The resurgence of West Virginia’s ground game in 2020 led to the emergence of Leddie Brown.
In his junior campaign, the running back nearly tripled his production from the season prior. His first two seasons with the program saw a combined 813 rushing yards and five touchdowns. In 2020, the stat line read 1,010 yards and 9 TDs on 199 attempts.
As a senior, Brown believes he continue the trend of increasing his productivity.
“There’s no doubt in my mind,” the veteran back said.
But Brown doesn’t want to just take a step up. He has unfinished business as his senior season has one main focus: becoming a 1,000-yard rusher in back-to-back seasons.
“That’s why I came back to West Virginia, to do it, and to prove to people wrong that don’t think I can do it,” Brown said. “My goal for this year is just to prove people wrong. Simple as that. Prove them wrong and show them I am one of the best backs in the Big 12, if not the best.”
According to the numbers, Brown finished 2020 as the second-best running back in the Big 12. That top spot belonged to Iowa State’s Breece Hall, who rushed for 1,572 yards and 21 touchdowns in 12 games. Brown’s numbers came through 10 contests.
Hall will be back with the Cyclones in 2021, but Brown isn’t focused on any other college running back except No. 4 in Gold and Blue.
“I’m not the type of person that feeds into all that. I’m just worrying about myself, my family, and reaching my goal,” he said.
However, when it comes to professional backs, there are a few traits from a pair of players he tries to emulate.
“I really like Alvin Kamara’s patience, explosion, and how he catches the ball out of the backfield. Aaron Jones is another back I pay attention to and try to mimic my run game after.”
Brown hopes to one day be on the same level as those guys, but he knows he still has work to do before he can get there. Making those NFL-type improvements to his game is the big reason we will see him back on Mountaineer Field this fall.
“I had many talks with my mom, my family, Coach Brown and Coach Scott about me either staying or going. We all decided the best thing for me is to stay because I still have to work on the little things,” Brown said. “Things like breaking down the defense, recognizing the defense, route running and catching the ball. I can come back this year and show the NFL scouts that I can do that and I can be a big-league back.”
Last season, Brown also showed his versatility by catching passes out of the backfield. He had 31 receptions for 202 yards and a pair of touchdowns, but the senior says he just isn’t satisfied with that number.
“Me catching the ball more will catch the eye of the NFL scouts because that is what they are looking for now — backs that can run, catch, block, the full package. That’s what I am trying to show them I can do,” Brown said.
He’s putting in the work to show scouts just how much he can contribute in the passing game, thanks to the help of receivers coach Gerad Parker.
“I’ve been working one on one drills with the receivers coach. Coach Parker is an excellent receivers coach and he’s teaching me different techniques for looks I might get running a certain route,” he said.
Increased catches and rushing attempts, and of course, another 1,000-yard season. Leddie Brown is coming for it all, especially the latter, with a chip on his shoulder.
“It would mean a lot because a lot of people thought I couldn’t do it and still think I can’t do it. Brown said. “Coach Scott reminds me of that every day. Every day we step into our position meeting room, he says to prove them wrong, so that’s my main focus for this season.”