Former DeKalb standout Dre Brown was in full preparation mode last year for his first season at Illinois before he tore his ACL during the spring season, shutting him down before he even suited up for the Illini. Now after a grueling rehab and an overhaul of his coaching staff, the redshirt freshman is ready to go in Lovie Smith's offense.
The Barbs graduate recalls the initial hurdles of the injury. "It was very frustrating," Brown told 13 Sports' NBC partners at WAND-TV in Champaign. "It was a Thursday night practice. Much more relaxed. It was a coaches' clinic. I'm thinking the spring game is coming up and my family will be down. It took one second, so I know that when I come out here, I can't take anything for granted. I have to put everything into one practice, one practice at a time and never look ahead."
Brown knows he's ready to make an impact for the Illini as they continue to work through the spring schedule ."I think I gained a lot more power, I'm running with a lot more power. I bulked up a little bit. That's helped, being a Big Ten back, and knowing I'm going to take a beating, game in and game out."
Illinois will hold a public practice this Saturday before wrapping up spring football on April 26.