By Craig Haley, FCS Executive Director
First of an eight-part series featuring the best Football Championship Subdivision players at various positions.
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - Mike Brown the Liberty quarterback plans to one day become Mike Brown the football coach.
Here's his scouting report of his favorite quarterback - Mike Brown, of course:
"Hard working, passionate guy about everything he does. Perfectionist. I'm never quite satisfied with anything because I'm always just trying to find a way to get better."
The way Brown believes he can get better this season is to lead Liberty to the FCS playoffs for the first time. The Flames have won or shared each of the last four Big South Conference championships, but have fallen short of qualifying for the playoffs in each season. Last year, they were Big South tri-champs with Coastal Carolina and Stony Brook, and Coastal Carolina earned the tie-breaker to secure the conference's first-ever automatic bid to the playoffs.
"We've done everything that we've set out to do except for getting in the postseason and winning in the postseason. ... We have a lot riding on this season," said Brown, one of the Top 10 quarterbacks in the FCS.
The game plans of opposing defenses will emphasize containing the elusive Brown. The 6-foot, 205-pound dual-threat already is a two-time Big South Offensive Player of the Year, having won the award as a wide receiver and part-time quarterback during his redshirt sophomore season of 2009, and then as the starting quarterback last year.
Liberty averaged 36.5 points per game behind Brown last season. He led the FCS in total offense (346.4 yards per game) and was seventh in passer efficiency (149.6). He completed 223-of-351 passes (63.5 percent) for 2,956 yards and 23 touchdowns with 11 interceptions. On the ground, he rushed for 854 yards and nine touchdowns on 160 carries (5.3 yards per carry).
He finished 11th in the voting for the Walter Payton Award, which honors the outstanding player in the FCS, is presented by The Sports Network and sponsored by Fathead.com.
"I think I'm a pretty good runner, a decent passer. There's definitely room for improvement on both ends," said Brown, a finance major who has a minor in coaching. He will be scouted for the 2012 NFL Draft as a wide receiver.
"My main goal is just to win. I go out there, take it one game at a time and try to do my job and get better and better each week. I don't really pay too much attention to all the awards and things like that. I feel like that will take care of itself as long as I take care of business each and every week."
Brown will operate behind an inexperienced offensive line, but he will be surrounded by a wealth of weapons in the skills positions, including running backs SirChauncey Holloway, Korrey Davis and Aldreakis Allen, and wide receivers Chris Summers, B.J. Hayes and Pat Kelly. The points should continue to pile up.
Amid all the talent, Brown expects the most out of himself. It's the perfectionist side of him that will reflect in his coaching style in the future.
"As a coach, if you raise the expectations, then the players will raise the expectations of themselves," he said.
Here are nine more quarterbacks who are part of The Sports Network's FCS Top 10:
Casey Brockman, Murray State, Jr., 6-2, 205 - Brockman will put up big numbers in coach Chris Hatcher's spread attack, as last year's 570-yard, seven- touchdown game against Missouri State and 497-yard, three-touchdown outing against Austin Peay attest. He is mentally and physically tough and a competitor whom teammates rally around. Last year, he led the Ohio Valley Conference with 271.3 passing yards per game, completing 213-of-320 attempts (66.6 percent) for 2,442 yards, 15 touchdowns and six interceptions in nine games. He's also mobile, having rushed for seven touchdowns.
DeNarius McGhee, Montana State, So., 5-11, 203 - His leadership skills and intangibles are off the charts. The only freshman to be a Walter Payton Award finalist last season, McGhee already has been asked to be a high school graduation speaker this year. On the field, he is always looking for the big play while he moves around the pocket. He led the Big Sky with 263.6 passing yards per game, completing 227-of-362 attempts (62.7 percent) for 3,163 yards and 23 touchdowns with only six interceptions. His 153.75 passer rating ranked fourth in the FCS.
Josh McGregor, Jacksonville, Sr., 6-2, 200 - In each of his first three seasons, McGregor eclipsed the Dolphins' single-season record for passing yards. It might be difficult to top last year's superb numbers - 205-of-326 pass attempts (62.9 percent) for 3,049 yards and 32 touchdowns with only seven interceptions - but McGregor has a firm grasp of the offense. He eludes would-be sacks to make the vertical pass. He threw for seven touchdowns on only 15 completions against Morehead State and directed the FCS' top-scoring offense (42.2 ppg) last season. His 169.54 passing rating also led the FCS.
Bo Levi Mitchell, Eastern Washington, Sr., 6-2, 210 - All you have to know about Mitchell is that in his first season with the Eagles he led them to their first FCS national championship and was the Most Outstanding Performer of the title game. He took his game to a higher level whenever All-America tailback Taiwan Jones was sidelined by injury. By the end of the season, he had thrown for an FCS-high 37 touchdowns as well as 3,496 yards. He completed 300-of-505 attempts (59.4 percent). The SMU transfer is unflappable and isn't thrown off by a poor play or drive.
DeAndre Presley, Appalachian State, Sr., 5-11, 170 - After finishing third in the Walter Payton Award voting last season, Presley plans to take his game to a higher level. He threw 14 touchdowns before being picked off the first time last season and went on to account for 34 touchdowns (21 passing, 13 rushing). It's the dual-threat ability that sets him apart. He rushed 1,039 yards, including 264 in a snow-filled playoff game against Western Illinois. Presley completed 210-of-343 attempts (61.2 percent) for 2,631 yards. He combines a quick release with good vision in the pocket.
Tirrell Rennie, Northern Iowa, Sr., 6-0, 201 - Catch him if you can. The electrifying Rennie led all FCS quarterbacks in rushing yards (1,291), rushing yards per game (107.6) and rushing touchdowns (15) last season. Included were three straight games of over 150 yards against Missouri Valley Football Conference opponents. He needs to continue to develop as a passer after he completed 94-of-168 attempts (55.9 percent) for 1,526 yards, but only eight touchdowns against 11 interceptions. The MVFC Newcomer of the Year was second in the conference's offensive player of the year voting to Western Illinois QB Matt Barr, who was second in the Walter Payton Award voting.
Brad Sorensen, Southern Utah, Jr., 6-5, 225 - After getting acclimated to the Thunderbirds' offensive system following a transfer from BYU, Sorensen completed over 76 percent of his passes over the team's final six games. They won five of the games, losing only to eventual FCS champion Eastern Washington by seven points, and captured their first Great West Conference title. Sorensen has the trust of his coaches because of his arm strength and ability to read defenses. He's so big that pass rushers struggle to bring him down. He finished sixth in the FCS with a 149.74 passer rating, completing 261-of-390 attempts (66.9 percent) for 3,163 yards and 21 touchdowns - all conference highs. He threw only six interceptions.
Casey Therriault, Jackson State, Sr., 6-3, 205 - As he continued to move forward from past off-the-field problems, Therriault (pronounced Terry-oh) took the SWAC by storm in his first season, accounting for 41 touchdowns (31 passing, 10 rushing) while leading the FCS in points responsible for (23.1 ppg). Teammates named him a captain last year even though he was new to the Jackson State campus. Head coach Rick Comegy lauds Therriault for having a high football IQ, which allows him to make good decisions. He was third in the FCS in passing yards per game (312.4), completing 255-of-437 attempts (58.4 percent) for 3,436 yards, with only eight interceptions.
Quarterbacks on the cusp: Brandon Bridge, Alcorn State, So., 6-5, 195; B.J. Coleman, Chattanooga, Sr., 6-5, 210; Aaron Corp, Richmond, Sr., 6-3, 200; Ronnie Fouch, Indiana State, Sr., 6-2, 215.