Caleb Brown uses his elite speed in multiple roles for the UH football team

When the Hawaii football team feels the need, the need for speed, it turns to its top gunner.
As one of the fastest Rainbow Warriors, Caleb Brown is assigned as the gunner on kickoffs, the outside sprinter who leads the charge to the returner.
At 6 feet 1, Brown uses long and powerful strides to run 40 yards in 4.3 seconds. In the “flying 10” — a 10-yard measurement off a running start — Brown has been timed at 0.9 seconds, a 22.9 mph burst.
“I’ve always been pretty fast,” said Brown, who was a slashing guard while playing high school basketball.
Brown, who transferred from Butler College in Kansas, has caught up to the defensive schemes to develop into an impactful cornerback. He leads UH corners with 12 tackles and is second with six breakups.
“C-Bo is one of the most eager to learn and get better,” cornerbacks coach Steve Irvin said. “It all started on special teams. In the first couple games, he got maybe 10, 15 reps. It progressed more and more each game.”
Against Oregon in his lone start, Brown made six tackles, including two in the Ducks’ backfield.
Against UNLV, Brown often was matched against Ricky White, the Rebels’ most dynamic receiver. “He’s a good player,” Brown said. “We were chopping it up during the game and giving each other props and stuff like that. It’s cool going against good players like that. You get the chance, you’ve got to show up.”
Brown did not allow a catch in the five passes targeting UNLV receivers he was covering. He was credited with three breakups in that game, although two were drops of potential interceptions.
“We have to come down with those,” Irvin said.
At Butler last season, Brown had six picks but dropped four others. “That’s why I’m on the JUGS every day,” Brown said of the football-throwing machine.
Irvin said he has worked with Brown on footwork and eye discipline. Brown said he studies video cutups of opposing receivers. “I go from the best receiver to the receiver who has the least receptions,” Brown said. “I try to study a lot of film.”
Brown also has become an effective open-field tackler. He said the key is not to fall for head fakes or stutter steps.
“You’ve got to eye that hip,” he said. “That’s what it is. Target the hip. Hips don’t lie. If you watch the hips, and you wrap up, you can bring down (a ball carrier or receiver).”
Brown said his deceptive strength — 275-pound bench press, 375-pound back squat — has been helpful in making tackles.
But he added: “Hitting is really a desire. You’ve got to want to do it. You have to have your mindset every time you touch that field. If you’re a defensive player, you’ve got to be ready to knock heads. And to wrap up.”

Players mentioned in this article

A.J. Brown

Ricky White

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