When the Long Beach linebacker showed out at the Rebels’ elite prospect camp in June he was looking for an Ole Miss offer. He admitted in July that he was playing with a chip on his shoulder and believed he deserved more interest from colleges than he had garnered.
Fast-forward to last week, on the heels of a senior season in which he recorded an eye-popping 209 total tackles and three sacks, and it’s clear his attitude has changed.
Saturday was more about having fun now that Brown has collected 14 scholarship offers and has his choice of college destinations.
“It is business when it comes time to win the game, but I’ve already proved myself,” Brown said. “It’s just a lot of fun.”
Brown didn’t list leaders, but it’s clear who is atop his list.
“It’s probably going to come down to the Mississippi schools, LSU and Purdue or Vanderbilt,” Brown said. “Something like that. I’m going to take my senior trips and let everything settle down and then start narrowing down to make a decision soon.”
Brown has visits scheduled for Mississippi State and Southern Miss in January, and expects to also visit Ole Miss along with two other schools.
Brown had previously been considering Arkansas State in large part because of former head coach Hugh Freeze.
Because of the coaching change, the Rebels appear to have gained some momentum with Brown.
“He recruited me at Arkansas State. We have been talking and he made sure to call me right when he got hired and said, ‘we need to get you here. I’m going to do everything it takes,’” Brown said. “He’s been calling me every night. He means business. He has done a great job and is a great coach, that’s for sure.”
Asked if it was a good hire, Brown said it was.
“Ole Miss was starting to not be in contact with me as much I guess as their season was going along because they weren’t doing good and the coaching change,” he said. “They’re at full stride again.”
Brown added that he considers Freeze a good recruiter.
“He keeps in good contact and stands for God and that’s how he coaches his team,” Brown said. “I have a lot of respect for him.”
While Freeze’s hire appears to help the Rebels, Brown admitted the coach isn’t the most important aspect of the courtship.
“You really don’t know what coaches are going to do because there’s a possibility they could not be there in four years… wherever you go,” he said. “You can’t really look at that as much. You have to look at the program and how they’re doing and how the program is doing and the players and the younger guys on the team.”
No. 1 on Brown’s want-list is early playing time.
“All the schools pretty much that are staying in contact with me right now, they’re all talking about early playing time,” Brown said. “‘We really see you getting early playing time, it’s up to you how you do your freshman year.’ I’m not really worried about that with the schools that I have narrowed it down to.”
Brown has no definite timetable set for announcing his college choice.
“I’ll probably know before signing day, but I don’t know if I’m going to tell anybody,” he said. “I’m really pretty confused right now. There’s a lot of stuff going on. It’s real confusing for me. There’s a lot of changes going on here and there and I’m just trying to narrow it down. I really am trying, I don’t have a secret school in my head.”
Against Alabama, Brown registered a game-high 12 total tackles.
It was announced on Monday that Brown was named the Defensive Player of the Year for Class 5A. (December 13, 2011, Page 7)