INDIANAPOLIS — Wearing a quarterback’s number isn’t a major stretch for Indianapolis Colts receiver LaVon Brazill.
While growing up in Florida, Brazill would go out of his way to emulate the throwing motion of his favorite player, former Green Bay Packers signal-caller Brett Favre. However, visions of being the next No. 4 in green over time gave way to the reality of being No. 15 in blue.
And the 5-foot-11, 191-pound rookie couldn’t be happier.
“I was a Packers fan growing up. It was great earlier this season getting to go up against the guys I’ve been watching like Charles Woodson, Donald Driver, Greg Jennings and Aaron Rodgers,” Brazill said. “They were my favorites, but it’s all Colts now, baby.”
Brazill is part of the franchise’s successful rookie class that includes other immediate-effect offensive players, such as quarterback Andrew Luck, running back Vick Ballard, receiver T.Y. Hilton and tight ends Dwayne Allen and Coby Fleener.
He’s so far produced 10 receptions for 178 yards with one touchdown while serving as a valuable contributor on special teams. His best efforts statistically are two catches for 46 yards against New England and two for 25 yards in the home victory against Miami. Brazill has returned three kickoffs for an average of 16.7 yards and two punts (6.0).
“This is more than I expected to do my rookie season, but I’m glad to be participating,” said Brazill, who a year ago at this time was helping the Ohio Bobcats of the Mid-American Conference prepare to play Utah State in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl on the legendary blue turf in Boise. “I’m glad our class came in here and made a difference.”
Brazill is used to being part of an effective class. Prior to his arrival in Athens, Ohio, the Bobcats had been to a total of three bowl games, coming up short in the 1962 Sun Bowl, 1968 Tangerine Bowl and 2007 GMAC Bowl. With Brazill running routes and catching passes, Ohio qualified for postseason competition every season from 2009-11.
He is the program’s career leader in receptions with 187 and receiving yards with 2,515. Brazill in 2011 caught 74 passes for 1,150 yards and 11 touchdowns. His eight grabs for 108 yards and a score earned him Most Valuable Player honors in an exciting 24-23 bowl win against Utah State.
Brazill’s first year at Ohio happened two seasons after former Nebraska Cornhuskers coach Frank Solich assumed control of a Bobcats program sorely lacking in tradition. Solich’s demanding style and high expectations no doubt played a role in Brazill being where he is today.
“Coach Solich is all about discipline. He’s a good guy, and I love him to death, but he’s all about playing hard. He would get in your face if you slacked off,” said Brazill, who admits to being on the receiving end of a few such verbal lashings.
“I had Dwayne Dixon as my receivers coach, so he really got me prepared for the next level. He still texts me a couple of times a week. He’s really proud and is always telling me to keep up the good work.”
No need telling No. 15 twice. By this point, it’s engrained.