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Lexington Christian running back Xavier Brown commits to Virginia Cavaliers bringing unique versatility with him
Although he was heavily recruited by numerous Power 5 schools, Lexington Christian Academy running back Xavier Brown, right, felt a connection to the University of Virginia, committing to the program in June. (Courtesy: @XavierBrown22/Twitter)

Lexington Christian running back Xavier Brown commits to Virginia Cavaliers bringing unique versatility with him

LEXINGTON, Ky. (BVM) — On July 15, Lexington Christian Academy rising senior running back Xavier Brown made it clear where his future would lie. During a commitment celebration at LCA, Brown announced his decision to join the University of Virginia Cavaliers, becoming the 11th commitment in the Class of 2022 and the first running back and lone Kentuckian in the class.

“I’m feeling ecstatic about it,” Brown said. “I’m happy the process is over and I can join the place where I feel I can be successful.”

Brown, a three-star prospect, is ranked by 247Sports as the No. 72 running back in the nation and No. 10 in the state. With this success, Brown earned 11 Division I scholarship offers from Air Force, Boston College, Eastern Kentucky, Liberty, Maryland, Princeton, West Virginia, Western Kentucky, Wisconsin, Yale and of course, Virginia. Upon visiting the Charlottesville campus on June 18, the Kentuckian felt a deep connection to the institution and would cancel his previously scheduled later visits as he knew he had found home.

“Going into the visit, I had already had a lot of expectations from the conversations I had on the phone with recruiting so for me it was does it fit right and does everything they’re saying on the phone resonate in person,” Brown said. “Once I got down there I felt the love immediately. I felt the big family piece they had preached to me over the past couple of months.”

Brown’s head coach, Doug Charles, had a feeling the hype was coming. After watching the youngster dominate as a 7th grader, Charles understood he’d have a special player, and when the attention came with it, it didn’t surprise him.

“We knew he had elite talent since he was in 7th grade so we knew barring some misstep along the way we knew he’d be a DI guy,” Charles said. “He’s got the whole package. He’s an elite athlete, he’s got God given ability, he has high character and is solid academically.”

For the Cavaliers, they earn one of the most versatile offensive weapons in the Bluegrass State. During his junior year this past season, Brown would contribute 1,326 all-purpose yards and 17 total touchdowns in just 10 games. Brown would both add yards and score in a variety of different ways finishing the year with 877 receiving yards and nine touchdown receptions with 449 rushing yards and eight touchdown runs.

“We move him around a lot, he’s featured a lot in our offense,” Charles said. “He can catch the deep ball, the intermediate route, it’s just what he does when he gets the ball in his hands. He is rarely stopped on first contact. … He’s very elusive and instinctual. He just knows how to position his body to make the best out of every play. … He’s apt to go to the house every time he touches the ball, from everywhere.”

He also added an interception on the defensive side of things for good measure to truly prove his diversity. Though unlikely to happen, Charles believes Brown’s instincts in the secondary are also elite enough where he could’ve been a DI defensive back if he wanted to.

“He can do it all,” Charles said. “In third down and obvious passing situations, he’s our lockdown corner. When we need someone to cover their best, we put Xavier in there because his defensive skills are at the top of the list too. The kid’s just a football player.”

A jack of all trades, Brown earned all-state honorable mention as a running back while also earning third team all-state as a wide receiver in addition to playing defensive back in some situations for the Eagles. (Courtesy: Doug Charles)

With all of this success in numerous positions, it comes as no surprise that media members had a hard time categorizing the 5-foot-11, 180-pound athlete when it came to award season. Although he would be named a third team all-state member by the local newspaper, The Courier Journal, it would be at wide receiver and not his natural position of running back. However, the state’s Associated Press all-state team, composed by 12 media representatives from across the state, would put the football star as an all-state honorable mention as a running back.

“I think growing up I bounced around from position to position so I never got solidified in a spot and so for training I just honestly used my athletic ability and it all came together,” Brown said. “[Being all-state in both positions] makes me feel great. It shows me and other people that I’m very versatile in the aspect of the game and the work I’m putting in both positions is paying off.”

This versatility should pay dividends for both Brown and the Cavs in the future. With his ability to play all over the field and hurt opposing defenses through both the ground and the air, Brown is an offensive coordinator’s dream in the mold of a Christian McCaffrey. This will allow the Hoos to put Brown wherever they want on the field to exploit matchups they feel they can take advantage of.

“They see me as a running back, but a running back that can affect the pass game and line up in the slot and make mismatches with the linebackers,” Brown said. “I think my ability to catch the ball out of the backfield [makes me unique]. I’ve been told that many prospects aren’t as versatile or able to catch the ball as well as I am as a running back.”

But before the Cavaliers can get their hands on the star athlete, Brown will have one more season with the Eagles. This season, LCA will look to avenge its heartbreaking 24-23 overtime loss to Beechwood in the Class 2A state championship, a game in which Brown had over 200 all-purpose yards and two touchdowns, and the rising senior will help lead the team in that charge.

“Ending that game, it was tough I’ll say that,” Brown admitted. “Going into this season, it has put a chip on our shoulder. Our motto for the season is ‘Leave No Doubt 21 Tour’ so our goal is to get back where we were and win it.”

While Hoos fans anxiously await the arrival of their new weapon, Brown will be working to hoist the trophy he got so close to earning last year, looking to break the 2,000 yard mark in all purpose yards in the process. Though football is far from an individual game, having a player of Brown’s caliber in one’s corner can only aid in a team’s chance at glory.