Spring football scrimmage (copy)

Montana State wide receiver Charles Brown makes a big catch during the Sonny Holland Classic spring scrimmage on April 23 at Bobcat Stadium.

It’s hard for Charles Brown to fathom a more fitting destination than Texas State.

San Marcos, the town where Texas State resides, is about 230 miles south of Brown’s hometown of Grand Prairie, a Dallas suburb. TSU is also a Football Bowl Subdivision program, the highest level in college football and a tier above Brown’s former team Montana State, of the Football Championship Subdivision. Just like MSU, TSU’s mascot is the Bobcats.

Brown, a rising redshirt freshman wide receiver, felt conflicted about entering the transfer portal last month. He simply wanted to find a better fit with more opportunities to play. He believes TSU checks those boxes.

“I love Montana State,” Brown told 406mtsports.com on Thursday. “I just felt like I wasn’t in the plans. I’m glad I’m still a Bobcat, though. Just a Bobcat back home now.”

Brown committed to MSU in 2019, back when Jeff Choate was head coach. Brown left Arlington High School early and enrolled at MSU in January 2020, but his first spring camp was cut short because of the COVID-19 pandemic. MSU didn’t play that following season either.

Brent Vigen replaced Choate, now the co-defensive coordinator and inside linebackers coach at Texas, in February 2021. Brown had no major issues with Vigen, new offensive coordinator Taylor Housewright or new wide receivers coach Justin Udy. They just weren’t the coaches he committed to. He envisioned playing in an offense run by Choate, Matt Miller (MSU’s OC in 2019) and Erik Frazier (the receivers coach at the time). Then-running backs coach/recruiting coordinator Denarius McGhee also helped bring Brown to Bozeman.

“When they left, learning the new playbook, it was pretty difficult,” Brown said. “We got that, but then (the new coaches) just didn’t know where to use me.”

An example of that, Brown said, came in the 2021 opener at Wyoming. The 5-foot-11, 170-pound speedster lined up in the slot and made the first catch of the game. His coaches moved him to the outside the next week, and he made one other catch the rest of the season. His redshirt was preserved because he didn’t take the field after the fourth game.

Brown was slightly puzzled by the position change but also “could understand it because I’m more of a hybrid receiver,” he said. Texas State’s coaches recruited him to play either inside or outside, he added, so his portal entry had little to do with the post-Wyoming move. Most of his decision revolved around his 2022 outlook.

Whether or not Brown deserved heavy playing time is subjective and impossible to discern from the outside, but he certainly thinks he does, and he felt pessimistic about his chances at MSU following spring camp.

“I’m really confident in myself,” Brown said. “The things I did throughout spring and the time I was at Montana State, I knew if I did hit the portal that someone was going to see and pull me out.”

Other than FBS-bound Sam Houston, Brown mainly considered FCS schools like Incarnate Word before Texas State reached out. He committed shortly after he visited San Marcos and received an offer from TSU.

Being closer to home played a big role, as did TSU’s FBS status (in the Sun Belt Conference). He also expects to get significant playing time, especially after TSU’s senior-heavy receiving corps graduates next year.

“It just felt like home,” he said. “The coaching staff, everybody there, they welcomed me with open arms, and they were excited for me to start this new journey.”

Brown developed good relationships with his teammates at MSU, and he didn’t speak with any bitterness toward the coaching staff. It just “didn’t work out,” he said, so he joined eight other MSU players in the portal. Brown is the fourth of those players to find a new team, along with quarterback Matthew McKay (Elon), offensive lineman TJ Session (Cal) and offensive lineman Cole Snyder (Delaware).

“I didn’t really want to get in the portal,” Brown said. “I wish stuff would have really worked out in Montana State because I’m the type of person that once I’m in something, I want to finish it. But this is God’s plan.

“I’m excited to stay on this journey and excited to work, and I wish nothing but the best for my guys back in Montana State.”

Originally published on bozemandailychronicle.com, part of the TownNews Content Exchange.