OVERLAND PARK, Kan. - Auburn defensive tackle Derrick Brown has been selected as the 2019 Senior CLASS Award® winner for the NCAA® Division I Football Bowl Subdivision. The award, chosen by a nationwide vote of Division I FBS football coaches, national football media and fans, is given annually to the most outstanding senior student-athlete in Division I football. To be eligible for the award, a student-athlete must be classified as an NCAA Division I senior and have notable achievements in four areas of excellence: classroom, community, character and competition.
An acronym for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School®, the Senior CLASS Award focuses on the total student-athlete and encourages students to make a positive impact as leaders in their communities. Brown is the first student-athlete from Auburn to win the Senior CLASS Award.
"I'm a man who finishes what he starts, and returning for my senior season allowed me to complete my business degree and graduate, it allowed me to spend quality time with my infant son at a key point in our family life, and it allowed me to play one more year with my friends and brothers on the Auburn team," said Brown, who led Auburn to a 9-3 regular-season record during his final year in a Tigers uniform. "This award is just one more testament to my decision to come back. I got everything done and now, I'm just reaping the benefits. At the end of the day, this is what I wanted. I'm excited to be able to live it out."
Auburn has reached a bowl game in each of Brown's four seasons on campus. As the Tigers prepare to face Minnesota in the Outback Bowl on New Year's Day, Brown has recorded 50 tackles so far this season, with a career-high 30 solo stops. The 2019 SEC Defensive Player of the Year has also forced two fumbles while sacking opposing quarterbacks four times. A starter on the defensive line throughout his career at Auburn, Brown has improved his NFL draft stock each year and is projected as a top ten selection in April's draft.
Brown also excels in the classroom. The team captain earned a spot on the SEC academic honor roll and was named an Auburn Academic Top Tiger for his role as a leader within the university. Returning to school to complete his bachelor's degree in business, which he received earlier this month, Brown currently serves as president of Auburn's all-sport Student-Athlete Advisory Committee. In addition to winning the Senior CLASS Award, Brown was selected as the 2019 winner of the Lott Impact Trophy, which recognizes the top defensive college football player who demonstrates excellence in the field of athletics and exemplifies the IMPACT acronym: Integrity, Maturity, Performance, Academics, Community & Tenacity.
Brown was additionally named a finalist for the Outland, Nagurski, Bednarik and Wuerffel trophies to add to his growing list of accomplishments during his senior season at Auburn.
"He's a leader and a first-class man; that's who he is," said Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn, who has led the Tigers to a bowl game in all six seasons he's held the position, including two SEC West Division titles and an appearance in the 2013 BCS National Championship Game. "He's one of the best football players in all of college football, and one of the best young men I've had the opportunity to coach. I truly believe he's one of the best all-around football players in the country. He's one of the best to come through Auburn since I've been here. He had a dominant season-not a good season, a dominant season. We played an unbelievable schedule, and every time we played a big game, he played his best ball. And as outstanding as he is on the field, he is an exceptional leader in every aspect, on our campus and with his peers. Now he has won the Lott Trophy and has received his degree, so I know he feels it was a successful senior season."
Outside of football, Brown has participated in numerous mission trips with Christian organizations, and is actively involved in community service. He also volunteers with local children and serves as a leader and role model. When a tornado struck the city of Auburn in March of 2019, Brown coordinated a student-led effort to assist with tornado relief. Becoming a father in December of 2018, Brown openly speaks about his blessing and the responsibility all fathers have to their families.
"Derrick Brown is a prime representative of an excelling student-athlete" said Erik Miner, executive director for the Senior CLASS Award. "Derrick's ability to thrive on the football field, in the classroom and in his personal life make him a well-respected role model through the Auburn community. His coaches, teammates, fans and family should be proud to have Derrick representing their university through his unwavering leadership. We would like to offer our congratulations to Derrick for winning this prestigious award."