Thursday, October 31, 2013
Brown emerges as highly coveted lineman
By Blair Angulo
LOS ANGELES -- In a battle to remain motivated, nothing proved more essential for offensive lineman Chris Brown (Los Angeles/Loyola) than patience and confidence.
Mere hope wasn’t necessarily comforting, but panicking would have done him no good.
Brown looked on while other prospects at his position picked up scholarship offers by the box load, earned invitations to prestigious camps and booked trips to top-flight programs. He wondered when he would receive the same attention. It would have been easy to question his place among the area’s top recruits and grow discouraged when his cell phone gathered dust, yet Brown carried on with an optimistic attitude.
Then, after his midseason highlight tape was sent out to programs, the big break arrived in the second week of October by way of a USC scholarship offer.
Chris Brown already has an offer from USC, and other schools are now paying attention.
Word quickly spread and, before the unheralded prospect knew it, the likes of Oregon, Texas A&M and UCLA had called, too.
“Once the USC offer came out, the articles started to come and word started to get out,” said the 6-foot-6, 290-pound Brown, who received a four-star rating from ESPN this week. “It definitely sparked it.”
The first local offer was an important one for Brown, who had attended a number of USC games at the Coliseum as a fan. Shortly after picking up the offer from the Trojans, he was on campus checking out practice and getting a feel for assistant coaches James Cregg and Mike Summers.
“I’m definitely interested,” Brown said. “It’s a pretty high interest, but I’m considering every option right now. I haven’t had a lot of time to sit down and really think about it because I’m trying to finish out this senior season strong and get into the playoffs. But I’m definitely considering [USC] very highly.”
Most schools, including USC, are recruiting Brown at offensive tackle. The Trojans have commitments from two recruits at that position: ESPN 300 member Jordan Poland (La Jolla, Calif./Country Day School) and three-star prospect Jordan Austin (Claremont, Calif./Claremont). They also hold a verbal pledge from ESPN 300 guard Toa Lobendahn (La Habra, Calif./La Habra) and are in a heated battle for the state’s top-rated lineman, Damien Mama (Bellflower, Calif./St. John Bosco).
Brown has quickly gone from a virtual unknown to ranking No. 2 among offensive tackles in California, behind only Poland.
“I know the bigger guys had offers coming into the season, and it was a little bit discouraging,” Brown said. “I didn’t know where I was going to go, but my coaches told me to trust what they were doing and what they were telling me. I tried to get better every day, and it’s working out so far.”
Brown has set up official visits to Texas A&M (Nov. 9) and Oregon (Nov. 16), and is open to planning three more. USC figures to get one of those.
“I like that it’s close, I like their program and coaches right now,” he said. “The situation with the coaches is a little sketchy right now, so I’ll have to see how it pans out. I definitely want to see what happens with that.”
As for a decision timeline, Brown intends to choose a school following the high school season, perhaps in January in the weeks leading up to national signing day.
“It’s definitely overwhelming with everything happening in such a short amount of time,” Brown said. “But it’s definitely exciting knowing I have options and can play football in Division I.”
Chris Brown can thank his patience and confidence for that.