Notre Dame WR Chris Brown reflects on special season

Tyler James
South Bend Tribune

First, let’s set the record straight.

Will Fuller has never beaten Chris Brown with the Philadelphia 76ers in the NBA 2K video game.

Hannah Storm and Dan Hicks took some creative liberties in their roast of several members of Notre Dame’s football team while hosting last Friday’s awards show on campus. At least that’s Brown’s story.

The two Notre Dame football players play video games against each other plenty, but Brown said Fuller wouldn’t be foolish enough to use his hometown team, currently off to a 1-26 start to the season.

Fuller has beaten Brown before, but his team of choice is the Cleveland Cavaliers. It’s only fitting that Notre Dame’s MVP plays with LeBron James.

“I'm not going to say anything like that was a cheat, but you know,” said Brown, hinting that Fuller shouldn’t have to rely on playing with one of the NBA’s most talented rosters. “I stick with my Clippers. He plays with his Cavs."

Not only is Fuller Notre Dame’s best wide receiver, but he’s arguably the best on the team at NBA 2K when he finds the time to play.

“I'd say Will was probably the best in his prime,” Brown said. “(Defensive back) Elijah Shumate is really good.”

Brown’s video game specialty is FIFA soccer, and he’s awarded himself the crown of best on the team while playing with Borussia Dortmund from Germany.

Even when it comes to video games, Brown and Fuller are uber-competitive. Yet according to Brown, the athletic competition many would like to see still hasn’t officially happened: a 40-yard dash to prove who is faster.

At times on the football field, no one looks faster than Fuller as he runs past defenders. But Brown’s high school track résumé, which includes state runner-up finishes in the 100-meter and 200-meter dashes in South Carolina, makes him a worthy opponent.

Brown has confidence he would win the race despite being beaten by Fuller in sand workouts. Brown would certainly win in the triple jump, an event he won a state championship in twice.

"We're going to end up racing soon enough,” Brown said.

Time is running out if the two want to race as Notre Dame football players. The Fiesta Bowl on Jan. 1 will be Brown’s last game for the Irish. It could also be the final game for Fuller, a junior, who said last week that he’s keeping his options open despite previously saying he plans to return for his senior season.

With the end of the season in sight, Brown reflected on a season filled with twists and turns. His favorite moment came all the way back in September when DeShone Kizer replaced Malik Zaire at quarterback for a final-minute victory at Virginia.

“Obviously seeing Malik go down was not something you want to see, but just seeing the other guys step up, you could just tell how much we really cared for each other,” Brown said.

The transformation of Kizer from a cloudy question mark to a bold exclamation point at times this season has surprised many following Notre Dame, including Brown.

"I'm going to be honest, I really didn't expect all this,” Brown said. “I knew he was good. I knew he was good coming out of high school. But when they put you in that moment, what are you going to do? He did

everything he could and took complete advantage of it."

Kizer was able to rely on guys like Fuller and Brown to make big plays in moments of need. Fuller made game-changing touchdowns part of his routine. Brown’s biggest moment came in an uncomfortably close victory over Boston College. Brown gave the Irish a little breathing room with a breathtaking touchdown catch over a defender’s head late in the third quarter. 

Kizer and the Irish receivers will be challenged against Ohio State, which finished the regular season with the sixth-best passing efficiency defense in the country. 

Notre Dame, like Ohio State, had designs on playing in the College Football Playoff. Getting a chance to beat the Buckeyes isn’t a terrible consolation prize.

“We just want to go out and prove that we were one of the best teams in the country,” Brown said, “and what better way to do that than versus the defending national champions.”

tjames@ndinsider.com | 574-235-6214 | Twitter: @TJamesNDI

Notre Dame’s Chris Brown (2) divses after catching a pass and gets tackled by Georgia Tech’s Jamal Golden (4) Saturday, September 19, 2015, during the Georgia Tech-Notre Dame football game at Notre Dame Stadium. SBT Photo/GREG SWIERCZ