Earnest Brown IV played a large role in Northwestern’s resurgence over the past four years, compiling 71 total tackles, 18.5 tackles for loss, seven sacks and two forced fumbles. He’s hoping to make a similar impact in the NFL this fall.
Brown, a former four-star recruit, dealt with a few injuries during his time with the Wildcats. That being said, he managed to play in every game this past season and show that he can be a difference-maker on the edge.
Following the 2020 season, Brown earned an invite to this year’s NFL Combine. He won’t get the chance to showcase his skills on the field in Indianapolis, but he already proved what he’s capable of during his pro day earlier this month.
We sat down with Earnest Brown IV to discuss his performance at his pro day, his thoughts on the future of Northwestern football, what he expects from himself at the next level, and much more.
The Spun: How fun was this past season at Northwestern?
Earnest Brown IV: It was a great experience. We knew we had a lot of guys coming back. Coming off a 3-9 season was very hard, but we came in with the mentality that we needed to step up, and that’s what we did. We kept our foot on the gas, kept on fighting and ended up with a 7-2 record. We made it to the Big Ten Championship, which in my mind is the second biggest stage of them all. It was a great experience.
The Spun: Northwestern has a handful of players going to the NFL this year. How close is the program to making the College Football Playoff?
EB: I think we’ll be there soon. Coach Fitz does a great job of gathering talent everywhere, instead of just looking in one specific spot. I’m from Texas, Greg [Newsome] is from Chicago, Paddy [Fisher] and Rashawn [Slater] are from Texas. We have people from everywhere, and that’s what you need to know when you’re trying to put together a great program.
— Pat Fitzgerald (@coachfitz51) March 4, 2021
The Spun: You were recently invited to the NFL Combine. It’s going to be a bit different this year, but what was it like getting that invite?
EB: Oh my goodness, it was the best thing ever – especially when your dream is to get to the NFL. Being invited to the Combine was an amazing experience. The fact that I’m listed among the top prospects for 2021 is an honor.
The Spun: What have you been working on the most during training?
EB: It’s actually been speed to power. I came off a torn left pec, so my upper body was a weakness because of it. During the season I’ve been working on power. At my pro day, I did 25 reps on the bench press. My main key was to work on that power.
The Spun: I have to ask you because I saw a video of you and your teammates dancing to music on your Twitter account. Were you the top dancer in the Northwestern locker room?
EB: I’m not going to give myself all the glory, but I got to say my brother-in-law, Freddy Cooper, he’s been a dancer all his life. I would say he’s the one who brought me into dance moves.
— Shark Sports Football (@SharkSportsFB) February 17, 2021
The Spun: Do you have a sack celebration lined up for the NFL?
EB: I’m still learning a couple dance moves myself, so not yet. Stay tuned.
The Spun: What have you learned from Pat Fitzgerald?
EB: I would say to take everything seriously. It doesn’t matter if you’re just a one-year starter. You can always be next up. The NFL is that way where it gathers talent from all over, so you need to be prepared to be that next man up. Take everything seriously and don’t take anything for granted because you don’t know if it’ll be your only opportunity.
Thank you Wildcats 💜 pic.twitter.com/YFGhHXs2D4
— Earnest Brown IV (@ErnieBIV) January 8, 2021
The Spun: Is there an NFL quarterback who you can’t wait to face?
EB: Man, I can’t wait to get after Lamar Jackson. I’m actually a fan of his. He’s a great quarterback and he’s shifty. Being able to tackle the shiftiest quarterback in the league would be a great accomplishment.
The Spun: Was Justin Fields the best quarterback you faced in college?
EB: Of course. He brings everything to the table. He has speed, a good arm, and he’s accurate. He’s really hard to bring down as well. I was injured because of him. He’s a great quarterback and I know he’s going to do great things in the NFL.
The Spun: Who do you watch tape on?
EB: The main guy I like to watch on film is Chandler Jones. He’s an all-in-one package. He has everything – speed and power. He’s 6-foot-5, 270 pounds, he’s quick off the ball and uses his length really well. I try to mirror my game after him.
Going to miss seeing this dude making plays for the 'Cats.
— Northwestern Football (@NUFBFamily) January 9, 2021
The Spun: If NFL coaches ask why your number of sacks was down this past season, what would your answer be?
EB: Our defense at Northwestern was all about stopping the run at all costs. I wanted to execute that for the team, and that’s what the team wanted me to do. That’s why it is what it is.
The Spun: What’s your strongest asset right now?
EB: I would say setting the edge. I think I use my length pretty well. I don’t let running backs get to the outside because that’s my main focus.
The Spun: What can NFL teams expect from Earnest Brown?
EB: You can expect a competitor who’s ready to compete for that starting job. I love winning and I believe the best way to win is by having me on the field. I’m going to compete extremely hard every single down.
— Pat Fitzgerald (@coachfitz51) March 16, 2021
NFL teams in need of a defensive end who can set the edge should have Earnest Brown IV on their radar.
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