BUFORD, Ga., – Derrick Brown has long towered over his competitors, whether it’s on the football field or in recruiting. He does the same when he’s playing basketball.
The five-star defensive tackle from Lanier High School (Buford, Ga.) was clearly one of the most physically dominant players during practice on Wednesday. That’s saying something considering the 6-foot-4, 317-pound prospect has spent as much time closing out his high school football career as he has working on hoops.
Brown has had official visits to take and all-star events to participate in over the past few weeks. That doesn’t affect what his head basketball coach thinks of the No. 4 defensive tackle in the nation and top prospect in Georgia. Lanier basketball coach Jeremy Huckaby has seen enough to know Brown is talented, and that has nothing to do with his notable girth.
“He’s got unbelievable hands,” Huckaby said. “He catches everything. He rebounds, especially offensively. Once he gets in the post, you’re not going to move him.”
That handiwork should help Brown when he’s facing off against top-flight, college offensive linemen. Lanier’s coaches have tried to even the playing field — or court — for Brown. It doesn’t matter. However they breakup rebounding drills, Brown’s group always wins.
“Since his freshman year, his hands always stood out to me because he catches everything,” Huckaby said.
If Brown wasn’t such a highly sought after football prospect, he’d have a future in basketball, although not quite as publicized. When senior football duties didn’t tie him down last season, Brown averaged over a dozen points and about eight rebounds per game and threw down more dunks than his coaches can remember. However, the gridiron was always his calling.
“He’s always been a football guy, ever since his freshman year, he saw where that was going to take him,” Huckaby said.
Brown’s football prowess can take him anywhere he wants to go in college. Brown maintains he’s down to Alabama, Auburn, Georgia, and Tennessee. Mississippi State, where his parents once attended was a factor but they seem to have slipped by the wayside.
“I went down there because I felt like going down there,” Brown said. “My parents didn’t push me to do that. At the end of the day, I felt completely at home. We’ll see how it works out.”
State coach Dan Mullen isn’t giving up. He visited with Brown on Monday. Tennessee coach Butch Jones was in town on Wednesday and Georgia coach Kirby Smart is scheduled to visit with Brown on Thursday. Brown is set to take his final official visit to Tennessee before making his decision on Monday and announcing that decision on National Signing Day during a press conference at his school.