Derrick Brown’s official visit dates haven’t been finalized but they’re coming into focus.
The 5-star defensive lineman from Lanier High School (Ga.) will take his final three official visits to UGA, Tennessee and Auburn in January. That will give those schools some final face time before Brown signs his letter of intent on National Signing Day in February.
“Those will be in the weeks leading up to signing day,” the 6-foot-4, 318-pound prospect said.
As he’s said before, his other two official visits will be to Alabama and Mississippi State. As for the dates, he’s still unsure.
Brown’s list of suitors is an eclectic mix. There’s the in-state school (UGA), the school with the strongest ties, the most successful program in the SEC (Alabama), an up-and-coming program (Tennessee) and one that has mastered recruiting relationships (Auburn). Yet throughout his recruitment, one team has had the inside track to the Brown family’s heart.
“My parents both went there,” Brown said of Mississippi State. “When my parents had me they were still in college. That’s got me feeling them more than anything.”
Those ties still run deep in the Brown household.
“In my house, even now, recruiting or not, my dad is still going to watch the Mississippi State game regardless of anything,” Brown said.
That hasn’t been enough to keep other teams away, particularly UGA, which has made a hard press on Brown throughout his recruitment. So much in fact that 247Sports.com’s Crystal Ball has Brown predicted 100 percent to sign with UGA. No other team has received a vote from the assembled media.
“Being in the state, I understand ‘Home state! home-state team!’, but I’m from Mississippi,” Brown said. “Mississippi State, that’s my highest. That was my No. 1 school growing up. That’s my favorite.”
Of course, Brown didn’t mean his favorite in recruiting. He may have a cowbell handy, but he knows this decision can’t be based on emotion alone.
“It’s business,” he said. “You’ve got to do what’s right for you.”
When asked if he had ever been close to committing to State, Brown said, “Not really but I’ve definitely built a strong relationship with the coaching staff down there now.”
Location and familiarity give UGA and Mississippi State inherent advantages, respectively. That leaves Tennessee, Alabama and Auburn with the most ground to makeup.
When asked about the Vols, Brown said, “Just the environment. It just a different feeling when you get up there.”
Brown said the relationship between his parents and Auburn’s coaches is the main draw for the Tigers. The interest in Alabama is obvious given its recent run of success.
“I mean that’s a winning tradition down there,” Brown said. “I feel like I’m one of those guys that’s able to go to that school and perform like those guys.”
Brown chose not to shut down the recruiting process early and commit to his childhood favorite team. Smart move.
“I’ve opened my eyes up to them,” he said of other schools, “and they’ve been great to me.”