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Oklahoma football: Justin Brown peels back the curtain a little more on his journey from Penn State to OU

JUSTIN BROWN — The former Penn State receiver says the respectful way Oklahoma approached him in wake of scandal and NCAA sanctions played a role in why he chose the Sooners.
BY STEPHANIE KUZYDYM Published: August 14, 2012

NORMAN — Justin Brown watched college football coaches from around the nation swarm the Penn State parking lot.

Recounting the moments now, a month later, he shook his head.

He isn't going to name the schools, but he said what those coaches did — standing in the parking lot like vultures waiting to pick the carcass of Penn State football — was just disrespectful.

When the NCAA handed out the sanctions – a four-year postseason ban, a $60 million fine and a loss of scholarships – coaches started calling.

Coaches from the Big Ten conference. He brushed off those calls.

Coaches in the parking lot. He didn't want to talk to them.

“After a while I thought, ‘I guess this is how it really is' …,” Brown said.

Then came a call from Oklahoma receivers coach Jay Norvell.

“They called me and told me they weren't going to bash me with calls and fly up and whatnot,” Brown said.

They wanted to give him space. That, to him, was respectful. It's one of the reasons he looked at Oklahoma.

The sensitivity of everything connected with the Jerry Sandusky child-abuse scandal comes across in Brown, Norvell and coach Bob Stoops' carefully chosen words. A week ago, Stoops refused to even discuss the Sooners recruited Brown, saying “I don't need to detail all that. That's a long time ago now.”

On Tuesday, all three pulled the curtain back a bit more as to how and why the senior receiver left Penn State for Oklahoma.

“Those kids didn't ask to be in this situation, and it's just a no-win situation for everyone that's involved,” Norvell said. “They just tried to make the best out of the situation. Justin was a kid we reached out to because we felt like we needed a mature, experienced receiver that's played, and he was interested in the opportunity here.

“The more we talked, the more we felt like it was a good fit.”

“He's got a lot of friends and family and people back there that he feels for, and his teammates he feels for back there,” Norvell said. “I think he was extremely respectful in this whole thing. He didn't want to disrespect the program or the people back there. But at the same time, he felt like this was an opportunity for him. So, life goes on. He's taking advantage of it and we're glad he did.”

During his second meeting with local media, Brown declined to draw any comparisons between Penn State and Oklahoma, his former and new coach or offensive styles. More than once, Brown emphasized he'd rather not attract media attention to himself.

He made a quiet, low-key visit to campus a couple weeks ago. He officially became part of the roster last week, and after a week of practice Stoops praises the way the 6-3, 209-pound receiver seamlessly fits in.

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