State’s No. 1 prospect shares info on Top 5

Lanier senior DT Derrick Brown is a major UGA target and the state's top overall prospect. (Mike Eden / Special to the AJC)

Lanier senior DT Derrick Brown is a major UGA target and the state’s top overall prospect. (Mike Eden / Special to the AJC)

Derrick Brown – the state’s top overall prospect – is on his way to Auburn for a visit this week. That will be worth watching. He’s only visited Tennessee and UGA this summer.

What did he tell the AJC this week that was even more interesting than that? The 5-star defensive tackle told the AJC this week that he will name his Top 5 at the start of his senior year.

“My Top 5 will be released when I release my official visits,” said Brown, who also noted that will take place at the start of his senior football season.

Which schools are in contention for those official visits? “Auburn, Tennessee, UGA, Alabama and then Florida State or USC (Southern Cal) are in contention for my final official visit.”

What are the chances of UGA being in that Top 5? Once upon a time, UGA was his leader. Brown told the AJC that  UGA will make his five favorites and he will definitely be Athens for the Alabama game, even if that does not turn out to be his official visit.

How does he feel about UGA after Dawg Night?

“I will always like UGA,” Brown said. “When it comes down to the end I feel like they can still be my school possibly. I am not going to be biased or anything like that. I like being able to go there and talk to the coaching staff with my parents. My parents also like the coaching staff up there.”

He does not let this “state’s top prospect” stuff go to his head. His parents keep him grounded.

“My parents don’t care about stuff like that,” Brown said. “They like where I am at and how hard I have worked to get here, but they treat me the same as my other siblings.”

5 things going on with Derrick Brown right now

Derrick Brown told the AJC he will release his five official visits prior to his senior season. (Michael Carvell / Special to the AJC)

Derrick Brown told the AJC he will release his five official visits prior to his senior season. (Michael Carvell / Special to the AJC)

1)      He has no idea what his decision would be if Signing Day was tomorrow – “I wouldn’t be able to sign with anyone because I have no idea,” he said.

Brown said he would need more time even though he’s “basically seen everything every school has to offer” by now.

2)      Things to know  — He will compete at the Army All-American Game. He doesn’t think he will make his commitment at that time and he will not enroll early. “I am going to finish out my senior year,” he said.

3)   He’s recovered from a slight ankle injury – Brown said that he hurt his ankle last Tuesday during a regular workout day at practice. He was doing 7-on-7 drill work and he was even in a walking boot at Dawg Night last weekend. His doctor cleared him on Wednesday to resume all regular activity

4)      He’s had a fun summer – What was the best memory he had of Dawg Night? He said he smoked UGA 5-star QB Jacob Eason in a golf cart “race” on the practice fields.

This wasn’t “Fast and Furious” or anything, but Brown noted that Eason did have 315-pound Ben Cleveland in his golf cart. That was to his advantage. Brown also said the chance to talk to some of the players stood out. “I was able to talk to some of the great top players that were there and hear what they think about UGA and why they maybe decided to go to UGA,” he said. “I wanted to hear what they had to think.”

Brown said he spoke to recent UGA signee Terry Godwin about his decision to enroll rather than sign to play professional baseball with the Atlanta Braves. Another highlight of his summer was working with NFL Pro Bowler Ndamukong Suh at The Opening.

“He was basically showing me the best way to shed a block,” Brown said.

5)      He’s a strong dude despite his 6-foot-4.5 frame – He aims to be both lift strong, but also strong on the field. His works his hands well and aims to always improve his first step off the ball and beat blockers off the line. His power clean is 335 pounds. He’s also bench pressing 325 pounds. He weighed 322 pounds at The Opening and is already down to 318 this week.

He can dunk a basketball and has just learned how to hit a golf ball. His drives are going far, but he’s working on the straight part.

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.

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