Connecticut's Donald Brown ready for NFL

No player could compare to Donald Brown in 2008, at least as far as rushing the ball goes.

The Connecticut running back had 2,083 yards on the ground, 233 more than Shonn Greene who was second nationally.

Brown was the Huskies' offense. Brown ran left. Brown ran right. Brown ran straight up the middle. He was even a factor in the passing game, catching 21 balls.

All told, he finished 2008 with an incredible 388 touches. However, Brown said he wasn't wore down by season's end.

"Coach (Randy) Edsall did a great job handling us," Brown said via phone from his native New Jersey. "We prepared for it to be like this. I was ready for a big load at the beginning of the season. It really helped that the offensive line did a great job."

Brown capped his junior season with a career-high 261 yards against Buffalo in the International Bowl. Following the game, an emotional Brown declared for the NFL Draft.

While the decision may have been a tough one for Brown, it was one he knew he was ready to make.

"(I knew I could make it to the NFL) when I got into college and seeing guys I was playing against going into the NFL," Brown said. "It made me think it was something I could do."

Growing up in Atlantic Highland, N.J. as a fan of the New York Giants, Brown idolized Tiki Barber. On the field, Brown is just as slippery and quick as Barber, but what could make him even better is a devastating stiff arm.

The stiff arm Brown regularly put on display at Connecticut is one he developed in high school. The exercise science major has strength much greater than his 5-foot-10, 210-pound frame would suggest.

"In high school is where I got real dedicated to the weight room," Brown said. "It was all about making myself the best possible player I could be."

What Brown is likely to be this weekend is no worse than a second-round pick. For the man who values family as much as football, it will be the realization of a childhood dream.

"To see where I am right now, it's been great," Brown said. "I've surrounded myself with great people and my family has been a great help every step of the way."

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