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Penn State Football All 105

Penn State Football All 105: Ji’Ayir Brown the new Leader of Penn State’s Safeties Room

Ji'Ayir Brown
MADISON, WI - SEPTEMBER 04: Penn State safety Ji'Ayir Brown (16) can't quite hang on to the ball for an interception in front of Wisconsin wide receiver Kendric Pryor (3) during a college football game between the University of Wisconsin Badgers and the Penn State University Nittany Lions on September 4, 2021 at Camp Randall Stadium in Madison, WI. (Photo by Lawrence Iles/Icon Sportswire)

All 105 is a Nittany Sorts Now Series profiling each Penn State football player. In this edition, we will be profiling fifth-year senior safety, Ji’Ayir Brown.

Height: 5-foot-11

Weight: 208 pounds

Hometown: Trenton, New Jersey

Before Penn State: Brown developed into a two-year captain and one-year first-team All-State performer by the time he left Trenton Central High School.

Brown also had success in basketball, leading New Jersey with 6.8 steals per game as a senior.

After high school, Brown moved on to Lackawanna Community college, where he played his first two seasons of college football.

In 2018, Brown helped Lackawanna to an 11-0 record, an El Toro Bowl win and a No. 6 national ranking at the end of the season.

In 2019, Brown— playing cornerback, not safety—won the Northeast Football Conference’s Defensive Player of the Year Award and was named an NJCAA first-team All-American.

He finished his sophomore season at Lackawanna with 35 tackles, three interceptions, a fumble recovery and five pass breakups.

Coming out of junior college, Brown was a three-star prospect. 247Sports had him as the ninth-ranked overall junior college prospect and the No. 2 safety.

He committed to Penn State in June of 2019.

2020: Brown appeared in all nine of Penn State’s games in an abbreviated, COVID-19-themed 2020 season. He finished the year with six tackles (five solo), a tackle for loss and broke up a pass.

2021: Last season, Brown blossomed into one of Penn State’s best players.

He finished the season with six interceptions, which tied for the most in college football. Brown paired with All-American and current Chicago Bear Jaquan Brisker to form one of, if not the nation’s best safety tandem.

Along with his six picks, Brown posted 73 tackles (61 total) and a tackle for loss, broke up five passes, recovered two fumbles and forced a fumble.

Brown’s efforts earned him recognition from the Big Ten. He landed on the third team in the coaches’ poll and got an honorable mention by the media.

Where he stands:

With Brisker gone and sixth-year senior Jonathan Sutherland moved to linebacker, Brown is now the undisputed leader of Penn State’s safeties room.

Although he broke out last season, many are expecting Brown to be even better in 2022.

After this past April’s Blue-White game, Brown said that his goal is to lead the nation in interceptions and doing that would help his chances of being selected in the NFL draft.

With redshirt freshman Jaylen Reed expected to join Brown at starting safety and classmate Kalen King expected to start opposite Joey Porter Jr. at corner, Brown and Porter will both be counted on by Penn State’s coaching staff to provide leadership.

Brown’s been honing his skills as a leader all offseason.

A quote about Brown:

“Before I get started, let me just say how proud I am of this dude,” Penn State defensive tackle PJ Mustipher said at last week’s Big Ten Media Day. “The leader he’s become, the man he’s become — it gives me goosebumps because being out, I was able to see so much more than just myself, focusing on myself every day. I got to see our team and I got to see how much this guy leads. Even when he’s not having a good day, even if he has a bad rep, he’s still willing to lead. He took this team, and he’s put us in a position where we’re going to do great things just based off the leadership he has provided from Day 1 since we got back from the Outback Bowl and even before then. But it’s amplified now, and I’m so proud of him.”


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