DaVaris Daniels missing spring practice due to academic issues may have been the break Notre Dame wide receiver Chris Brown needed.
"When DaVaris was not with us, Chris by de facto was the veteran of that group," Irish coach Brian Kelly explains. "He was put in a leadership position in the spring and really kind of took off. I think the circumstances led to him really emerging at that position."
Kelly now says Brown and not Daniels is the starter at wide receiver as the Irish head into week two of preseason camp. Kelly says Brown was the most consistent and productive player the Irish had in the first week of workouts. And Kelly saw that first hand as he served as the interim wide receivers coach with Mike Denbrock still out due to an undisclosed surgery.
Brown had just 12 catches in 2013, with five of them coming in the Pinstripe Bowl victory over Rutgers.
"I feel like I has developed over the last several months, more," Brown admits. "I feel like I was on the verge last year. Just being more steady, has given me the confidence."
The Irish need a go-to-receiver with TJ Jones now in the NFL. It was Jones who helped mentor Brown over the last few years.
"TJ showed me how to be a savvy, old receiver," Brown said. "I'm not going to say I was nervous, but I would think too much. He told me to slow the game down and really work on my crafts as far as ins and outs. He really just showed me the way."
As Brown continues to grow, he wants to show the world that he's not a once a game big time play option.
"I want to be that guy the quarterback can feel comfortable throwing to me knowing I'll make that play," Brown says.