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Thursday, March 21, 2013
Watch List DE talks about new offers

By Radi Nabulsi

ESPN Watch List defensive end Keyon Brown of Wauchula, Fla., knows which play helped put him on the radar of a major college programs. The fourth game of his junior year involved his Hardee Wildcats in a close game against the Sebring Blue Streaks.

“We were playing Sebring, and they threw a screen to the wide receiver,” Brown said. “I had gone in to try to get the quarterback, but he had already thrown it, so I went after the receiver over by the sideline. He was trying to shake somebody, I guess, but he cut back inside, and I was headed out, so I hit him hard and he fumbled. It was a big hit. Everybody just went crazy and started yelling. We recovered it; the receiver was hurt on that play.”

Hustle like that earned Brown double digit scholarship offers, with the latest one coming from Florida State.

“I talked to Odell Haggins recently, and he told me to keep calling him, but I didn’t really know what that meant,” Brown said. “Then today my coach told me they offered. I was surprised and excited. I will call them tomorrow. I think Florida State is a good school, and it is close to home. I will have to see how the recruiting process goes when I get over there and see how things are. I know they have a great defense, and their defensive line is outstanding. At least it was when [Mark] Stoops was there, so I will have to see how it is now.”

The 6-foot-3, 235-pound junior’s mother was happy for the offer from the Seminoles. Tallahassee is five hours from Wauchula, but that is much closer than most of the schools that have offered Brown.

“My mom was excited,” Brown said. “I mean she is excited about all the offers, but I think she was really excited about this one too. She said I should go wherever I feel comfortable. I know she would want me to go closer to home, but she says it is my decision and she won’t limit me to Florida schools.”

That last part will come as welcome news to the Georgia Bulldogs who also offered Brown recently.

“My coach told me to come to his office so I could make a call,” Brown said. “I talked to Coach [Mark] Richt, and he told me I had an offer to the University of Georgia. He told me that I fit perfectly in their defense and I would play outside linebacker like Jarvis Jones. He said that I would love the place and the surroundings and everything there.”

Brown said he had no preference between playing defensive end or outside linebacker.

“I figure most SEC schools are offering me as an outside linebacker,” Brown said. “The bigger schools want me as a linebacker, while the smaller ones want me as a defensive end. I think the SEC is the best conference. It has the most talent. But it won’t really affect my decision. I’m not going to rule anybody out but I do think it is the best conference.”

“Comfort with the coaching staff and the environment” will factor heavily into Brown’s decision, he said. The depth chart will also matter to an extent.

“I don’t plan on starting right away, but I don’t want to be last on the depth chart either,” Brown said. “Also, I will go to the school that has my major. I am not sure what it is yet, but I will decide on that before I decide on a school. My mother always taught me academics first, football second, so I want to pick a good school academically.”

The University of Florida offers well over 100 majors, but the Gators have yet to offer Brown, who grew up rooting for the men in orange and blue. That may change though.

“When I was younger I was all about Florida, Florida, Florida ... but now that recruiting has not really gone well with them, I really don’t have a favorite,” Brown said. “I went to a camp there one time, but I really didn’t talk to any of the coaches. I understood that because of how many people are there and how few coaches are there. But it is starting to pick up a little bit now. They say they are going to start recruiting me harder.”

The Gators could return to the top of Brown’s list with an offer, but in the meantime he has no favorites. He plans to take some visits to explore a few schools that have offered.

“I plan to visit Georgia, but I am not sure when,” Brown said. “I want to visit there and hopefully Tennessee and probably Clemson.”