Blue and Gold Illustrated

Sept. 26, 2016

Blue & Gold Illustrated: America's Foremost Authority on Notre Dame Football

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Page 18 of 55 SEPT. 26, 2016 19 "Every father hopes and antici- pates that their child will do some- thing of this magnitude," Brown said by phone from California. "But to see it … it's mind blowing." Equanimeous, a budding star for the Irish, could have plenty more days like that in his career. Without injured senior wideout Torii Hunter Jr. against Nevada, St. Brown shined again, pull- ing in six catches for 85 yards. It's the start to the season that many hoped St. Brown would have. After losing veterans Chris Brown and Amir Carlisle to graduation and star Will Fuller to the NFL a year early, St. Brown and the other inex- perienced Irish wideouts were thrust into larger roles early in the year. St. Brown played just 41 snaps as a freshman and was shut down in mid- November with a shoulder injury that required surgery. His expanded posi- tion on the team hasn't changed him much at all, the 6-5, 205-pounder said. "There's not much difference from this year and last year," said St. Brown, who made his first career start in the loss to the Longhorns. "I'm just more focused and playing a bigger role on the team. I have to step up more." * * * As the father of three develop- ing wide receivers, John Brown was looking for an edge. Knowing he could not throw enough passes himself, he pur- chased a JUGS machine a few years ago and put it in the family's garage so his boys could hone their pass- catching craft at home. Every other day, his major college-bound sons — Equanimeous, Osiris and Amon-Ra St. Brown — caught 200 passes each. The workouts briefly became even more taxing when Equanimeous was a senior at Anaheim (Calif.) Servite High School. A conversation with an LSU recruiter led to Equanimeous being on the phone with current NFL All-Pro and former Tigers star re- ceiver Odell Beckham Jr. It was an appealing recruiting pitch for Equanimeous, a four-star prospect and the No. 144 overall prospect in the country according to Rivals. Though he ultimately did not choose Tigers, he and his father took an important piece of advice from Beckham. The New York Giants wide receiver proclaimed that he catches not 200, but 300 balls per day. "I went, 'OK boys, we have to catch 310 balls,'" Brown said. "'We can't do 300, because if we do 300, we're only as good as him. We're not trying to be as good as him. We want to be better than him.'" One slight problem: it was taking Brown hours and hours to complete the sessions for his three sons. "We went back down to 200 be- cause it was a lot of work," John Brown said with a laugh. And despite the lessened workload, Equanimeous — as well as his broth- ers — have turned out just fine. Osiris, a class of 2017 recruit out of Santa Ana (Calif.) Mater Dei, is a 6-2 and 188-pound four-star prospect that ver- bally committed to Stanford in August over Notre Dame. Amon-Ra could be the best of the bunch. At 6-1 and 187 pounds, the class of 2018 four-star wideout has offers from plenty of big- time programs, including the Irish. "They're great, too," Equanimeous said of his brothers. "We all train the same so we all have the same skill set, but just different body types." Wildly different personalities as well, their father said. Equanimeous is the even-keeled professional, letting his play do the talking. Osiris is the fiery one with a mean streak, Brown said, declaring that his middle son will get into his share of fist fights at Stanford. Amon-Ra has the sweetest personality of them all, but he has a permanent scowl that throws people off. With Osiris' commitment to Stan- ford, it doesn't appear that all three of Brown's sons will end up at Notre Dame. Though that has been a dream of his for some time now, Brown said he never influences what schools his sons consider. Brown, who now runs a clothing company, was a world-class weight lifter. The two-time Mr. Universe and three-time Mr. World champion has taken his own training methods and taught them to his sons, who have been raised not to compete, but to "annihilate." For example, after long workouts, Brown would have his ex- hausted sons do maximum-weight on the squat machine. It taught them an important trait they all still have today. "If you fall you fall," Brown said. "I go, 'In order to do this, you have to flip the switch and go crazy right now. Put yourself in a crazy state right now.' Through that, they learned how to flip the switch." To this day, Equanimeous has no problem flipping that switch. All that talent and personality needed an aes- thetic makeover. John Brown decided that the surname Brown alone would not look good on the back of a jersey. So he added "St." in front of it to give it some character. Through the first two games, St. Brown led the Irish with 11 receptions and 160 receiving yards, plus was tied for the team lead with two touch- down catches. PHOTO BY BILL PANZICA

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