The recruitment of Long Beach standout Richie Brown has taken quite a different turn over the course of the last month.
In June, the 6-foot-2, 225-pound linebacker showed out at Ole Miss’ annual elite camp but didn’t garner an immediate offer.
Since then, as he has continued to open eyes time and time again at various camps across the region, Brown’s stock has increased exponentially.
And as a result of his consistent performances, he has earned scholarship offers from Mississippi State, Kentucky and Southern Miss, and most recently Ole Miss, LSU and Purdue.
While others ran 40s and battled in 1-on-1 drills last Saturday at Ole Miss’ senior day camp at the Indoor Practice Facility, Brown remained on the sideline in his sandals and backwards black Under Armor hat, mingling with other athletes and the Rebel coaching staff.
My how the tides have turned for Brown, who, instead of seeking out believers in the form of scholarship offers now has the luxury of refraining from workouts.
Now, he’s being courted like his No. 28 national position ranking — according to the recruiting service Rivals.com — suggests he should have been all along.
“It’s changed a lot,” Brown said Saturday. “People are kind of recognizing that I’m the real deal and that I’m not lying when I’m saying that I’m going to compete and out-run everybody that I’m competing against and that I’m serious about it. More offers are coming and more people are saying they’re about to offer.
“I think I’m getting a little more respect now.”
While talking with Brown, he made it very clear that the ideas of respect, trust and transparency are pivotal in his recruitment.
“It kind of makes me see who is really interested in me and who’s not, who’s waiting and who isn’t, who really believes in me and who doesn’t,” Brown said after being asked if receiving more offers clarifies the process or makes it more difficult. “It’s all kind of narrowing itself down as I make more visits, meeting the coaches, seeing how they coach, the intensity and how they are involved with me.
“Their honesty, seeing how honest they are with me. If they say I’m going to play my freshman year. If they say, ‘yeah we have that connection and think you can do it. We believe in you.’
“That’s also something I’m looking for. If they believe in me. The playing time deal is a big deal to me, too.”
Brown later voiced his thoughts of Ole Miss’ depth at linebacker.
“That’s kind of a positive thing for me,” he said. “That could be what he’s talking about when he tells me I could be the piece that they’re needing.”
The Bearcat linebacker doesn’t necessarily hold it against Ole Miss for not being the first university to officially offer him a scholarship— that was Mississippi State.
“It’s not a big deal,” he said. “I think they were just waiting to see how I was growing as a person, my potential and how much I grew from year to year. I don’t really hold that against them. They’ve made it a clear point to me now that they seriously want me and that they think I’m the guy on defense, that missing piece.
“They have made it very clear.”
While it took Brown some time to garner recognition by recruiters as a legitimate talent, his ability has never been doubted by his high school coach, Tommy Browder.
During his sophomore and junior seasons for the Bearcats, Brown racked up 313 total tackles.
“Richie plays with just a high motor,” said Browder in an article published by the Clarion Ledger last week. “In my 35 years of coaching, I have never had a a player that tries to make every tackle. Even if it looks like it’s impossible to make, he’s still going to chase it until the very end. He’s like that every single down.”
Brown is in no rush to make his college decision.
“I don’t really have an exact (timetable), but probably after the season sometime I’ll have an idea of where I want to go,” he said. “I’ll probably take my senior trips and have a dead decision after that.”
Three schools appear to be the obvious leaders in the courtship of Brown, LSU, Ole Miss and Mississippi State.
“Mississippi State, they’re very intense,” he said. “They have stayed in heavy contact with me and were my first offer.
That kind of portrays the idea that they believed in me first, which I honor that. It’s a nice school and I’m getting to know them better as well, like Southern (Miss), Ole Miss and all the other schools.”
LSU: “Coach (John) Chavis was talking about how they’re graduating three linebackers and they’re going to be short on linebackers. That they have a few commits already isn’t really a big deal. They said I opened their eyes because they didn’t really believe that I was as fast as I claimed to be. I continue to go to places and prove my speed to different coaches. I ran a 4.4 (second 40-yard dash), a 4.1 shuttle, 38-inch vertical and almost a 10-foot broad jump.”
And Ole Miss?
“They’re very home atmosphere; they’re family, I can tell,” he said. “They’re very honest to their players and I can tell. Just talking with Coach (Terry) Price and Coach (Tyrone) Nix, he’s all about honesty. That’s a big thing with me. I like coaches that are going to be honest with me. When they say they’re going to use me, I can tell he means it. He wants to use me.”
While Brown has three obvious leaders at the present time, his mailbox could become stuffed in a hurry if he leads his classification in tackles for the third consecutive season.
Brown is considered a three-star prospect by both Rivals and Scout.com. (July 29, 2011, Page 8A)