Curtis Brown's LDS conversion at BYU

By Talo Steves, Jedd Parkinson and Matt Hodge

Deseret News

Published: Monday, Oct. 14 2013 10:30 a.m. MDT

Within weeks of his baptism, Brown was back on the field for spring football as the team began preparing for the 2004 season. After redshirting the previous season and going through his conversion process off the field, Brown was anxious to get back on the gridiron with his teammates. Brown had a solid spring performance and followed it with a strong fall camp and was rewarded with a substantial increase in playing time as a sophomore. He split time at running back with future NFL back Fahu Tahi, starting six games on the season and leading the team with 789 yards rushing. He averaged five yards per carry and scored six touchdowns. Brown also showed his versatility by catching 27 passes and throwing a 40-yard touchdown pass to Austin Collie against Wyoming. The sophomore was recognized for his outstanding play by being named to the All-Mountain West Conference second team.

Those close to the program knew that Brown was poised for a breakout season, and that breakout came in 2005. He started every game as a junior and rushed for 1,123 yards, scored 16 touchdowns and caught 53 passes for nearly 500 yards. Brown was named first-team All-Mountain West Conference. He combined with fellow All-Conference performers John Beck and Johnny Harline to lead a potent Cougar offense that averaged 33 points a game for the season.

As he began his final season in Provo, Brown was approaching the all-time Cougar rushing record held by Jamal Willis. The running back who received little fanfare upon signing with BYU was now in a position to finish his career as the most productive running back in school history. Brown did not disappoint. He delivered another thousand-yard rushing season in 2006 and added 62 receptions for 566 yards, making him the all-time BYU record-holder for both career rushing yards and all-purpose yards. These accomplishments also put Brown in very select company on a national level. He remains one of only 24 players in FBS college football history to have at least 3,000 career rushing yards and 1,000 receiving yards, an honor he shares with former BYU running back Harvey Unga.

Brown, Beck and Harline were once again key cogs in a powerful Cougar offense that averaged 36.7 points a game in 2006. The trio of seniors led the team to an 11-2 season that was capped off by a 38-8 drubbing of the Oregon Ducks in the Las Vegas Bowl. Brown finished his career on a high note, rushing for 120 yards on just 17 carries while scoring two touchdowns in the bowl victory.

Brown has many great memories from his record-breaking career as a Cougar running back, but his fondest BYU memory occurred away from the football field. “I found my eternal companion, my wife Kimberly,” Brown said with a grin. “I’ve been married – it will be six years in August (2012). We got married in the Oakland temple.”

Brown shared his testimony of the gospel, describing the foundation of his faith, the gratitude he feels and what inspires him to be an example to others.

“I know the church is true,” he said. “I know that Heavenly Father revealed the truth to Joseph Smith and let him know that this was the true church. I’m so thankful for this gospel in my life and the opportunities it’s blessed me with. One of the things I always tell people who are interested in learning about the church but are kind of skeptical about things, ultimately what it comes down to is Heavenly Father wants us to be representatives of what he stands for. I felt like the LDS Church is the best church amongst any of those churches on this earth. It does the best job of representing him with charity, with selfless acts, with the representation of its members and the high standards that we hold. I feel like if Heavenly Father were to step on this earth today, he would say, ‘You guys are representing me well.’ I take pride in that. I take pride in being part of this gospel and I’m grateful for all the blessings and the things that I’ve been blessed with as part of this church.”

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