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Going the Distance: NFL Prep Academy Spotlight on Leddie Brown

By Brandyn Campbell, Player Engagement Insider

There is no offseason for Leddie Brown. This spring, you’ll find the Eastern Christian Academy (Elkton, MD) standout running back on the school’s track team, working to get even faster and stronger for football’s return.

The desire to get as far down the field as fast as possible requires the 6’1”, 190 lb. Brown’s full focus. The sophomore has already notched many significant accomplishments in his high school career, his proudest being his first 200-yard game last season against St. Peter’s Prep.

It’s the first of several achievements that Brown aims to achieve throughout his career.

Football is a labor of love for Brown. He began the sport at the age of four, inspired by an uncle he admired, because, “I wanted to be like him,” Brown said.

A decade later, he thrives in the sport not only for his love of the game, but also because he finds it a sort of meditation. “It gets my mind away from all this stuff,” Brown said. “I play football to get out everything.”

ECA has earned a reputation of cultivating football talent and translating that ability to the next level. Sports Illustrated called the school’s blended online curriculum, “football’s first virtual powerhouse.” Last season, there were 18 Honey Badgers playing football in college, 13 at Division I-A schools.  While Brown’s work on the field is due to his enjoyment of the sport, it also to get him closer to his ambitions of furthering his education and playing at the collegiate level.

Nutrition is a critical factor in fueling Brown’s success on the track and the gridiron. He focuses on eating protein before his workouts, and drinks Gatorade to stay hydrated and replenish his electrolytes. Following workouts, he drinks chocolate milk to help his muscles recover.

Each day, Brown must balance his training schedule with the long days that are part and parcel of a student-athlete’s regimen. During football season, most evenings he doesn’t return home until 8 p.m.. Managing his busy schedule means maximizing the time he has when he has it. “I try to get work done early in class so that I don’t have to do homework to do at home when it’s late,” Brown said.

Brown also spends time at the start of each week reviewing everything he needs to do to keep those tasks in his view and set priorities.

Setting sights on goals and achieving them is a critical characteristic of effective leaders. Leading the charge into the end zone requires leadership on and off the field, a role that Brown has navigated on the Honey Badgers with intention. As a freshman, he was aware of his very new place on the team, and the need for him to establish himself and his credibility with his teammates. After the departure of several key upperclassmen last year, his coaches charged Brown with playing an active leadership role on the team. He has taken up that responsibility and ably stepped into the role.

In addition to identifying and refining his team leaders, the Honey Badgers’ coach, Dwayne Thomas, works to develop each player to his full potential, both on and off the field. “He focuses on building us to be better men,” Brown said. “Respect your mother at all times. He teaches everyday things like that.”

When the pressure of it all builds up, Brown turns to his family for support, his older sister in particular. Whether it’s for help with school or life, his sister is always there for him. “I can go to her for anything,” Brown said.

The incredible talent of players like Brown will continue to fuel Eastern Christian’s reputation as a powerhouse. While the individual accolades accrue, Brown knows that it is what the Honey Badgers do as a team that matters most in the remaining years of his high school career. It is Brown’s feats on the field that have garnered much-deserved attention. Paired with his drive and leadership off the gridiron, Brown is poised to continue his run as a force in football in the future.

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