CLEMSON — When you think of Clemson’s most valuable players, Jaron Brown doesn’t automatically leap to mind.
The senior receiver has 66 career catches for 841 yards and eight touchdowns, averaging 12.7 yards per reception.
His sophomore and junior seasons are virtually the same; 32 receptions for 405 yards and three scores, averaging 12.7 yards per catch, in 2010 and 31 receptions for 406 yards and four scores, averaging 13.1 yards per catch in 2011.
It’s easy for Brown to get lost amid the hype surrounding the Tigers’ talented wide receiver corps.
Rising sophomore Sammy Watkins is the consensus national freshman of the year and one of only four true freshmen ever to be named a first-team AP All-American.
Watkins set every major ACC freshman receiving record last fall.
He also broke every Clemson freshman record set in 2010 by rising junior DeAndre Hopkins. Hopkins has flytrap hands, incredible leaping ability and game-breaking speed; Dabo Swinney called him Clemson’s spring MVP.
Mix in four-star sophomores Martavis Bryant and Charone Peake, and the shuffle around Brown gets even bigger.
Player Profile: Jaron Brown
That’s fine with him. Brown doesn’t like to attract attention to himself. He just does his job.
At Maryland last fall, the Tigers played horribly, falling into an 18-point second-half hole.
Everyone remembers Watkins’ electric play, rolling up 345 all-purpose yards while leading a comeback in a 56-45 win.
But who gave Clemson its second lead of the night – 42-38 with 11 minutes to play - on a 12-yard slant route score? That’s right. Brown.
Against Wake Forest three weeks later, who caught the game-tying 10-yard score with 5:26 left?
You guessed it. Brown, to borrow a phrase from UPS, delivers.
He’s the guy going over the middle, grabbing the crucial third-down pass to keep drives alive. His hands are sure, his body language always positive.
He is the consummate teammate, a guy who contributes on kick and punt returns and manages to fly right under the radar.
In 37 games, he has only one 100-yard receiving game, catching four passes for 107 yards in 2010 at North Carolina. And even then, one of the receptions was a 74-yard deflected-ball score.
He’s never made more than six receptions in a game – but true to form, that came against Wake Forest, in a game that clinched the Tigers’ second Atlantic Division title in three years.
Brown will never be confused for an All-American, but his teammates and coaches wouldn’t trade him for anyone.