Photo Credit: Eric Francis

Alante Brown Ready to Turn Experience and Attention to Detail Into Production for Huskers in 2022

July 05, 2022

Alante Brown isn’t in the running to be Nebraska’s starting quarterback in 2022, but he certainly understands the role better than most.

Brown was the quarterback for Simeon High School in Chicago, a role he held as a three-year starter. As a senior, Brown helped lead the Simeon Wolverines to a city championship, the Class 7A state quarterfinals and an 11-1 record. He threw for 41 touchdowns and rushed for 12 more as a senior, earning all-state honors.

After high school, Brown switched to wide receiver during his one year at St. Thomas More Prep in Connecticut. He helped St. Thomas More to an 8-1 record in 2019.

The switch to wide receiver was a strategic one for Brown. He knew his height might limit interest from potential programs at quarterback—Nebraska lists him at 5-foot-10—but his speed made him particularly compelling as a receiver. That said, the transition still required some adjustment for Brown.

While quarterbacks know the routes, he noted during a recent episode of Sports Nightly, there’s something different about running them yourself.

“When I first started (at wide receiver), there were a lot of things for me to learn, small details, being technical with my routes and just learning how to read coverages,” Brown said. “Now that I’ve gotten more coaching and more coaching and more reps and more reps, I feel comfortable.”

That coaching comes in the form of new position coach, Mickey Joseph. While Brown played in every game as a freshman in 2020 and 11 games in 2021, he didn’t feel he was able to show what he’s capable of during those two season. In 2020, Brown caught three passes for 41 yards and led Nebraska with 10 kickoff returns for 196 yards. In 2021, he caught three passes for 30 yards and returned five kickoffs for 77 yards.

But since Joseph took over the Nebraska wide receivers room, Brown has dedicated himself to the details. Every instruction Brown is given is met with 100% of his focus and attention, and Joseph’s way of doing things has made an impact already.

“He helped me a lot,” Brown said. “He’s a real energetic guy. His energy feeds off on the room so that’s the type of coaching that I’m looking for and it just made me become a better player.”

Joseph, on the other hand, has watched Brown’s eagerness and love for the game play out in his time at Nebraska. Brown isn’t just saying he wants to take every opportunity to improve. He’s actively living it.

“When it’s time for routes on air and it’s a Saturday morning, he’s there,” Joseph said following a spring football practice. “When the quarterback says we’re throwing routes on air at 3 o’clock in the afternoon, he’s there. When it’s time for meetings, he’s the first one in the room. He’s there.”

Brown didn’t just dedicate himself to extra reps on the field this spring and summer either. He has also focused on learning the playbook and becoming more detailed in his route-running.

And plenty of the instruction provided to Brown has been with the intention of making him the elite route runner he wishes to be. That has included working on his cuts, how he reads a defense and getting off contact. He’s also worked on getting stronger. Those are the little details that “QBs don’t really have to do,” as Brown noted, but something he’s working on consistently improving on.

One area of strength for Brown is his speed. It’s something he first took note of in eighth grade while running track. As he looked around during his first track meet, Brown noticed everyone competing was wearing shoes with spikes. Brown, on the other hand, was wearing gym shoes.

“And I won it,” he said. “I was like, ‘OK, I see how fast I am now.'”

He’s put that speed to good use in the return game so far for Nebraska. “It’s real fun,” he said, “especially when somebody can’t keep up with you.” But he’s ready to put that skill to good use as a receiver too.

How does he get there?

“Just keeping it as detailed as I can,” Brown said. “The more detailed we can be, the better we’re going to be as a team so just making sure I’m doing every little thing I can do.”

Brown has big goals for 2022. While he’s seen the field quite a bit in his first two season at Nebraska, he now wants to see his production skyrocket in the season ahead.

He plans to use his knowledge as a quarterback turned wide receiver, his speed and his attention to detail to get there.

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