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Analysis: Itayvion Brown commits to the Gophers

06/25/2019, 12:30pm CDT
By Daniel House

The Gophers received a commitment from St. Louis linebacker/athlete Itayvion Brown. He is currently the eighth-rated player in the state of Missouri, according to 24/7 Sports rankings. Brown chose the Gophers over offers from Iowa, Iowa state, LSU, Florida State, Michigan State, Purdue and others. He recently visited Kansas, but liked the fit in Minnesota, following his June 18 visit. Brown currently is the top-rated player in the Gophers’ 2020 recruiting class, according to 24/7 Sports rankings.

At 6-foot-3, 218 pounds, Brown played both linebacker and wide receiver in high school. When evaluating tape, he was a very solid big-bodied wide receiver and could have the versatility to play multiple positions. He won many contested catch battles with his ability to shield defenders and high-point the ball in traffic. At the next level, he’s probably viewed as a linebacker or edge prospect. When evaluating his testing metrics, his numbers fall in-between several position groups. Many factors, including how much strength he can add, will determine his best fit. At the Opening Regional, he ran a 4.83 40-yard dash, 4.56 shuttle and posted a 27.5-inch vertical. However, it’s often hard to truly understand a player’s actual testing due to the varying nature of workout techniques.

On defense, he was moved all over the field and blitzed off the edge consistently when playing outside linebacker. When watching Brown, what really stands out is his wingspan and length at the position. He could gain additional upper body strength and have the skills to develop pass rushing moves. Brown could also remain at linebacker and be flexed all over the field, including into Double A-gap looks or other various blitz packages. He can also be an asset in coverage because of his wingspan and ball skills. I don’t think Brown has really tapped into his full potential yet, especially as a defender. This is the perfect example of Minnesota adding a versatile athlete and finding the best positional fit for him at a later date. Over the past couple cycles, it’s something Minnesota’s coaching staff has prioritized. At this moment, I’m not sure which position fits Brown best and I’ll be fascinated to watch him in-person over the next couple seasons to formulate a stronger opinion. My initial guess is he will start on the defensive side of the ball and could be a hybrid player because of his size, length and athletic makeup. He could be a legitimate option at many different positions across the front-seven.

This is the 21st commitment in the 2020 cycle, which currently ranks No. 25 nationally and No. 5 in the Big Ten, according to 24/Sports. 

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