Friday, April 5, 2013
CB Tony Brown enjoying two-sport life
By Max Olson
AUSTIN, Texas – Tony Brown simply makes it look easy.
The ESPN Watch List cornerback from Beaumont (Texas) Ozen did it again last Saturday at Texas Relays, blowing away the field in the 110-meter hurdles and reminding everyone why recruiting is one of the last things on his mind right now.
Brown entered the meet ranked No. 1 nationally in the event. Then he put up a blazing time of 13.38 seconds in the finals to establish a new Texas Relays record.
ESPN Watch List defensive back Tony Brown isn't worried about recruiting right now and wants to use all of his official visits in the fall.
He’s become so dominant in the 110 hurdles that the nation’s second-best time this year is 13.93. After running his prelims in 13.62 seconds, Brown grinned and said, “That was a real smooth race right there.”
The race to land one of the nation’s top defensive backs is a marathon, not a sprint. Brown isn’t talking about his top-five list right now. Though he’s still calling up college coaches every Saturday and Sunday to catch up, Brown admits that recruiting is not close to being his No. 1 priority right now.
After all this recent track success, he’s starting to realize the two-sport life he’s signing up for in college will be a consuming, 12-month endeavor. While most of his peers will devote their summers to finding out which college best fits them, Brown may put all his eggs in the track basket.
“Recruiting is not really a big deal right now, not until I get to official visits and track season is all the way over,” he said. “It’ll be a while before track season is over.”
That’s because Brown recently found out he’ll have the opportunity to try out for a spot in the Pan Am Junior Championships. If he makes the cut -- and his times suggest that shouldn’t be an issue -- he’ll spend the first week of August in Peru.
“It might be a track summer for me,” Brown said. “I’ve always loved track. Before you get into football growing up, you run. You run before you can hit. I was always running before I played any football.”
And that means Brown won’t be able to hit up many schools for visits this summer. He and his mother visited Texas last weekend while in town for Relays, but Brown isn’t getting serious about this process until official visits begin in the fall.
Those trips won't be reserved for just the out-of-state schools he hasn’t seen yet. Brown's five favorite programs will receive official visits. Right now, he doesn’t feel like he’s anywhere close to naming five or even 10.
The short list of schools he’s considering, he said, does include Texas, LSU, Texas A&M, Alabama, Florida State, Florida and USC, but many more are still in the mix.
Brown said he’s still “highly considering” Texas, and veteran secondary coach Duane Akina might not be the biggest reason he has the Longhorns high on his list. His lead recruiter is offensive coordinator Major Applewhite, and they’ve built up a strong bond over time.
“He’s real down to earth, real cool to be around. I could chill with him for a while,” Brown said. “I like that I can always talk to him about offense and make jokes with him about how I can get some offensive plays if I go there and what not.”
Brown knows wherever he goes, he wants to enroll early and he wants to run college track in the spring of 2014.
“My dad told me last year that’s how it was going to be,” Brown said. “When I get to college, I’ll have to be in shape because I’ll go from track to football to spring football to two-a-days. I’ll never be out of season. So I’m getting used to it.”
He worked football back into the regimen this week, after his track workouts. He’s back to drilling on coverage skills and footwork because he’s had this Sunday circled on his calendar for a while.
Brown will travel to Allen, Texas, for the Nike Football Training Camp. Thanks to his track schedule, he’s only looking to attend a few elite camps this offseason, and he expects The Opening to be one of them. He knows he can’t get there without a strong showing at the NFTC.
“I’m real pumped,” he said. “I haven’t done a lot of football stuff, so I have to get back on my football grind this week and see what it’s like again.”
Brown goes into this camp with a chip on his shoulder, and believe it or not, it’s all about his speed.
He was coming off a shoulder injury around this time last year and ran what he considered a brutally disappointing 40 time of 4.52 seconds.
After what he did at Texas Relays, it’s safe to say he can best that. And for all the time he’s been devoting to track, Brown can’t wait to get back to locking down receivers on a football field.
“We’ll see the real Tony Brown this Sunday,” he said.