Being an Ole Miss Rebel comes naturally for Ben Brown.
The redshirt freshman guard from Vicksburg, Miss., is the latest in a long line of family members to don the Red and Blue on the gridiron. Hs father, Tim Brown, was an offensive lineman for the Rebels in the 1980s. His uncle, Burke Brown, played o-line for Ole Miss in the '90s. Both of his grandfathers, Allen Brown and Bobby Robinson, won national championships for Johnny Vaught in the '60s. Cousin Alton Brown was a defensive lineman for the Rebels in the 1970s, while great uncle Jerry Brown played for the Rebs in the 1950s.
"It means everything," Brown said following Thursday's practice. "I've grown up a Rebel my entire life. I've sat in the stands every game. To be in this position is just a dream come true. I'm just trying to give it all while I have a chance."
The position Brown finds himself this spring is an emerging one. Brown has routinely flashed through spring practice and caught the attention of Ole Miss head coach Matt Luke, who has praised him on multiple occasions. Brown has taken first-team reps...and a lot of them...at right guard.
"It's going good," Brown said when asked to assess his spring. "It's a lot faster. There are a lot of very talented players. I'm just happy to get the reps.
"It was a big transition going from 1A football at St Aloysius in Vicksburg, but I feel really prepared right now. It's going great. Last season was great being redshirted, just getting the experience, hearing from all of the older guys, just helping me out with everything. That's been big time."
Luke has said Brown is grasping things extremely well.
"Obviously, the older guys, they help out a lot," Brown shared. "They'll stay out there sometimes and help me. Coach (Jack) Bicknell has done an awesome job, kind of breaking down everything for me. Telling it slowly to me, that way I can understand. Any mistakes I make in practice, he helps correct us afterwards."
What does Brown consider his strengths at this early juncture of his career?
"My strength is probably the run game. I feel like I'm pretty strong and can get down fairly low, but I just have to continue working," said Brown.