remembers the feeling.
“It was terrible,” C.J. said, shaking his head. “All that weight on you, it was terrible. I know what those guys are going through.”
C.J. knows all too well. He grew up trying to avoid that very thing.
“We used to wrestle when we were younger,” said C.J., a junior wide receiver/free safety at Western. “I never had a chance to beat him in wrestling. Never, ever.
“When he got too big I just said it’s not worth it.”
Spencer has become a dominating left tackle as a senior, but that was something he wanted to avoid like the plague.
“My goal was to play tight end,” he said. “I didn’t want to play offensive line. I hated that. When I started working out I gained so much weight and got bigger.
“I wasn’t trying to gain weight.”
Spencer entered high school at a svelte 6-5, 210. He was a talented tight end with good speed. He and C.J. trained together and C.J. was the one trying to keep up with big brother.
“I used to beat him up the hills and in sprints and all of that,” Spencer said. “That was when I was skinny. I used to be the real athlete.”
He is still a real athlete, which is why MSU liked him so much. A starter in basketball, Spencer averaged 10 points and 10 rebounds last season.
He became an MSU target when he found the weight room and began packing on the pounds.
By the time he was a sophomore, Spencer weighed 260 pounds and then added another 40.
“I don’t know what happened,” he said. “I gained a lot of weight just eating and working out.”
If Spencer doesn’t know what happened, how do you think his mother, LaShon, feels?
“I could not believe he had gained that much, but he and C.J. eat,” she said. “My grocery bill is ridiculous. I should have stock in Sam’s Club because I go to Sam’s or Costco every week.”
By the time Spencer reached 300 pounds, LaShon was at her wit’s end and so was her husband, Calvin, who played at Detroit Mackenzie and shares the cooking chores.
“That’s when it was ridiculous,” LaShon said with a sigh. “I was fussing because the clothes I bought him last year don’t even fit.”
At 5-11, 180, C.J. is no shrimp. But it is odd to find brothers just over a year apart with a 120-pound weight difference.
Because he moved so well and liked catching passes, Spencer held out hope he could play tight end. But soon people who make a living evaluating and recruiting college players got through to him that tight end was not his best position.
247Sports Composite ranks him as a 3-star offensive tackle and the 13th ranked recruit in the state for the class of 2019.
He visited Alabama, Clemson, George and Notre Dame before Michigan offered. But he was sold on MSU and plans to enroll in January.
“I just wanted to get the recruiting process over and work out,” he said. “I felt I had a strong bond with the coaching staff and the players up there. I just wanted to lock it in and just work hard from there.”
As the brothers grew older they turned to sports and realized they wanted to be college football players. To that end they would have daily workouts together.
C.J., a 3-star by 247Sports, already has offers from Syracuse, Western Michigan, Ohio University, Bowling Green, Morgan State and Northern Illinois.
“When he got bigger, I would help him out on his drills and stuff like that,” C.J. said. “I’d be a quicker guy for him so I’d give him a better look when we’d do drills.”
Spencer had Western teammates and coaches shaking their heads when the team would play a version of two-hand touch in winter and spring workouts.
“I’ve seen him hoop before so he’s light on his feet and he moves a little bit,” Western quarterback Sam Johnson said. “I knew what he was capable of, but I didn’t think he could catch it that good. He surprised me with that a little bit.”
He absolutely stunned first-year Western coach Alex Grignon, who watched in amazement as he ran up and down the field catching the ball.
“He’s jumping up and high-pointing ball and juking people,” Grignon said. “Man, does he go hard. And he’s a giant.”
He is a giant left tackle, a role he reluctantly learned to embrace.
“Reality came in my sophomore year when I got scholarship offers,” he said. “That’s when college scouts and recruiting people were telling me I could be an NFL lineman if I switched to playing tackle. College coaches were telling me I could make a lot of money playing left tackle.”