Brian Brown was just a few weeks away from leaving Florida to come out to Merced College to play football. Brown was shot and killed last week while trying to sell his Playstation console to a buyer from Craigslist in North Miami Beach.
Brown was 19 years old.
“It’s just one of those situations where he was a good kid,” Merced College coach Bob Casey said. “I talked to him on the phone. I talked to his dad and his high school coach. He was a well-liked kid. He was looking for an opportunity to go to a four-year school. He definitely was going to have an opportunity to play right away for us.”
The incident happened on Wednesday, June 14. Brown was looking to sell his Playstation and games to get some extra money before heading out to California. He was scheduled to leave for Merced on July 1 according to his father.
“Happy, always smiling, a friend to everyone. Everyone who knew him – I can say at least 200 to 300 people have come here to hug me and told me what a great kid he was and how much love he just had for everyone,” his father Craig Brown told Local10.com. in South Florida. “(He) wouldn't hurt a fly, wouldn’t hurt anyone.”
Craig Brown told the station that the Craigslist buyer apparently tried to rob his son before shooting him.
At 6-foot-3, and 265 pounds, Brown had the size and speed to compete for a starting job according to Casey. Brown, who recently graduated from North Miami Beach High School was going to move into an apartment with other Merced College teammates.
“At our level there is such a premium on offensive and defensive linemen,” Casey said. “If a kid comes through the (junior college) and can take care of business in the classroom and has the prototypical size, the window of opportunity is huge at those positions.”
This is the third time a player connected with Merced College football has died in the past year.
Javiya Evans was fatally shot last June after leaving the program to move to Oakland to be closer to his daughter. Jalen Dicenzi was shot last week while driving and crashed into a house and died in Canton, Ohio. Dicenzi, 22, worked out with the Merced College football team in the spring of 2016. Dicenzi never returned to Merced after leaving after the spring semester.
“It’s pulling at a lot of us,” Casey said. “There’s a lot of emotion. A lot of these kids don’t have a lot to hang their hat on. The kids have had to rely on each other. I’ve tried to tell them to keep doing what you’re doing to make your lives better. That’s three kids in 12 months that have had some kind of connection to our program. It just sucks. It really does.”