Travis Dye says freshman RB Raleek Brown will win 'a lot of awards' in his USC career
Certain players just have the it factor. They look at home on a football field. Even if they aren’t sure what’s going on schematically, they’re deadly with a ball in their hands because of the raw ability.
Raleek Brown seems to be one of those players.
“Raleek Brown always stands out to me,” said senior tailback Travis Dye on Tuesday when asked about youngsters who impressed in the team’s final scrimmage last weekend.
The freshman and former blue-chip recruit has drawn rave reviews ever since getting to campus. Coaches all say he’ll be able to help the team come the fall. There’s a lingering question of just how much he’ll help out, but the talent is undeniable and in Lincoln Riley’s offense, Brown’s skillset is well-suited for immediate production.
Asked what has impressed him so far, Dye said it’s everything.
“Catching, running, his style of running. The way he moves, it’s second to none,” said the former Oregon tailback — who sits in the program’s record books as the fifth-all-time-leading rusher, by the way. Quite the compliment for the first-year man.
“I see that kid winning a lot of awards in the future,” Dye continued. “I really do. He’s just got to keep his head in it. He’s doing a great job so far. He’s a freshman, so he’ll make freshman mistakes, but he makes very minimal mistakes and if he just keeps going, he’ll be alright.”
At the start of fall camp, running backs coach Kiel McDonald said the head ball coach has a plan for Brown, but he stopped short of revealing what exactly it was.
“He’s got real juice,” McDonald said then. “I think you’re going to see him in a number of different places on the field because he’s more of a Swiss army knife. There’s a lot of things he brings to the program and we want to make sure we showcase his talent.”
At the high school level, Brown piled up 5,774 career yards as a runner and receiver and 72 career touchdowns. He averaged over 9 yards a carry and 19 yards a reception for his career.
But he’s playing behind Dye — a seasoned runner and transfer in from Oregon for his final year of college — and Stanford transfer Austin Jones. Two players who can be mentors for the young running back, yes, but also two players who might not be totally ready to give him all their snaps just yet.
USC could and likely will utilize all three. It just remains to be seen what that will look like in practice.
One thing is clear: Brown’s new teammates have been impressed.