University of Maine defensive back Kahzir “Buggs” Brown (30) celebrates a third down stop against Colgate on Saturday in Orono. Michael G. Seamans/Morning Sentinel

ORONO — As soon as you ask a member of the University of Maine football team to tell you about Buggs, the grin appears. Buggs makes you smile.

Buggs is sophomore cornerback Kahzir Brown, who earned the nickname, a tribute to Bugs Bunny, as a freshman in high school as a fan of the iconic Looney Tunes character. To his family in Trenton, New Jersey, Brown is Kahzir, Kaz, or Kazzy. To teammates, friends, and fans of the Black Bears, he’s Buggs. It’s there on Maine’s roster, the only player with a nickname in parentheses. There’s only one Buggs. The nickname that conveys his high energy, fun and intelligence.

“At first I was like, I’m not calling this man Buggs,” said Shakur Small, a sophomore safety with the Black Bears. “It fits him well. He carries it. He always has high energy, and he’s a blessing to be around.”

Senior wide receiver Zavier Scott often lines up across from Brown at practice. Scott said trying to get open against Brown in practice reminds him of the Bible verse, Proverbs 27:17. Iron sharpens iron such as one man sharpens another. More importantly than what he brings to the Black Bears on the field, Brown’s positive attitude and demeanor are a good addition to the locker room, Scott said.

“I’m helping him get better, he’s helping me get better. It’s just good to have someone who can play at that level,” Scott said. “Buggs? I kinda like that. It’s unique and it sticks. You can’t forget it.”

Brown led the Black Bears with three interceptions last season as a freshman, and he picked off another pass in Maine’s season opener at New Mexico. Through two games this season, Brown has six tackles and a pass breakup to go with the interception. Brown and the Black Bears (0-2) will be tested this Saturday at Boston College, their second Football Bowl Subdivision opponent in three weeks.


“He certainly has a physical presence. He’s able to blitz” said Maine Coach Jordan Stevens. “He’s able to press man. He’s able to play off. His size allows him to see the ball and play in space. His work ethic’s been tremendous. He was here all summer training. He’s committed to the process.”

At 6-foot-3 and 200 pounds, Brown is bigger than most corners, and he uses his size to disrupt receivers as much as he can.

UMaine cornerback Kahzir “Buggs” Brown (30) tries to break up a pass thrown to wide receiver Zavier Scott during an intrasquad scrimmage in August. Michael G. Seamans/Morning Sentinel

“I’m a big, lanky guy. So people have got to find ways to work around me. They can’t just run through me because I feed off physical contact. Touch me and I’ll touch you back. Not too many people like a bigger body in front of them,” Brown said.

“You’ve got to be mentally instinctual to play corner. You’re not going to win every rep. You’re not supposed to win every rep. At corner it’s a challenge every play. It’s not like you have plays off. Every play, you’ve got to know what you’re doing. You’ve got to know where to be. You’ve got to know what the receiver does, how he does it, and why he does it.”

Smalls calls Brown an athletic freak, and when they first met was surprised his new teammate wasn’t a safety like him. Smalls points to a play Brown made in last week’s game against Colgate. With the Raiders facing second down and four from their own 30 early in the fourth quarter, Brown came on a corner blitz, leaping and batting away Michael Brescia’s pass.

“A lot of people can’t really do that. I see that all the time in practice,” Smalls said. “You don’t get many guys at the corner position who have that stature and frame, so it’s good to be back there with him… We’re growing together and it should be fun the next few years.”


As a high school senior in the fall of 2020, Brown and Trenton Central played just a couple games, as the season was largely lost to the coronavirus pandemic. Maine had been the first school to recruit Brown, and stayed interested despite the lost season. Brown said that made the decision to attend Maine easier, despite not getting to visit the campus until he arrived for preseason workouts in the summer of 2021.

“Talking to Maine, everything was about family. Getting to know me as a person, getting to know my family, really bringing me in with open arms. It’s really a family vibe here,” Brown said. “That’s what I was looking for. Even though I wasn’t able to visit Maine, I knew the school would embrace me, so I took it. Every day since I’ve been here, it’s been that way.  I walk around, people are like ‘Hey Buggs! How are you doing? It’s nice to meet you.’ It’s been amazing to be here.”

Brown’s welcome-to-college-football moment came in a practice last season, when he was beaten by former Maine wideout Devin Young on a deep pass.

“He cooked me on a route and scored a touchdown. In the middle of practice I just stopped for a second. In high school that never happened to me,” Brown said.

Brown said his first collegiate interception, which came in Maine’s homecoming game last season against William and Mary, emphasized to him he’d made the right decision is coming to Maine. He drew energy from celebrating the interception with his teammates and the cheering crowd.

“Probably the best thing I’ve felt,” Brown said.

A sports management major with a minor in entrepreneurship, Brown was named to the Colonial Athletic Association commissioner’s academic honor roll last year for maintaining a grade point average above 3.0.

“His best football is ahead of him,” Stevens said of Brown. “He’s a team-first guy. He’s a great student. He really applies himself in the classroom. He’s been really consistent for us.”

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