Immediate impact: Daryl Brown steps up for Bulldogs after transfer

Minnesota Duluth cornerback Daryl Brown never was used to losing. As an all-state performer for Minnesota prep power Wayzata High School, Brown had 39 tackles, 16 pass breakups and four interceptions in helping the Trojans make the Class AAAAA st...

Minnesota Duluth cornerback Daryl Brown (left) makes contact with an offensive player during drills at Malosky Stadium in Duluth on Tuesday afternoon. Clint Austin /

Minnesota Duluth cornerback Daryl Brown never was used to losing.


As an all-state performer for Minnesota prep power Wayzata High School, Brown had 39 tackles, 16 pass breakups and four interceptions in helping the Trojans make the Class AAAAA state tournament as a senior in 2009, one year after winning the large-school state title.

Brown hoped to have similar team success at the University of North Dakota, but it never quite happened, so he enrolled at UMD for spring semester.

Brown has made an immediate impact in his first season with the Bulldogs. The 5-foot-10, 170-pound senior will be relied upon again when No. 4 UMD (3-0) plays at No. 20 Winona State (3-0) on Saturday in a battle of Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference unbeatens.


“I had a great experience at North Dakota in terms of school and the relationships I built,” Brown said. “I was really close with a lot of those guys, but it was hard losing all the time. Nobody likes losing. It’s my last year, and I want to go out, hopefully, with a national championship.”

North Dakota went 19-25 in Brown’s four years in the program.

After redshirting in 2010, he got off to a good start, making the College Sports Journal’s all-freshman team as North Dakota went 8-3 in 2011 and earned a share of the Great West Conference title.

That, however, was followed by  5-6 and 3-8 marks the following two seasons. North Dakota coach Chris Mussman was fired after the 2013 season and eventually replaced by Bubba Schweigert, a former UMD head coach and North Dakota assistant. North Dakota is 2-2 this year.

“There was just too much unknown,” Brown said. “They lost their whole coaching staff and are in the process of rebuilding, and I didn’t want to take that chance for my last season. I still talk to a lot of those guys and still support those guys. I wish them all the best.”

UMD is rather selective in bringing in transfers but has had great success with several of the transfers it has added.

Isaac Odim, a transfer from Rochester Community and Technical College, is the Bulldogs’ all-time leading rusher. Offensive lineman Jake Bscherer, a transfer from Wisconsin, received an NFL tryout.

It is a system where the rich get richer. After winning NCAA Division II titles in 2008 and 2010, UMD gets calls on transfers almost daily, according to Bulldogs coach Curt Wiese.


One of the advantages UMD has is that a player from a Football Championship Subdivision school, such as North Dakota, can play with the Bulldogs right away, where if he transfers to another FCS school he would have to sit out a year.

“Transferring is not for everybody,” said Wiese, who himself transferred from Minnesota State-Mankato to Wisconsin-Stevens Point in 1998. “You know when the time is right to leave, and you know when the time is right to stay, and Daryl felt in his heart it was a decision he needed to make.”

The Bulldogs never recruited Brown out of high school, but he did receive NSIC interest from Minnesota State-Mankato, Winona State and Bemidji State.

Brown is good friends with UMD captain Aaron Roth and safety David Boegel, whom like Brown, are from Plymouth, Minn., and played at nearby Wayzata.

“We don’t have a lot of transfers in our program, but Daryl fit all of those molds for the kind of players we’ll take,” Wiese said. “He’s a good character kid, and we not only knew his high school coaches well, but we knew some of his friends. If teammates will vouch for him that he should be a Bulldog, then we better take a look. He’s been a great fit. We’re excited to have him. He’s been a good teammate.”

Brown used spring football to get acclimated to his new teammates and system. That’s paid dividends this fall.

“I had to make an adjustment. It was tough at first, but as I got into it, it started coming easy,” said Brown, a well-spoken communications major. “The defense was similar to what I was doing at North Dakota, but there were also things I had to do differently as far as technique goes, and with different coaching, there is obviously going to be different terminology. We use a lot more man-to-man here, and I love it. That’s my favorite coverage.”

Brown had the Bulldogs’ first interception of the season in a 38-7 home victory over Southwest Minnesota State last week. It was the fourth interception of Brown’s collegiate career, and he’d like another one this week as Winona State goes into Saturday averaging 525 yards per game, tops in the 16-team NSIC.


Brown will have to adjust to playing outside every week after playing indoors for North Dakota. He said players at the FCS level are generally a little bigger and a little faster than they are at the D-II level, but the game, and the camaraderie, is still the same.

“We’ve got some great guys on this team,” Brown said. “The difference with these guys and the guys at North Dakota is that I feel like it’s a family here. There were some guys at North Dakota, where they just played for themselves, and they only cared about what they did. And I know losing can bring that out, but guys here support you no matter what. If you make a bad play, they say, ‘Next play, keep your head up, we’re here for you.’ And that’s what I like about this team. I know they have my back, and I have their back.”


UMD (3-0) at Winona State (3-0)


What: NSIC football game

When: 6 p.m. Saturday

Where: Warrior Stadium, Winona, Minn.


Rankings: UMD is ranked fourth; Winona State is No. 20

Forecast: Sunny with a high of 80 and
8 mph wind


Radio: KQDS-AM 1490;



Jon Nowacki is a former reporter for the Duluth News Tribune
What To Read Next
Get Local