Eli Brown’s transfer from the University of Kentucky football program came as a bit of a surprise.
As a redshirt sophomore in 2017, Brown saw playing time in 12 games and totaled 38 tackles, two tackles for loss and one pass deflection on the season. His biggest performance came in the road win at South Carolina, when he made six tackles and one big stop for a loss while filling in for the injured Jordan Jones.
It looked as if Brown was poised for another good year within the UK linebacking corps in 2018 — presumably in an even bigger role with all the new playing time to be had — but he instead chose to leave for another program. He announced this past spring that he would return to Bowling Green, Ky., to play for Western Kentucky.
Today we found out why.
In a story from Larry Vaught, we learn Brown’s transfer was due to family reasons. He has three younger siblings he’s responsible for, since the passing of their mother a few years ago.
“I had to take care of my family,” Brown said.
Then he went on to tell me the story about having two younger sisters in foster care — one younger brother (age 16) still is. They were in Florida with his mother before she passed away a few years ago. Once they were old enough to get out of foster care, his sisters came to Lexington to be with him.
“It’s hard to take care of two sisters while in college and having to pay the bills. My family decided it would be best if I would move back home (to Bowling Green) and get some support to help me,” Brown said. “The house I grew up in is right down the street from Western. I can walk to the stadium. I truly loved UK but I have to do this to take care of my family.”
He said trying to take care of his sisters has been the “most difficult thing” he’s ever had to do. He was the second oldest of his mom’s five children. His older brother has been in and out of prison.
I highly encourage you to read more from Vaught’s conversation with Brown. It provides a much better understanding of why he had to go, and how much he has on his plate at only 22 years old. Go read it now.