Derrick Brown is the best high school football player and prospect in Georgia. The recruiting rankings say that. The film definitely says that. Especially because he plays a premium position on the defensive line.
In short, he’s the kind of player that a powerhouse recruiting staff doesn’t let get out of its state. Yet that’s what now appears to be happening. Google around the web. Check out the recruiting websites and their predictions.
They are all in line with DawgNation.com’s current prediction. Brown will likely sign up to play college football at Auburn.
What does Mr. Brown think about all that Auburn stuff?
“I feel like people are trying to guess and see where I’m going,” Brown told SEC Country on Wednesday. “But they’ll see where I’m going (next) Wednesday.”
247sports.com’s Keith Niebuhr reported on Thursday morning that Brown’s Top 3 does not even include UGA.
The recruiting experts on 247sports.com’s Crystal Ball feature had 100 percent of the predictions going to UGA through the end of 2015. But over the last month, there have been seven more predictions on where Brown ends up.
Auburn was the pick on six of those occasions, including five straight predictions to Auburn over the last 32 hours. When taking into account Brown was just coming off his official visit to UGA, it is a telling trend. That is six trees falling in the forest and everyone was around to hear and see them on TMZ-level event.
UGA should have been gaining momentum after his official visit, not surrendering it.
So Brown is trending to Auburn. Time to inhale. Exhale. Deep breaths.
Does UGA still have a chance? That answer is yes. The better question is what good will another UGA push do?
Brown told SEC Country’s Dave Hooker on Wednesday that UGA coach Kirby Smart was coming for an in-home visit on Thursday night. That’s a strategical slot given that it sets up as the last time one of his finalists can go face-to-face with Brown prior to his last official visit to Tennesee this weekend.
That visit juts up right next to a quiet period on Sunday night followed by a dead period.
Anyone who laid eyes on the many things the 6-foot-4, 320-pounder can do will chalk up Brown leaving the state as a major blow to the ridiculous momentum for UGA football since Smart arrived. He was a constant force along the Lanier High School front the last two years with ridiculous stats.
Is he a can’t-miss prospect? No. It is more like: Does the NFL come calling in three or four years?
The 5-star defensive tackle caught a touchdown pass, played fullback, lined up as a “Wildcat” quarterback and even came away with a Pick-6 on defense. The U.S. Army All-American was named the National Defensive Player of the Year at the Army Bowl awards gala this month.
Can UGA recover? It doesn’t seem that way now. There’s a reason why Brown kept taking all those visits to UGA during the regular season when he had every reason to go to Alabama, Clemson, Florida or LSU. Sunny days. Rainy days. He kept making that trip to Athens.
Maybe that was because of the relationship he had with Mark Richt? That’s one theory.
Smart’s got some work to do and basically one last shot to make it happen on Thursday night.
Brown is set to announce his choice live at 3 p.m. next Wednesday on ESPNU.
Unless otherwise indicated, player rankings and ratings are from the 247Sports Composite.
Jeff Sentell covers UGA football and 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.