Tarell Brown

Tarell Brown instructs at his football camp in Mesquite, which was free for all participants. A national champ at Texas, Brown started in the Super Bowl last season and is one of many former Texas defensive backs to be drafted recently.

Photo Credit: Emily Ng | Daily Texan Staff

It seems like everyone knows him here.

Tarell Brown shakes dozens of hands and signs hundreds of autographs after running his sixth football and cheerleading camp in Mesquite since beginning his NFL career. He’s joined by former Longhorns teammates Michael Griffin, Michael Huff and Aaron Ross – four of the 13 Longhorns defensive backs that have been drafted since 2002.

“It’s a fraternity,” Huff said. “At Texas, us DBs pride ourselves in being a family and keeping the tradition going. Any time one of our DBs have something going, we’re going to be there.”

After spending an hour signing autographs for the throng of adoring young campers, Brown, Huff, Ross and Griffin proudly put on shirts that proclaimed: “Texas Football is the new DBU.”

Brown has done a fine job upholding that “DBU” legacy but his path to success hasn’t always been a smooth one. He partially tore his ACL after his rookie season and spent his first four years in the NFL as a backup.

But possibly his most painful setback came while he was still playing for Texas, who he helped win its first national championship in more than three decades in 2005.

One of two Heisman Trophy winners for USC, Matt Leinart went into the fourth quarter of that season’s national title game without a touchdown pass.

That changed with 6:42 left, when he threw a dart between Texas safety Michael Griffin and cornerback Tarell Brown. Dwayne Jarrett rose over Brown and Griffin, plucked the ball out of the air as the two defenders collided and his outstretched arm crossed the goal line.

USC took a 38-26 lead over Texas while Griffin and Brown lay limp next to each other at the 5-yard line. Griffin was fine, but Brown, who made a career-high 10 tackles in that game, had suffered a broken right forearm. He was forced to watch Vince Young lead the Longhorns to a scintillating 41-38 victory on the television in the locker room.

“I was going for the ball and I just got hit. That’s all I really remember,” Brown said. “I remember breaking my forearm and my whole right side going numb. I knew something was broken. We did a great job finishing the game off.”

Eight years later, Brown had a much different championship experience. After earning a starting spot at cornerback for the San Francisco 49ers before the 2011 season, Brown had helped them reach their first Super Bowl in nearly two decades.

Brown, who the 49ers drafted in the fifth round of the 2006 NFL Draft, was part of a secondary that boasted the fourth-best pass defense in the league. But Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco had picked it apart to the tune of three first-half touchdown passes.

The 49ers picked apart at a 28-6 Ravens lead in the second half and got as close as 28-23 after Brown forced a Ray Rice fumble, which led to a David Akers field goal. But San Francisco was never able to break through, falling to Baltimore, 34-31, in Super Bowl XLVII this February.

“There’s nothing like playing in the Super Bowl,” Brown said. “It’s all about winning. I remember the national championship a lot more because we won. The Super Bowl was great, getting the opportunity to represent your team, yourself and your family. We had a great run. We just couldn’t finish it at the end.”

Brown has come a long way since since starring at North Mesquite High School, where he rushed for more than 3,000 yards in his last two years and established himself as one of the top cornerback prospects in the country.

He returned to Mesquite last weekend for his camp, which he doesn’t charge for because he couldn’t afford to go to such camps as a child.

“I always thought it was something important for my community,” Brown said. “This was always big for me, always something I wanted to do, just to give something back to the kids.”

Maybe next year, he’ll come to the camp wearing a Super Bowl ring.

Former Longhorns Justin Tucker, Chykie Brown crowned Super Bowl champs

Four former Longhorns participated in the Super Bowl yesterday, and two, Ravens cornerback Chykie Brown and kicker Justin Tucker, walked away with rings. They became the 11th and 12th former Longhorns to triumph in the Super Bowl and the first since former Texas cornerback and Thorpe Award winner Aaron Ross did it with the New York Giants last season.

