When he was a sophomore wide receiver in at Morgan Park High in Chicago, Da’Ron Brown was starting to attract the recruiting interest of Big Ten schools.
But his team needed a quarterback, and that’s where Brown played the next two seasons. The higher profile schools weren’t interested in a spread quarterback, and Brown landed at nearby Northern Illinois.
He never lost the wide receiver skill set or hope that one day he could play in the NFL.
The Chiefs made Brown their seventh-round draft selection this spring, and he’s happily battling for a job.
Two years at quarterback in high school may have cost him a Big Ten spot, but Brown wouldn’t rewrite history.
“My coach said that’s where I was needed to help the team, and even though I was progressing at wide receiver, we needed a quarterback,” Brown said.
At Northern Illinois, Brown became the team’s top wide receiver over his final two years with a combined 110 receptions and 15 touchdowns. His teams appeared in four bowl games, including an Orange Bowl date with Florida State after the 2012 season, and the Huskies defeated Northwestern and Purdue during his stay.
Brown did all he could to prepare for a professional career after last season, performing well at the East-West All-Star practices in January, at the NFL Scouting Combine and during Pro Day at Northern Illinois.
Still, there was uncertainty as the draft approached.
“I was hoping for the best, expecting the getting prepared for the worst,” Brown said.
The seventh round was unfolding, and Brown’s father, Ron, suggested the two go out for dinner to lift spirits and perhaps plot a free-agent course.
“He was in the middle of the sentence when my phone rang,” Brown said. “I heard, ‘How would like to be a member of the Kansas City Chiefs?’
“My dad said he saw my face light up.”
The Chiefs used the final of their nine draft selections for Brown. He was their second wide receiver in the draft class following third-rounder Chris Conley of Georgia.
The scouting report has Brown as an outside wide receiver with good hands but perhaps lacks the speed for separation. But Brown said he’s will to do anything it takes to stick in the NFL and help his team.
He proved that as a high school sophomore.