Lanier defensive tackle Derrick Brown is the state’s top-ranked prospect. He’s the No. 2 prospect in the nation according to the 247sports. Brown is also an uncommitted rising senior who recently announced he’ll join a host of Georgia boys at the Army All-American Game in January.
That name will be on heavy rotation around UGA recruiting for the next eight months or so. He’s 6-foot-4 and currently weighing around 309 pounds. His parents both hail from Mississippi. His mother went to college at Mississippi State, but the Bulldogs are just “kind of” among his Golden Corral buffet of options at this point.
There’s a lot of information out there, but here’s a few nuggets that might be of interest to recruiting fans who gather around the favored watering hole in their team’s town on National Signing Day each February.
5 THINGS YOU MIGHT NOT KNOW ABOUT LANIER DT DERRICK BROWN
1. He’s always said he will be a National Signing Day decision.
That may still be true, but Lanier coach Korey Mobbs recently told the AJC he could see him being a commitment after his senior season ends and not wait until National Signing Day.
“He’s been everywhere but I asked him about it the other day and his answer to me was he truly was still wide open with his decision,” Mobbs said.
Mobbs said that Auburn, Alabama, Georgia and Tennessee are currently recruiting Brown the hardest.
“His quick twitch reflexes for a big dude are what sets him apart,” Mobbs said. “That’s what everyone who evaluates him says first.”
2. His first offers came during his sophomore year, but it wasn’t any of those big schools mentioned above.
Mobbs said that East Carolina and Virginia were his first offers. Give those recruiters credit for seeing the skills first and putting their offers out on the table for a future All-American who can now power clean 335 pounds and also dunk a basketball.
There are very few teenagers walking the planet who belong to the club.
3. What’s his weakest strength?
Brown’s toolbox has a vast array of skills, but he can stand to improve his conditioning. He does get tired like just about every other behemoth on the line. We’re waiting to see the first evaluation that mentions the next big thing at defensive tackle that also runs for the varsity cross country team.
Chalk that up in the same ballpark as kicking the tires of the latest Lamborghini off the assembly line. He plays a “5” technique for Lanier in that program’s preferred 3-4 defense, but his ideal spot on Saturdays would be a “3” technique.
(TRANSLATION: For those that haven’t spent too much time on the defensive line lately, that means he lines up as a defensive end for Lanier on the outside shoulder of an offensive tackle. His best college spot would be as a defensive tackle on the outside shoulder of the guard. Don’t complain about the numbers. As the story goes, that’s how Alabama legend Paul “Bear” Bryant drew it up. Nobody has had the guts to change it since.)
4. His grades are good. Brown’s character is also blue-chip. No worries there.
Mobbs said he carries a 2.96 grade-point average in the classroom.
“He’s also part of our Student Leadership Team from a school standpoint,” Mobbs said. “We have what we call a Lanier Student Leadership Team. You have to apply for it and go through a process to be a part of it. I think the best qualities bout Derrick have to do with that. I think the worst quality with young guys today is they don’t know how to choose friends and who they should run with. Derrick has an impeccable ability to choose the right guys to hang around with. To me, that’s what might set him apart from other big-time recruits. Those guys might have some baggage. For him, he’s not a character issue at all. He’s a ‘yes sir’ and ‘no sir’ kid. Is he a typical high school kid? Heck yeah. But at the same time he might be one of the top recruits in the nation. He’s extremely easy to coach. He’s going to stay out of trouble and do the right things no matter what adversity comes his way. He’ll be successful regardless of what happens to him with football in college.”
5. Is he a big body project or can he really play?
There are some highly-rated defensive tackles that disappear in big games. Some of that might have to do with their two-gallon gas tanks of energy. Brown’s game doesn’t belong anywhere near those guys.
His recruiting snapshot offers more than just oodles of potential in regard to his size and agility. His production makes him a shoo-in for anyone’s All-America team. He had 17.5 sacks as a junior with 101 total tackles. Brown’s stat line included another 12 tackles for losses. Opposing teams doubled him, zone blocked him, ran away from him and also tried to read him. Yet when he wanted to he could absolutely annihilate double teams.
“When the lights are on and his team needs him, he’s there all day,” Mobbs said. “He will just have to learn to do that every play he’s on the field in college.”
Jeff Sentell covers UGA recruiting for AJC.com and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Follow him on Twitter for the latest on who’s on their way to play Between the Hedges.