Josiah Brown starred at Holy Trinity for the past three years. Now, the Penn State commit will return home to Malverne to play his final football season. NewsdayTV’s Carissa Kellman reports.  Credit: Gary Licker; Newsday file

Josiah Brown is going home to play his final season of high school football. Brown, who starred at Holy Trinity for the past three years and announced his commitment to play for Penn State, left the Titans and returned to his hometown of Malverne.

Brown’s decision to leave Holy Trinity, which captured its second straight Catholic High School Football League crown, will have an immediate impact in Nassau’s Conference IV.

The top-ranked high school football prospect on Long Island reached his college decision on June 23. In less than a month, Brown opted to return to his home district.

“Oh, it’s a homecoming for sure,” said Brown, who had a 3.6 GPA at Holy Trinity. “I played with all these guys when I was in youth football. They play hard-nosed football and they’re pumped up that I’m back. We feel we have a shot at the LIC. My plan is to win that LIC, have a shot at the Thorp Award as Nassau’s top player and graduate early in January. Then I’ll get to Penn State and start my college career.”

Brown, 17, a four-star athlete and the No. 242 overall high school player in the country, according to the 247 Sports Composite Rankings, had more than 20 FBS Division I scholarship offers from schools such as Alabama, Florida, Oklahoma, Michigan and Notre Dame.

The 6-foot, 170-pound wide receiver/defensive back had a .9146 prospect rating in the 247 Sports Composite Rankings, the highest of any player in New York for the class of 2024.

“I got the green light from our director of athletics that Brown was a registered athlete, and it was processed through our district and Section VIII,” Malverne coach Kito Lockwood said. “There is a definite buzz. The addition is a big deal for our program and excited our players. I coached his two older brothers and we’re very familiar with the family. He initially played in our Wildcat-Malverne youth league. He’s a neighborhood kid and went to the elementary schools in Malverne.”

Malverne football coach Kito Lockwood and senior Josiah Brown on Sunday,...

Malverne football coach Kito Lockwood and senior Josiah Brown on Sunday, July 16, 2023. Credit: Howard Simmons

Brown said the decision to leave was not easy.

“It was very hard leaving Coach [Kahmal] Roy and we talked about it and he understood,” Brown said. “We created a bond that’s much deeper than football and he fully supports me. You always need someone to be in your corner and all the Holy Trinity coaches really showed me love.”

Malverne won its first playoff game in 14 years last season and last earned a conference crown in 2007. The Mules are the preseason second seed in Nassau Conference IV this fall.

“He had requested his transcripts from the guidance department,” said Chris Hardardt, director of athletics at Holy Trinity. “He’s the highest-profile kid on Long Island and it’s a big deal that he’s going back to his hometown. Transfers happen all the time with students in the Catholic League. I feel very comfortable with the way our school and program treated JB.

"He was a well-liked student by every teacher and coach here. We know Penn State wants to get him on campus early and get him settled. And we were fully prepared to have that conversation to work out his schedule to allow him to graduate early.”

Brown plans to graduate in January from Malverne and get started at Penn State.

“We were aware of his transfer based on communication from his family that they deemed best for them, and we really didn’t get into a deep dive about it,” Roy said. “I’ve advised him about the decision and their plan and sometimes that supersedes what our organization is looking to do. Our role is to guide these kids and try to help eliminate some of the hurdles they face. It’s a service to this family, regardless of whatever comes up.”

Roy said he’ll always support Brown.

“Too many coaches use these kids for wins and losses,” he said. “The rule that I’ve maintained is simple. I want what’s best for the kid first — even if it’s not us.

“We’ve poured enough resources and energy into our kids so they can be successful in their next step. It’s a preparatory process not centered around how many games we win or the notoriety they get. It’s about getting prepared for the next step. We gave him our blessing and we’ll continue to support him and what he’s going to continue to accomplish.”

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