At 6-foot-2 and 250 pounds, UF defensive tackle signee Johnnie Brown is undersized. What he lacks in stature, he hopes to make up with hard work and determination.
Though he cannot use his high school’s facilities due to the pandemic, he’s remained focused, working out regularly. He starts his workouts by running up hills and doing exercises in a sandpit to build endurance and increase his lower body strength. He also does cone drills to work on his agility.
He concludes his workouts with what he refers to as “pit stops,” which consist of him jogging and working on a move every five yards for 50 yards.
Brown was one of the most loyal commits in the Gators’ 2020 class, committing as a junior, never visiting another school and signing during the December early signing period. A top-250 prospect out of Sebring High School, he fills a major need, as the Gators have been perilously thin at defensive tackle the past few seasons.
Inside the Gators takes an in-depth look at Brown on and off the field in this edition of “Getting to Know.”
What do you plan on majoring in?
“Sports journalism. I always want to be around sports, playing or not.”
If you had a chance to go on a dream date, who would it be with?
What would be your first purchase if you got drafted in the first round of the NFL Draft?
“I’d probably purchase a house or invest in acres.”
What is one item that you cannot live without?
“PlayStation 4, easy.”
What is your favorite professional football team?
“Panthers. Cam Newton, best player, just a game-changer.”
Who is your favorite professional player right now?
“It’s Cam Newton. [I like everything], just the grit he got and how hard he works and what he came through and all the situations in life [that] made him. Just him and his story, basically.”
Who has been the biggest role model for you in your life?
“My father. He just do everything. He is everything. The stuff he teaches me and things in life he teaches me, it’s just a good resemblance of a great man. I just look up to my father a lot.”
What are your favorite types of music? Do you have a favorite artist or song?
“That’s kind of tough. J Cole. I don’t know. I can listen to anything. It just depends on if it’s good music or not. I just like lyrics.”
What is your favorite movie?
“Favorite movie, hands down, is ‘Love & Basketball.’”
What is your favorite TV show?
“‘Rick and Morty.’”
If you could spend the day with anyone, past or present, who would it be and why?
“My grandma just because I ain’t get the chance to tell her bye. It was like a long time since I seen her before she passed.”
Where do you see yourself five years from now?
“Building my own training facility.”
What are three things on your bucket list?
“Build a training facility, get my degree and the most important thing is just buy my mama a house.”
What is one thing about you that the Gator Nation would be surprised to find out about?
“I’m not just a one-sport athlete. I can do it all. Basketball, I can throw a little baseball. I’m real good at volleyball.”
Take us through the process that led to your commitment. What was that experience like for you?
“My whole recruitment experience was basically my coaches just making sure my home nature – not just worried about my football side – like, what is my inside like? Asking questions, making sure I stay up on my grades. Answering some things like that. Coach Dan [Mullen] is a different dude. He’s not just the type of coach that’s going to ask you about football. He’s not going to ask you about that. He’ll ask you about everything, about life, mainly your grades and stuff. [Florida’s] where I felt like my heart was at.”
Which school came in second for you and why?
“No school. I was always a Gator. No school came in second at all. I stayed committed from the first day.”
If there is one thing you could change about the recruiting process, what would it be?
“My GPA, oh my God. I wish I could go back to freshman year and just focus.”
If you could play a sport outside of football, which sport would it be?
“Basketball, hands down.”
What is your favorite football memory?
“Us versus against Lake Wales, me playing against one of my best friends, Gervon [Dexter], and both of us just like – you just have to watch the game; it’s hard to explain. Me and Gervon versus each other, and the things we were doing to help our teams. Both games [were] great, even in the first round of the playoffs. Both of us are just game-changers.”
What would you say are some of your greatest strengths as a football player? What do you need to work on?
“My strength. My IQ and my speed and agility as a big man. My weakness would be staying disciplined at D-tackle sometimes.”
Who is the prospect that you have talked to the most from the Class of 2020?
“Gervon Dexter. I’ve just known him since like the seventh grade. We’ve always been rivals since the seventh grade, and I just like that we can be on the same team now. So, now we got to push each other. That’s always been my dawg.”
If you could pick any jersey number, what would it be?
“I still like that 22 too live, but that eight, man, there’s just something about that eight. That eight kind of like means a lot. But, my favorite number is five.”
Who are you looking to room with once you get on campus?
Which NFL player do you liken yourself to the most?
“That’s a good question. I can kind of do it all. I can be a little Warren Sapp for you. I can be Aaron Donald. I can do a little of everything. Play inside, outside. They could put me at linebacker, and that’d be fine. That’s be a treat. I’m an animal, man.”