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Versatile defensive lineman brings 'Bleed Blue' mentality to Boise State

The 6-foot-2, 312-pounder played quarterback on a blue turf in high school. Brown and Andy Avalos "have talked about" him getting the football on offense.

BOISE, Idaho — Boise State football landed another win out of the transfer portal last week by welcoming former Iowa State defensive lineman Howard Brown to the 2023 roster.

Brown is a 6-foot-2, 312-pound interior defender who is slated to be a redshirt sophomore this fall, meaning he has three years of NCAA eligibility remaining. He played in six games with the Cyclones last year, registering two tackles.

The Kansas City native is a unique and versatile player. At Lincoln College Prep prior to Iowa State, Brown played quarterback, throwing for more than 3,000 yards and rushing for nearly 4,000 yards in high school. 

Brown also has a connection with Boise State, because Lincoln College Prep has a blue turf. He told KTVB his commitment is a "full circle" moment as he prepares to step on The Blue with the Broncos.

"You know, the 'Bleed Blue' mentality, I been having that since high school and it's still with me. It's nice to be back on a blue field," Brown said.

Back in October 2020, Barstool Sports posted a video of Brown rumbling out of the backfield as a 275-pound high school quarterback. While Brown said his build at QB called for jokes related to Lamar Jackson, his versatility paid dividends during the recruitment process.

"It was always jokes and stuff like that, like I would always get 'hey look at Lamar Snackson,' things like that, but college coaches looked at it as a big man with a lot of athleticism," Brown said. "It honestly helped me out a lot too. So, I kind of know like progressions that the quarterback has to go through, it's kind of easy for me to read offensive schemes and how the offensive line is lined up and how the backfield is ran. So, I kind of do have an advantage being a previous quarterback."

Los Angeles Chargers sixth-round draft pick and former Boise State defensive lineman Scott Matlock grabbed two touchdowns during his tenure with the Broncos. Last fall, Matlock and fellow defensive lineman Herbert Gums were used on offense in goal-line situations. 

In his conversation with KTVB, Brown said him and head coach Andy Avalos have already weighed the idea of the quarterback-turned-defender touching the rock in the City of Trees.

"Oh yeah, definitely. Me and coach Av actually have talked about it. He showed me some clips," Brown said. "That's a big man's dream, always, to carry the ball to the end zone, so I'm looking forward to it."

In his commitment post on Instagram, Brown posted photos with his mother, as well as the entire Boise State coaching staff. As a former Big-12 player, Brown received a lot of love upon entering the transfer portal, even taking visits to Memphis and UNLV.

In the end, Brown elected to bring his talents to Boise, citing Avalos and Co.'s plan for his career as a Bronco and what it could lead to at the next level.

"During my recruitment process going on visits, it was a lot of programs saying, 'we're trying to do this,' and 'we're trying to do that.' When I came to Boise State, it was like, 'we're going to develop you this way, we're going to make sure you get this, what you need,'" Brown said. "I got a chance to meet with a lot of the teammates, like Markel Reed and JC. The energy they gave me, they're like 'we're on a mission. Don't be coming in here on nothing else, we got to go and that's just what we're gonna do.' I like that mentality."

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