Tommy Brown‘s first college football experience that he can remember was a tailgate at the Rose Bowl on Jan. 7, 2010. Alabama, his father Vince’s alma mater, was taking on Texas for the BCS National Championship in Pasadena, Calif.
Brown and his family were walking down the hill when the nation’s No. 12 offensive tackle in the Class of 2018 heard a phrase he was unfamiliar with at the time but is now ingrained into who he is today.
“Someone said, ‘Roll Tide’ to my dad. And I was just like, ‘What is that?'” Brown said. “My dad explained what Roll Tide meant, and that’s when I became an Alabama fan. It’s when I knew I wanted to play for them.”
Brown, a 4-star prospect from Mater Dei High School (Santa Ana, Calif.), announced his intention to play for his childhood favorite school on Friday during a visit to Tuscaloosa for the Champions Cookout.
He had been silently committed to Alabama since around Father’s Day, waiting until his father came back from attending the College World Series to make the decision. Brown’s brother, Dillon, plays for Cal State Fullerton.
The moment he told offensive line coach Brent Key and then Nick Saban himself was something Brown has always wanted ever since that day at the Rose Bowl.
“It was a surreal moment for me,” Brown said. “It took a lot for it to really sink in. When I first got the offer, I really couldn’t believe it. Telling them that I will be playing for Coach Saban and wearing the crimson is amazing. It’s pretty unexplainable, to be honest with you. I can’t really explain what it’s like when you make a dream come true.”
Despite growing up an Alabama fan, Brown said he actually “really struggled” with his decision on committing to the Crimson Tide. Oregon was the runner-up. The main reason why the Tide surpassed the Ducks had to do with player development.
“I want to make it to the [NFL] and Alabama has done that a lot more than Oregon has,” Brown said. “That’s what it came down to.”
The 6-foot-7, 313-pound prospect said he will continue to talk to Oregon co-offensive coordinator (and former Tide assistant) Mario Cristobal and will take an official visit there if Alabama is OK with it. That’s the only school he plans on talking to now that he’s committed to Alabama.
He’s planning on being an active recruiter for the Crimson Tide. The Tide want to add Brown’s teammate, 5-star 2019 quarterback JT Daniels, as a commitment.
“JT and I have been best friends since he got to Mater Dei,” Brown said. “I know what he’s thinking, and I know Alabama is in the mix for him. He’ll follow his heart, and I’ll be happy with wherever he goes.”
As far as what Brown wants to accomplish when he gets to Alabama, the Under Armour All-American wants to help the Tide win as many games as possible and doesn’t care what position he plays on the offensive line.
He’s already looking forward to suiting up for his first game.
“I can’t wait for that,” Brown said. “Just putting on that jersey as a recruit is amazing. When I saw that No. 75, I couldn’t really explain my feelings. It just brings goose bumps. I’m so excited to put it on for a game when I get there. It’s going to be amazing.”