Former IWA quarterback makes strides for JMU football

Published 9:36 am Friday, June 29, 2012

HARRISONBURG—A former Isle of Wight Academy quarterback and walk-on at James Madison University has earned a full scholarship after his first full year of play.

James Madison University wide receiver Daniel Brown carries the ball during a game against University of Masschusetts last year. -- SUBMITTED | Cathy Kushner

JMU wide receiver Daniel Brown played in every game last season as a red shirt sophomore. Brown caught five passes including his first career touchdown for the Dukes, which was also his first career catch — a 41-yard reception against the University of North Carolina.

“It was a deep route and I ended up beating the corner,” the 20-year-old Isle of Wight native said. “The quarterback made a good throw, and I caught it over my shoulder.”

Daniel Brown’s father, Mike Brown, remembers the catch against the Atlantic Coast Conference opponent.

“He was playing a Division I school and caught a 41-yard touchdown in front of 70,000 people,” Mike Brown said.

Mike Brown, a starting receiver for Isle of Wight Academy in 1975-76, knew his son at 6 feet, 5 inches and 220 pounds would do special things on a football field. He told Daniel that wide receiver was his natural position.

“He was kind of beating the cornerbacks in practice,” Mike Brown said. “We knew he could play.”

He was the 2010 salutatorian at IWA and helped lead the Chargers to state runners-up in football and basketball the same school year, said IWA Athletic Director Dale Chapman.

“I think he said in his speech that it was the third time he came in second place that year,” Chapman said.

Chapman, his football coach, praised his athletic ability and work ethic as keys to his success, especially when he battled to come back from a broken leg he suffered during the third game of his sophomore year.

“It put him behind when he came in to start his junior year,” Chapman said.

Daniel Brown, who was all-state in football, basketball and baseball with the Chargers, said JMU coaches are excited about his potential.

“I’ve had coaches tell me I had a really good spring,” he said. “Right now I’m going to try to do the best I can and see what happens.”

Daniel Brown calls JMU his home now, although growing up he never expected he’d play for the Dukes. He was on the sideline at Lane Stadium in Blacksburg in September 2010 when the Dukes upset Virginia Tech 21-16.

Daniel Brown helped JMU to an 8-5 record last season and a Division I playoff berth. He is also the son of Cathy Brown and Carolyn Brown.