A little more than a year after drilling a game-winning 40-yard kick in College Station to close the historic Texas-Texas A&M rivalry victoriously, Tucker helped Baltimore to its second Super Bowl victory kicking a perfect two-for-two, including a 38-yard field goal, with four PATs. The only stain on Tucker's otherwise stellar performance was a failed fake field goal attempt in which he came one yard shy of picking up a first down. He scored 10 points in the Ravens victory, the most by a former Longhorn in a Super Bowl.

On the opposite side of the field were 49ers cornerback Tarell Brown and guard Leonard Davis. Tarell Brown played an important role in the 49ers'. comeback efforts when he struck the ball from Ravens star running back Ray Rice's hands and recovered the fumble in the third quarter. The play revitalized the San Francisco team, whose near comeback from a 22-point deficit made defeat all the more heartbreaking.

As heaps of purple and gold confetti floated from the heavens, Chykie Brown stole the spotlight with his celebration. On the middle of the field, he lay down and jubilantly created a confetti snow angel.

Justin Tucker made plenty of big kicks at Texas and he has carried over his success to the NFL as a member of the Baltimore Ravens.

Photo Credit: Elisabeth Dillon | Daily Texan Staff

Not too long ago they meandered through the 40 Acres, bulked up in the weight room and left their sweat on the field at Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium.

Now former Longhorns Chykie Brown and Justin Tucker of the Baltimore Ravens, along with Tarell Brown and Leonard Davis of the San Francisco 49ers will make their mark on professional football’s largest stage — the Super Bowl.

The Feb. 3 game in New Orleans will be the first Super Bowl for each of the former Longhorns, although high-pressure play is nothing new. Tarell Brown was part of the 2005 National Championship team, while Tucker and Chykie Brown played in the 2009 National Championship game, earning two Big 12 Championships along the way. 

For Houston native Chykie Brown, the path to an NFL career began with his years as a cornerback for the Longhorns. Brown started 29 games and posted 106 tackles and four sacks throughout his career. After starting nine games in his 2010 senior season, Brown was sidelined with a season-ending injury against Kansas State.

Brown was picked up by the Ravens as a defensive back in the fifth round of the 2011 NFL Draft, and has added 25 tackles in his two seasons with the team.  Whether or not Brown will start against the 49ers is up for debate. After struggling to make tackles against the Patriots, Brown was benched in favor of Jimmy Smith. With the offensive talents of Michael Crabtree, Vernon Davis and Randy Moss, effective defensive backs will be crucial. 

Fellow Raven Justin Tucker seems to have a knack for closing out nail-biting games. The Austin native and music major graduated with an impressive field goal percentage that ties for third best in Texas history. Tucker is beloved in the minds of Longhorn fans for his game-winning 40-yard field goal against Texas A&M in 2011 as the clock ran out. 

After tallying 132 points and a 90.9 percent accuracy rate in his first year with the Ravens, Tucker found himself in a similar situation as he stepped up to attempt a field goal against the Broncos this season. Tucker successfully concluded the fourth-longest game in NFL history by converting a field goal. 

Chykie isn’t the only Brown to have made his start as a Texas cornerback. Tarell Brown, now a San Francisco cornerback, was also racking up impressive statistics during his college career. Starting 35 out of 47 games, Tarell Brown tallied 172 tackles during his four years as a Longhorn.

Tarell Brown has spent six seasons with the 49ers, and has recorded 57 tackles this season, a career best. He played a key role in snagging a win against the Packers when he intercepted Aaron Rodgers’ pass, which spurred another 49ers touchdown. 

Teammate Leonard Davis also has burnt orange roots. The 49ers guard, and the largest player on the team, was once a powerful offensive tackle for Texas, lovingly dubbed the “Dancin’ Bear” by his teammates and coaches. After starting all 12 games as a senior, he was drafted by the Arizona Cardinalsin 2001.

Davis has a wide variety of NFL experience. After playing six seasons for the Cardinals, he then played for the Cowboys for four seasons before heading to Detroit and finally to San Francisco. Davis has played in 16 games for the 49ers this season, although he has yet to start a game.