St. C.’s Brown signs with Youngstown St.

ST. CLAIRSVILLE – Jaylon Brown has known since August where he would be going to college.

It became official Wednesday afternoon during a brief ceremony inside St. Clairsville High School, when Brown formally signed his National Letter of Intent to continue his academic and football career at FCS (formerly known as Division I-AA) member Youngstown State University.

“I’ve been waiting for this day since August (when I committed) and now I can’t wait to get up there and play football again,” Brown said. “I realize not many kids (in the Ohio Valley) get this opportunity, so I have to make the most of it and hopefully turn it into something big for me and my family.”

This past season, Brown helped lead the Red Devils to a 9-2 record and another trip to the Ohio postseason. En route to Eastern District Offensive Player of the Year, Brown accumulated 1,328 yards and 20 touchdowns on 171 carries.

For his career, Brown scored 82 touchdowns and rushed for 4,268 yards.

“It was a long ride,” Brown said. “Coming in as a freshman and just returning kicks and seeing time that way to building up to my senior year, it was a long journey. I wish it would have ended differently, but to make the playoffs again was exciting.”

Brown’s stats from the 2013 campaign were actually only in 10 games. He missed a game against Harrison Central nursing a knee injury.

“I feel great now,” Brown said. “I’m in the weight room five days a week, trying to continue getting back to where I was and preparing myself.”

Brown is expected to move into more of a slotback position for the Penguins next season.

“Youngstown’s coaches are really excited about putting him into the mix early and often,” St. C. coach Brett McLean said. “The slot receiver, for them, plays some in the backfield and some split out, which is the kind of thing we did with him here, so I think he’ll fit in.”

The switch in positions is OK with Brown because it could mean early playing time.

“I’ve just got to go up there and perform and show them what I can do,” Brown said. “It’s going to be a long journey since I’m starting all over again, but I can’t wait.”

Brown didn’t hesitate when asked what he thought he had to do to enhance his chances of earning the early playing time he’s hoping for this fall.

“I have to put on weight,” said Brown, who is 5-foot-7, 165 pounds. “I know a lot of schools probably didn’t recruit me because of my size. I am ready for the challenge to prove myself.”

Brown becomes the fourth member of the Red Devils’ 2012 Division IV state runnerup squad to sign with a Division-I program, joining Dan Monteroso (Purdue) and Jerrid Marhefka (Ohio) from the Class of 2013, and Michael Ferns, who enrolled early at the University of Michigan.

“It’s great for the school and our program,” McLean said. “We hoped we’d get to this day with Jaylon signing a Division-I scholarship. It’s bittersweet because he’s off our roster, but we certainly wish him well and he’ll always be a Red Devil.”

Brown was named first team All-Ohio as a senior. He was named to the Associated Press’ all-state squad twice during his illustrious career and has also been chosen to take part in the prestigious Ohio North-South Game in April.

Prior to departing for Youngstown in early June, Brown will put the finishing touches on his prep career by running track for the Red Devils. He earned All-Ohio on the oval last spring, placing third in the 100 (11.05) and fourth in the 200 (22.50).

“I am excited for track season,” Brown said. “I’ve already been doing some track workouts to prepare. I am going after the state championship this year.”

Jaylon, who is the son of Keith and Cindy Brown, is undecided about his major.