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Texas S Chris Brown opts out of bowl game

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The senior becomes the third team captain to start early preparations for the 2021 NFL Draft.

NCAA Football: Baylor at Texas Scott Wachter-USA TODAY Sports

Known for his flexing celebrations and ability to play bigger than his 5’11, 187-pound frame, Texas Longhorns senior safety Chris Brown announced on Thursday that he will opt out of the program’s bowl game in order to begin preparations for the 2021 NFL Draft.

“With love in my heart I want to share with everyone that I’ve decided to start he process of pursuing my dream by preparing for the NFl Draft,” Brown wrote. “After thorough conversations with both my family and my coaches, it was a conclusion we came to that we know is in the best interest of my future. My experience at Texas has definitely been a rollercoaster, but it’s a ride that has meant everything to me because throughout the process I’ve grown. I’ve grown as a student, an athlete, a teammate, and most importantly, as a man. I’m extremely grateful for all the teachable experiences I’ve had along the way and have learned from, and my time here is something I’m always going to remember and cherish. I want to thank Coach Herman and Coach Ash for guiding me on this journey, and Coach Strong for giving me the opportunity to come here. I appreciate them and all the coaches and staff members for everything they’ve done for me, but most importantly the relationships we’ve built. I also want to thank my teammates — my brothers. The only way I can describe our bond is incredible. It’s been an incredible five years, and it’s something that’s going to last forever. It means so much to me that I’ve continued to grow as an athlete, while gaining their respect and becoming an entrusted leader of this team. We’ve developed relationships and unbreakable bonds that have only strengthened over time, and extend way beyond the game of football. Lastly, but most importantly, I want to thank my parents for being by my side and for being the helping hand I’ve always depended on. I know I’ve made them proud and can continue making them proud as I enter this next chapter. Longhorn Nation, I appreciate you all and please know that I’m going to be a Longhorn for life.”

Brown is now the third captain to opt out, joining redshirt junior left tackle Sam Cosmi and junior safety Caden Sterns, who both declared for the draft following the Iowa State game. A fourth team captain, senior offensive lineman Derek Kerstetter, will miss the bowl game after suffering a dislocated ankle and broken fibula in the first half against Kansas State.

One of three Longhorns on the 2020 team left over from the Charlie Strong era, Brown was a consensus three-star prospect in the 2016 recruiting class who ranked as the No. 23 safety nationally, according to the 247Sports Composite rankings. A product of Alief Elsik, Brown was a secondary target for Texas compared to teammate Dontavious Jackson, a linebacker who was considered a top-100 prospect.

However, Brown eventually emerged as a team leader and strong contributor for the Longhorns. After redshirting during the 2016 season, Brown played primarily on special teams when Tom Herman arrived before starting two games as a redshirt sophomore. In 2019, Brown emerged as a starter and played the last part of the season through a forearm injury. Brown recorded 46 tackles (37 solo), three tackles for loss, two pass breakups, one interception, and one fumble recovery.

Prior to the 2020 season, he was voted a team captain and finished the season with 47 tackles, one INT, two TFL, one FF, and seven PBUs. Brown became known for his signature celebration — a post-play flex that was never more important than it was after he broke up West Virginia’s attempt at a fourth-down, game-winning touchdown pass with 4:20 remaining in the fourth quarter.

“It’s electrifying,” Brown explained.

Now Brown is off to chase his NFL dreams.

“He’s tough, and he’s really, really competitive,” defensive coordinator Chris Ash said. “He’s in a good place right now.”