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A Look Back At Journey Brown’s Electric Penn State Career

Journey Brown’s football career is over far too soon.

Wednesday night, James Franklin told the media that Journey Brown will no longer play football due to hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, a rare heart condition.

During his time at Penn State, Brown easily established himself as one of the best backs in the Big Ten.

Brown arrived in Happy Valley in 2017 as a three-star recruit from Meadville, Pennsylvania. After redshirting his freshman season, Brown received minimal playing time the next year and was buried on the depth chart behind Miles Sanders and Ricky Slade.

Brown totaled just eight carries for 44 yards during his redshirt freshman campaign. However, while wearing the No. 32, Brown scored the first touchdown of his career in a blowout win against Illinois.

It was a sign of things to come for the 5’11” running back, as he would get his chance to shine the following season. Let’s take a look back at his illustrious career with the Nittany Lions.


Brown kicked off the 2019 season with a bang despite being listed behind Ricky Slade on the initial depth chart. He scored two touchdowns in the season opener against Idaho and totaled 69 yards from scrimmage.

Two games later against Pitt, in his first career start, Brown had his first of many explosive plays for Penn State. With the Nittany Lions backed up in their own territory, Brown broke loose for an 85-yard run to set Penn State up inside Pitt’s 15-yard line.

Brown finished the game with 10 carries for 109 yards in what was a coming-out party for the redshirt sophomore.

His next big game came later in the year against Minnesota, and it started a stretch of dominating play for Brown. He rushed 14 times for 124 yards and two touchdowns against the Golden Gophers, clearly his most efficient performance to date. One of his touchdowns was a 45-yarder where he was able to showcase his blazing speed.

The very next game, Brown didn’t disappoint. He rushed for 100 yards against Indiana and showed off his speed once again on a 35-yard touchdown.

He scored another touchdown the following week against Ohio State and then turned in a great performance in the season finale against Rutgers. Brown rushed for 103 yards and a career-high three touchdowns against the Scarlet Knights.

This was all just a warmup for what he had in store for what would turn out to be the final game of his football career.

Brown ran wild in Penn State’s Cotton Bowl Classic victory against Memphis. He totaled an absurd 202 yards and two touchdowns in the game, including a beast-mode type run to put the Nittany Lions on the board early in the game.

Brown was named the offensive MVP of the game and was later named to the Associated Press’ 2019 All-Bowl team.


The kid from Meadville finished his Penn State career the only way he knew how — with absolute domination. We can only wonder what more Brown was capable of in the coming years and on his journey to the NFL.

While his career in Happy Valley was cut short, Brown will leave Penn State with 137 rushing attempts for 937 rushing yards (6.8 yards per carry), 14 total touchdowns (13 rushing, one receiving), and many electrifying plays.

“The pain of not being able to play the game I love anymore hurts and I can’t explain how I am feeling right now,” Brown said. “However, I can walk away from the game knowing I truly gave my all at every practice, on every down, and in the locker room every day.”

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About the Author

Gabe Angieri

Gabe is a senior majoring in journalism and is suddenly Onward State's managing editor. He grew up in Lindenhurst, New York, and has had the absolute misfortune of rooting for the Jets, Mets, and Knicks. If you want to see his bad sports takes, follow him on Twitter @gabeangieri and direct all hate mail and death threats to [email protected]

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