BOWLING GREEN, Ky. — WKU Football linebacker Eli Brown addressed the media for the
first time as a Hilltopper on Monday afternoon. The Warren East High School graduate
discussed a variety of topics, beginning with the process of transferring from the
University of Kentucky.
“The decision came from doing what’s best for me and my family,” he said. “Coming
home, I’ll have the support of my step-mother and my father and basically to me it’s
the best thing that could have happened.”
As a child, Brown lived in a handful of different places before ultimately moving
from Florida to Bowling Green to live with his father. He started playing football
at Henry F. Moss Middle School and then went on to begin as a freshman at Warren
Central High School. But after one year with the Dragons he decided to transfer to
Warren East, where he would play for head coach Steve Long and the Raiders.
“The coaches and teachers here, they all showed that they cared. They pushed me and
made me believe that I could be something,” he said. “Bowling Green has been the
best thing that happened to me.”
The top linebacker in the state of Kentucky and No. 244 on ESPN’s Top 300, Brown
chose to attend Kentucky after graduating in the Class of 2015. Brown appeared in 22
games for the Wildcats over the past two seasons, registering 62 tackles (37 solo,
25 assisted) after redshirting the 2015 season.
Although he enjoyed success for the Wildcats, family responsibility came first after
Brown’s mother passed away and his two younger sisters moved to Lexington a few
years ago. In Bowling Green, he will be able to get the necessary help from family
and loved ones in the area.
On the field, Brown will have an opportunity like those of former Hilltopper Joel
Iyiegbuniwe (South Warren High School) and current WKU linebacker Ben Holt (Bowling
Green High School) of playing Division I football in the same town where they
competed during their prep careers.
“I’ll be playing in front of people who I grew up with,” he said. “What’s better
than coming home and being surrounded by people who care about me and want to push
me to go great?”
Brown has fit in seamlessly with the Hilltopper coaching staff and linebacking
group, who have helped him get acclimated to the WKU defensive schemes.
“The playbook’s a little different here, I’ve learned at least the base defense at
this point,” he said. “If you ask me about certain plays I know what to do, but now
you have to translate it to the field and learn it at a fast pace and get to the
ball … I feel like I’ll be ready for the first game.”
On an interpersonal level, it has been a perfect fit as well.
“I love those guys, Coach [Mike] Sanford especially has always been pulling for me.
This whole coaching staff – Coach [Clayton] White, Coach [Maurice] Crum, everybody –
there’s not any phony-ness around, everybody’s straightforward,” he said. “As a
team, we’re all pushing each other and we’re focused on trying to win this first
game at Wisconsin.”
Brown continued, “And the linebacker group we have here, I love every one of them.
You have [upperclassmen] Ben Holt and Masai Whyte who gravitated to me and the
freshmen to teach us the defense. That made me love it here even more, like I’ll go
to war with these guys.”