New South Carolina quarterback Jason Brown eager to make up for lost time

Eric Boynton

Jason Brown transferred to South Carolina in mid-March for his fifth season of college football seemingly leaving him as the wily old veteran of the program's very inexperienced quarterback situation.

The reality is while Brown may have a few years on the others in the room at his position, he doesn't hold a huge edge in experience. He has made only 12 starts.

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The Fredericksburg, Virginia, product spent his first four years at FCS-level Saint Francis in Pennsylvania. He redshirted his freshman year in 2017, played very sparingly the following season (attempting only five passes) and then had last year canceled by COVID-19.

South Carolina quarterback Jason Brown during spring practice [South Carolina Athletics Photo]

"The biggest thing with him was just getting in shape physically and attacking the weight room after being off for that long," USC coach Shane Beamer said. "It's probably more of a physical adjustment for him."

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Brown's one full season was impressive in 2019 when he was selected second-team All-Northeast Conference. He established school season records with 3,084 passing yards and 28 touchdown passes in addition to throwing for a school-record five touchdown passes against Delaware State.

For the year he completed 251 of 403 passing with six interceptions and averaged 326 passing yards over his last five games with 17 touchdown throws and three interceptions. He spent only a few days in the transfer portal before USC began daily contact. He was on board nearly immediately.

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"You can't beat coming and playing in the best conference in college football and (the program) was very family-orientated and I felt that from day one talking with them," Brown said.

"He's been in college, so we expected him to have a certain maturity about him and he's shown that," USC offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach Marcus Satterfield said. "He's worked really hard and comes from more of a true spread-type of offense to where he's coming into more of a pro-style scheme now, so he's adapting to what we're doing. But he's made some really good throws and flashed. Really pleased with his direction."

 As expected, the speed within an SEC program compared to an FCS team has been the most eye-opening experience of Brown's short time with the Gamecocks.

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"It's a lot faster ... a lot faster," he said. "I really have to know where I'm going with the football and can't make any mistakes. Those guys on defense are coached really well and know exactly what they're doing. They know how to try and get in our heads as well with mixing up coverages and blitzes, faking blitzes and things like that. So I really have to know what I'm doing and really have to study and learn as best as I can because it's fast and it's challenging, but I love it. It's fun."

South Carolina quarterback Jason Brown [South Carolina Athletics Photo]

The 6-foot-3, 235-pound Brown is competing with sophomore Luke Doty (who started last year's final two games), freshman Colten Gauthier and redshirt sophomore walk-on Connor Jordan, who has yet to take a college snap.

"I'm not going to lie saying it's been easy because it hasn't," Brown said of the big step up in competition with a new scheme. "It's completely different because I come from a spread offense and that's not what we do here. So it's communicating in and out of the huddle and with the guys up front that has been challenging, but we're going to get it right and that's my main key to work on these next couple of weeks.

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"There's no bad team in the SEC, and every player is going to be good that plays here. That's why they're here. So just practice and repetition and going against our guys every day. Getting used to our guys on the offensive side of the ball and going against our defense is going to be key. That's what's going to get me up to speed as quick as I can."

Beamer said he has been pleased with Brown's work ethic and willingness to learn, saying, "He's up here (in the football facility) all the time, it seems. I've seen him in the meeting rooms just working and studying on his own. He's just done a nice job of getting in there and learning."

The presence of receiver E.J. Jenkins, his close friend and teammate since the sixth grade who also transferred from Saint Francis, has helped ease some of the uncertainty about entering into a new situation in a previously unknown part of the country 

"He's going through the same thing I am," Brown said. "Getting to learn everybody, learn a new offense, new scheme and coaches, so it's nice having a familiar face in the room as you go through this."