Christian Brown moved from Florida to Bridgeton to be closer to the many colleges recruiting him to play football.
Last month, the 18-year old decided to attend West Virginia University.
"I called the head coach (Dana Holgorsen) and told him that I was looking at them hard and liked the school," Brown said in a phone interview Friday. "Then I told them I wanted to commit there. He was fired up about it. He was happy. He told me I made his day."
The 6-foot-3, 290-pound Brown will attend West Virginia on a full four-year athletic scholarship and play defensive tackle. The Mountaineers are coming off a 10-3 season that included a 70-33 win over Clemson in the Orange Bowl.
"I'm looking forward to just getting there, working hard, and making sure I get everything right," said Brown. "They said I could come in and play early. That's a good thing because I can get used to the environment and how the college level is."
While he was being recruited by several schools, including Connecticut, Purdue, Illinois and Louisville, Brown took an official visit to the Morgantown, W.Va., campus on Dec. 9 and knew it was where he wanted to be.
"It's a big place," said Brown, who has not yet declared a major. "The people, the environment, the team. Everybody knows them. It's a lot of exposure."
Brown lived with his mother, Ansanett Holland, and attended Dunbar High School in Fort Myers, Fla., before moving to New Jersey and living with his father, Ronnie Brown, for his senior year. Brown played in eight games for Bridgeton in 2011 and, according to the recruiting website maxpreps.com, had 35 tackles and two sacks. He missed Bridgeton's final two games after missing practices because of what he said were personal reasons.
Bulldogs teammate Sean Henigin also was recruited by several schools and decided this week to attend Rutgers University as a preferred walk-on.
"It was cool knowing that there was another guy on my team going through the same process," Henigin said in a phone interview Thursday. "We've been joking around about how WVU is leaving the Big East so we won't even play each other."
West Virginia, which is a member of the Big East Conference, has applied to join the Big 12.
Brown said he thinks he and Henigin will remain friends throughout their college careers.
"It's always good to know people that go to other schools," Brown said. "I told him that since we're going to the Big 12 we probably won't play since they're still in the Big East. If we were to play them, it probably would have been a good game."
Brown says his size and speed are what make him successful on the field. He said he hopes to improve while in the Mountaineers' program.
"To be my size, I'm quick," Brown said. "I think the main things I need to work on, that college will teach me, is technique. I've got the strength and the speed and when you put that all together, it'll be hard to stop."
He also said he's ready for the grind of major-college football.
"I'm pretty sure they're going to try me and see how tough I am," Brown said. "They're going to put me out there and I'll give it my all and see how I do. Wherever it goes, it goes."
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