Tony Brown came to Alabama as one of the top prizes of the heralded 2014 recruiting class, choosing Alabama over LSU after a long recruiting battle. A high school track star, Brown was an early enrollee who was viewed as something of a can’t-miss prospect. He was to team with fellow five-star classmate Marlon Humphrey and solidify what had been a troublesome cornerback position in 2013.
Tony’s talent was on display early in his career, as he was able to earn significant time as a true freshman. In his very first conference road game, he drew the unenviable task of covering superstar Ole Miss WR Laquon Treadwell on several occasions, and generally performed well. Sure, there were some expected mental lapses in the game, but Tony kept bouncing back.
As he showed the world that day, Tony is a fighter.
In fact, a series late in that game turned out to be a harbinger for the rest of Tony’s career. After Ole Miss took a late 23-17 lead, Brown was called for roughing the kicker on what could have been a critical missed extra point. On cue, he blocked the re-kick. Time and time again throughout his career, Tony would have spectacular successes and failures, both seemingly coming when the stakes were highest.
Tony brought a certain machismo to the secondary. He earned the nickname “Crazy Tony” for his incessant trash talk, shirtless pregame warm-ups, and scrappy demeanor that included the occasional fisticuffs. His interview after the 2017 semifinal win over Clemson was a classic, particularly his rant about Hunter Renfrow and expression of emotional gratitude for the suit he was wearing, which his mother hand made for him.
Oh, and while Tony’s style may cause some lapses, one thing never changes.
For his last act, Tony stayed on brand in the national title game against Georgia. After his signature shirtless warm-up, he was involved in two of the biggest moments of the game, making an acrobatic interception then allowing a long touchdown in man coverage. He will undoubtedly dominate the workout circuit leading up to the draft, but his ability to control the bravado and master the mental side of the game will determine his success at the next level. One thing is for sure though, he will inject some personality into any organization that he is a part of.
Thanks for the memories, Crazy Tony. It’s been a fun ride.