- Gerry Hamilton, RecruitingNation
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In the 100 days leading up to signing day 2015, RecruitingNation will be looking back at our ESPN recruiting rankings from 2006 to the present and counting down the best player of the past 10 years at each ranking position, No. 100 to No. 1.
DeAndre Brown, No. 23 in 2008 class
Brown came out of Ocean Springs High in Mississippi as one of the most gifted athletes in the country in the 2008 class. He chose Southern Mississippi in January 2008 over LSU and Ole Miss due in large part to new head coach Larry Fedora and the offensive scheme that he planned to put in place.
Brown did exactly what many thought he would do as a freshman, showing his high-ceiling talent to the tune of 67 receptions for 1,117 yards and 12 touchdowns in earning Freshman of the Year in Conference USA and various Freshman All-America honors before suffering a broken leg in the 2008 New Orleans Bowl.
He tried to return to form as a sophomore in 2009. He played in 11 games, including three starts, and hauled in 47 receptions for 785 yards and nine scores.
The 2010 season would be Brown’s last in Hattiesburg, however. Brown again battled injury, missing parts of seven games, and caught 20 passes for 305 yards, including a seventh career 100-yard receiving game.
Brown chose to forgo his final season of eligibility, but went undrafted in the 2011 NFL draft despite a stellar frame at 6-foot-6 and 239 pounds, and sub 4.5-speed with excellent change of direction.
Since that time, Brown has bounced around in the NFL and the Arena Football League.
Honorable mention: Max Redfield, No. 23 in 2013 class. Redfield picked Notre Dame out of Mission Viejo High in California. After playing as a reserve as a freshman, the versatile safety became a full-time starter in 2014, making 68 tackles to go with one interception.
Brown came out of Ocean Springs High in Mississippi as one of the most gifted athletes in the country in the 2008 class.