The Oklahoman’s Super 30: How Choctaw’s Desean Brown went from unknown to one of state’s top pass rushers

Nick Sardis

CHOCTAW — Desean Brown was about 180 pounds and competing on Choctaw’s junior varsity team during his sophomore football season. 

Although undersized for an edge rusher, Brown simply kept making plays, prompting coach Jake Corbin to make a decision. 

“Game after game after game and just making sack after sack after sack,” Corbin said. “We ended up by the end of the 2019 season changing the defense just to help him get on the field and kind of create a little position for him (on the varsity team). Just let him do what he does best.”

Brown has only gotten better since then. 

Now 6-foot-3 and 246 pounds, he’s one of the most feared pass rushers in Oklahoma. 

Brown, a Rivals four-star prospect, is No. 11 on The Oklahoman’s Super 30 list of the state’s top recruits in the 2022 class. The defensive end’s recruitment took off during his breakout junior season and hasn’t slowed.  

Oklahoma State extended an offer to Brown last fall, becoming the first school to do so. Arizona State, Iowa State, Kansas State, Louisville, Michigan, Nebraska and others followed. 

More:A look at The Oklahoman's 2022 Super 30 high school football recruiting series

Choctaw defensive end Desean Brown had 15 sacks last season.

With a relentless motor and freakish athleticism and strength, Brown proved himself last year as he helped Class 6A-II Choctaw advance to the state finals for the first time since 1960

He recorded 74 tackles and 15 sacks and was named to The Oklahoman’s All-State first team

“We call Desean ‘wild man,’” Corbin said. “He has one gear, and it’s full all the time.” 

Brown has a unique background, making his rise in football even more extraordinary. 

He’s been raised by his adopted mother, Lawauna Brown. She took him in when he was 15 months old and treats him as her own along with her two nieces, who she also adopted. 

Lawauna has taken care of the kids by herself. 

“She’s really an inspiration,” Desean said.

Desean was born in the custody of the Department of Human Services and separated from his biological mom when he was a baby. 

He spent time at different places, then Lawauna entered his life. 

The Oklahoman Super 30:Stillwater's Gabe Brown learning to be loud on road to Oklahoma State

“DHS asked me to keep him for two weeks,” she said. “My brother had lost his best friend. Desean came for two weeks, and he really helped us through our pain. So, we decided to keep him.

"By the time it was time for him to go back to his mom out of foster care, she didn’t really have anywhere to take him. By that time, he was about 3. So, she asked to relinquish her rights if we would take care of him. We’ve been taking care of him ever since.” 

It wasn’t long after that when football started to play an important role in Desean’s life. 

“Playing football since he was about 4 years old,” Lawauna said. “We actually used football and basketball, just sports in general, to channel energy and focusing.

"We didn’t know that he was going to shine like he is, but Choctaw has really shaped him up a lot. A lot of credit goes to them for the young man he has become, their coaching staff and their admin staff.” 

Desean Brown had a rare amount of improvement between his sophomore and junior seasons. 

Brown, who attended Del City as a freshman, wasn’t big early in his high school career, but he was fierce. 

“I was really little, but I always give 100% effort,” he said. “So in anything I did, I always did what the coach said and gave 100% when he said it. I always wanted to be the first.” 

Brown was about 225 pounds entering his junior year. One of his best games was against Tulsa Booker T. Washington early in the season. 

Opposing teams started heavily game planning against him after that, sometimes having two or three players trying to block him. 

Brown still found ways to have an impact. 

“Game after game, you’re like, ‘this guy’s unblockable,’” Corbin said. “He’s either making a play or getting held every snap.” 

More:What is The Oklahoman’s Super 30? Breaking down the yearly recruiting series

The level of dominance Brown showcased surprised Corbin. 

“I thought that Desean was going to be an FCS kid,” Corbin said. “I didn’t know that he was going to be the Power 5, FBS player going into the season. Is he big enough? Wasn’t really sure. I knew he was a great player, but size wise I wasn’t sure. He just kept growing and growing and growing.” 

Choctaw senior offensive lineman Cade McConnell, who is No. 13 on The Oklahoman’s Super 30 list, has had an intimate look at Brown over the past few years. 

The two battle in practice and have helped each other develop. 

“I don’t think I’ve gone against anybody but Desean for the past two years in our little one-on-one things we do in practice,” McConnell said. “I feel like I learn just as much or even more from him than he does from me, and I feel like that’s great to have. 

“I don’t know if I would be the player I was today just with knowing what defensive linemen are going to do if I didn’t get to go up against someone that has his caliber and has his moves and toolbox. He’s a great guy, great teammate.”

The Oklahoman’s 2022 Super 30

Name: Desean Brown | School: Choctaw

Ranking: No. 11 | Pos.: Defensive end

Height: 6-foot-3 | Weight: 246 pounds

Recruited by: Akron, Arizona State, Baylor, Houston, Indiana, Iowa State, Kansas, Kansas State, Louisville, Michigan, Nebraska, SMU, TCU, Texas Tech

About the series

The Oklahoman’s Super 30 feature series will spotlight each high school football player on the Super 30 recruit rankings for the 2022 class. The series continued Saturday with No. 11, Choctaw’s Desean Brown. See Nos. 10 and 9 on the list in Sunday’s edition of The Oklahoman. Here are the last five players featured:

No. 15: Mason Gilkey, WR, Pawhuska

No. 14: Jaleel Johnson, DL, Putnam North

No. 13: Cade McConnell, OL, Choctaw

No. 12: Gabe Brown, LB, Stillwater 

No. 11: Desean Brown, DE, Choctaw

Reporter Nick Sardis covers high school sports across the Oklahoma City metro and state. Have a story idea for Nick? He can be reached at or on Twitter at @nick_sardis. Support Nick’s work and that of other Oklahoman journalists by purchasing a digital subscription today at or by using the link at the top of this page.