Brown started 10 games for Penn State last season, rushing for a team-high 890 yards and 12 touchdowns on 129 carries. He ranked third in the Big Ten in rushing touchdowns and fifth in rushing yards.
In a statement, Penn State said Brown, a redshirt junior from Meadville, Pennsylvania, is receiving treatment for the undisclosed condition. Brown told reporters Oct. 1 that he had considered skipping the 2020 football season but wanted to play one final year before moving on to the NFL.
"I'm a big believer that Journey's experiences throughout his entire life equip him with all of the necessary tools to battle this situation as well," Penn State coach James Franklin said on a Zoom call Tuesday. "He has had a lot of adversity in his life in a very short period of time in terms of his age that he's been able to overcome. That was my conversation with him. I know he's going to handle this thing like he does everything else."
The 5-foot-11, 217-pound Brown set a Penn State bowl record with 202 rush yards in the team's Cotton Bowl win against Memphis. He also set a team bowl record with 12.6 yards per carry in the game.
Eighth-ranked Penn State, which opens the season Saturday at Indiana, likely will turn to sophomores Noah Cain and Devyn Ford in Brown's absence. Cain and Ford combined for 737 yards and 11 touchdowns in 2019. The Lions also signed ESPN 300 recruit Caziah Holmes in the 2020 class.
"Feel like we've got a really good group there," Franklin said. "... We do feel like Noah has the ability to carry the load, and Devyn has a chance to do that as well. We'll see how close those two young guys are ready to play, based on how they prepare this week, but you'd love to get them in the game and see how they do in that setting. But we feel very confident with Noah and very confident with Devyn."