Josiah Brown of Malverne gets ready to watch his team...

Josiah Brown of Malverne gets ready to watch his team compete against Cold Spring Harbor during the Nassau Conference IV semifinals on Nov. 11 at Stuart Stadium. Credit: Dawn McCormick

Josiah Brown is eyeing a return to the gridiron.

The Malverne senior and Penn State commit, who suffered a tear in his right ACL, MCL and meniscus during a homecoming game against Cold Spring Harbor on Oct. 13, underwent reconstructive knee surgery in late October and expects to come back better than before.

“The surgery went very smoothly,” Brown said. “I’ve been going to physical therapy less and less as I feel my strength coming back. I think my comeback will be natural.”

Brown announced his commitment to Penn State in June, choosing the Nittany Lions over other notable programs such as Alabama, Georgia, Oklahoma, Michigan and Notre Dame. The incoming freshman, who will sign his official letter of intent on Dec. 20, says he is getting the same levels of attention and support as a current Nittany Lion while he recovers from the surgery.

“[Penn State] has been in constant contact, checking up on me and making sure I’m doing well,” Brown said. “It’s been great to have their guidance and to know they still feel the same way about me.”

Though the support from his future coaches has played an important part in his recovery, Brown attributes the actions of the Malverne staff and players to his positive mentality.

“The best thing for me during this time has been my support system,” Brown said. “Not only has the Penn State staff kept me focused and confident in my future, but to see my hometown rally around me the way they have . . . it has made all the difference in keeping my spirits up.”

“Everyone just wants to be there for him. He’s an inspirational leader and has a great head on his shoulders,” coach Kito Lockwood said. “His mental state and level of maturity is very advanced. I’m not surprised he’s handling it the way he is.”

The speedy 6-foot, 170-pound wideout totaled eight touchdowns and 529 all-purpose yards in six games for the Mules this season after transferring from Holy Trinity, where he starred for three years. While he was unable to attend Malverne’s next two games after his injury, Brown made an emotional return to the locker room before the Nassau IV quarterfinal game.

“The team was so excited to see him after the surgery, and when he walked into the locker room, everyone erupted into applause,” Lockwood said. “You could see the emotion in everyone’s faces. We were just extremely glad to see him doing well.”

“It wasn’t even their words, it was their energy when I walked into the room,” Brown said. “They were so excited and showed me a lot of love. It seemed like a natural appreciation and excitement to see me back. It was a huge moment in my recovery.”

For the Mules’ ensuing semifinal game, Brown’s teammates and coaches gave him a surprise of their own when he was selected as the honorary captain.

“We decided it was the right thing to do,” Lockwood said. “We wanted him to go out for the coin toss and experience the playoff atmosphere because he still remained a huge part of the team and we wanted him to know that.”

Brown will graduate in January before heading to Pennsylvania to prepare for his collegiate debut next fall, but he wants to cherish his last few weeks at Malverne before shifting his focus to his future.

“Even though I got hurt, I’m still really happy that I was able to reconnect with the community and play on the Malverne field again,” Brown said. “I’m forever grateful for the opportunity and glad I made the decision to return.”

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