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Ex-Gators CB Vernell Brown Jr. named program’s director of player development

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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.

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.

RELATED: 3 top targets for Dan Mullen, Florida in the 2019 recruiting class

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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