UNLV football the right fit for Saugus grad and COC kicker Tanner Brown

College of the Canyons freshman kicker Tanner Brown works on his technique during Tuesday’s practice at Cougar Stadium. Brown earned Southern California Football Association (SCFA) Player of the Week honors for his four-field goal performance in COC’s 19-6 win over Saddleback College last Saturday. John Wareham/COC Sports Information

Saugus High School graduate and current College of the Canyon’s football team kicker/punter Tanner Brown might have not ever picked up a football at Saugus if it wasn’t for his former AYSO soccer coach, Rick Miler.

“My freshman year of high school, during soccer season, Rick Miler, who was the JV head coach for Saugus football, he had always coached me in AYSO soccer and was watching one of the high school games and approached me,” Brown said. “Once soccer season was done, and my sophomore year was rolling around, I spent the summer learning from Rick and then I just kind of ran with it.

Thanks to Miler’s keen eye for talent, Brown might have never had the opportunity to blossom into a bright, young JUCO and NCAA Division 1 prospect.

On Tuesday, Feb. 4, Brown committed to kicking for the University of Nevada, Las Vegas this upcoming season and has been working on being prepared to contribute right away. 

“I’m just focusing on cleaning everything up, focusing on finishing up my classes and getting my AA degree,” Brown said. “I’ve been really pushing myself on the field and in the weight room so that when I get to UNLV I put myself in the best position I could so when I get there there are no delays and I’m ready to go.”

Brown’s decision came down to what school was the right fit for him. He took a couple visits to schools like Indiana State and Marshall University in West Virginia, but he just didn’t feel the “It-factor.”

But once UNLV got in the mix and Brown took his visit, the conversation was over.

“A lot of these schools would come and talk to me and stuff, but UNLV was the only school that I really got excited about,” Brown said. “I was telling my friends, and no other school came close to that feeling. I could picture myself there and that’s why I chose to go there.”

Playing his first varsity game during his junior season in 2016-17 at Saugus, Brown served primarily as the team’s punter and kick-off specialist, while Miler’s son, Logan, was the team’s kicker.

In his senior season, Brown took over both roles at Saugus and flourished. 

Over the course of 11 games, Brown punted the ball 37 times for 1,242 yards with a long of 60 and seven touchbacks. He made 7-of-11 field goals with a long of 47 yards and made 16-of-18 point-after-attempts.

Then, Brown burst on the scene as a freshman of Cougar football in 2018-19 and was named a California Community College Football Coaches Association (CCCFCA) All-American selection as well as an All-California First Team Offense in Region III.

Brown made 17-of-21 field goals and was immaculate going 44-for-44 in point-after attempts. He punted the ball 44 times for 1,503 yards and 16 touchbacks.

This past season, Brown’s sophomore season, didn’t go as smoothly as Brown and the team had to make an in-season change after Brown’s holder had to leave the team for personal reasons.

COC’s Tanner Brown (13) puts COC on the board with a field goal in the final seconds of the first half against Moorpark College on Thursday. Dan Watson/The Signal

”It just wasn’t the same,” Brown said about his sophomore season.

Brown went on to convert 11-of-17 field goal attempts with a long of 50 yards and made 56-of-58 PATs. He punted the ball considerably less, 27 times, for 1,055 yards and had 10 touchbacks.

Later this year, Brown will head east to Las Vegas where he is yet to decide a major, but is ready to go to work.

“I can’t tell the future, but all I know is that I’m going to do my best to put myself and the team in the best position to succeed and will be working for it,” Brown said.

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