MORGANTOWN — During the few live reps of WVU’s Wednesday practice the media was able to watch, running back Leddie Brown ran an out-and-in across the middle, made a catch from Jarret Doege around his knees, and sprinted into the end zone from about 25 yards out.
It was the epitome of what Brown wanted to work on during fall camp — elevate his play in the passing game. The 2020 season proved what he can do on the ground, rushing for 1,010 yards in 10 games with nine touchdowns and earning first team All-Big 12 honors.
Brown’s receiving numbers were nothing to gloss over, either, hauling in 31 balls for 202 yards and two touchdowns.
Still, he wants to be a more complete back, especially with this likely being his final year with the Mountaineers and pro scouts keeping their eyes on him. Watching film with running backs coach Chad Scott of some of the great NFL pass-catching backs has helped him this off-season.
“He showed me like, ‘See how that running back played them on that route? You should do the same thing, try this and try that,’ ” Brown said Wednesday. “I’m really trying to improve my route running, which I think is coming along pretty good with the help of coach Scott and our receivers coach, coach (Gerad) Parker.”
Not only is Brown working more in the passing game, he’s dabbling on special teams a little bit as a kick returner, though he admittedly doesn’t think it will translate into an actual game.
In another move to help elevate his pro potential, Brown is taking reps as a kick returner alongside wide receiver Winston Wright Jr. Brown joked he probably wouldn’t quite be the receiver Wright is, but he can definitely hold his own with Wright in the return game.
“I think I could give Winston a run for his money,” Brown said, laughing. “That’s his spot, though. He’s doing a great job there and I’m just there to learn.”
Wright believes Brown is doing what he can to be a better all-around player.
“We talk about it all the time: It’s not bad to get out of your comfort zone to try new things, so if you get to the next level, you’ll have to play there and be ready,” Wright said.
Where did Leddie come from?
Brown opened up about how he got the unique name Leddie, and it is to honor his late paternal uncle.
“My uncle was a Philadelphia police officer and he had died in the line of duty two years before I was born, so my dad wanted to name me after him to honor his legacy.”
Brown’s uncle, also Leddie Brown, died 15 days after his motorcycle was struck by another vehicle while patrolling for a Thanksgiving parade in 1997.
Prior to becoming a police officer, Officer Brown was also a good football player, but decided to get into law enforcement instead.
The younger Brown is fulfilling a dream his uncle once had.
“I heard he was a pretty good football player and I’m glad I got to carry on his name,” Brown said. “I’m doing something that he dreamed of.”