By Brad Locke/NEMS Daily Journal
STARKVILLE – Beniquez Brown embodies the type of linebacker that can thrive in Geoff Collins’ defense, and the redshirt freshman has taken to it very well.
As Mississippi State enters its final week of spring practice – it’s back on the field Tuesday – Brown has a pair of strong scrimmages under his belt. He recorded nine tackles in the first, then on Saturday had two interceptions and five more stops.
With starter Deontae Skinner out injured the last couple of practices, Brown has been getting some first-team reps, and he looks like a player ready to step on the field in some capacity next season.
“He’s such an intelligent kid, and we knew that when we recruited him,” said Collins, who was promoted to defensive coordinator this offseason. “He is always in his playbook. Whenever I say anything to Chris Hughes or Deontae Skinner, he’s like a sponge.
“He’s so dialed in all the time.”
Brown said he’s not only getting used to the playbook, he’s also improved his technique. He likes the twist Collins has put on what Chris Wilson ran the previous two years, which Brown said includes an emphasis on speed and power.
“It’s the same model, but we’re just coming after people now, not just sitting back on our heels and waiting on the offense to get up on us,” Brown said. “We attack it now.”
Brown played a lot of running back in high school, as did fellow redshirt freshman Richie Brown. Both players have had to adjust to playing defense only, and both are happy with the transition. Collins has a lot to do with that.
“He’s really aggressive. He’s the Minister of Mayhem,” Richie Brown said. “He’s a big reason I chose Mississippi State, because I saw it in him.
“He’s an awesome guy, and I credit a lot of my knowledge of football to him, because he’s a great coach and a great teacher.”
MSU has plenty of experience at linebacker, from Skinner to Hughes to Benardrick McKinney, among others. And several of them have a similar skill set to Beniquez Brown’s.
While he isn’t a central figure in MSU’s defense right now, he seems to be headed in that direction.
“He wants to be great, and I think the same thing can be said for Richie Brown,” Collins said. “They both want to be great football players here.”