Florida coach Dan Mullen has hired former Gators cornerback Vernell Brown Jr. as the program’s director of player development.
Brown announced the hiring on his Twitter account.
— Vernell Brown Jr. (@VBJ_TheVillages) February 12, 2018
Brown was at UF from 2001-05. He was signed by Steve Spurrier’s staff and redshirted as a true freshman in 2001, Spurrier’s final season. He played wide receiver as a redshirt freshman and sophomore for Ron Zook, then moved to corner as a junior in 2004. His senior season was Urban Meyer’s first year at Florida, and Mullen was UF’s offensive coordinator that season.
When he signed, Spurrier said Brown “is a favorite of everyone in this town. He’s a delightful young man.”
The Zook-to-Meyer changeover caused some turmoil among the holdover players, but Brown was a Meyer favorite. Meyer went as far as to call the undersized Brown (he was listed at 5 feet 8 and 165 pounds as a senior) “the face of Florida football” before the 2005 season-opener; Meyer cited his work ethic and leadership characteristics. Brown was a team captain and a member of Meyer’s “leadership committee.”
Brown broke his leg against Vanderbilt on November 5 of his senior season, yet made it back in time to play in the Outback Bowl that season. He had a pick-six in the win over Iowa in the bowl game.
Brown is a Gainesville native whose father, Vernell Sr., was a corner and safety for Florida from 1982-85. Vernell Jr. played football and basketball for Gainesville High; he was a quarterback and cornerback on the football field and a point guard on the GHS basketball team, which he helped lead to a state title in 2000.
His uncle, Johnell Brown, was a Gators running back from 1979-82, and his cousin is former Florida All-American linebacker Mike Peterson; Peterson currently is South Carolina’s linebacker coach.
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