July 10, 2012

Brown ready to see the Big Ten

Duluth (Ga.) Peachtree Ridge offensive lineman Orlando Brown is one of the biggest 2014 recruits in the country - both literally and figuratively. The son of the former NFL lineman of the same name, he stands 6-9, 375 pounds, and hasn't even played his junior year of high school ball yet. He also holds offers from some of the best football programs in the land. Clemson, Georgia, Notre Dame, USC, and Wisconsin are among his dozens of offers.

Brown has already seen some of the schools that have extended him an offer, taking unofficial trips to Alabama, Auburn, and Florida earlier this summer. After that mini-tour of the SEC, he's ready to see what the Big Ten has to offer. He'll have an opportunity to do just that this weekend, when he heads North to see Columbus and Ann Arbor.

"Michigan is actually my last one this summer," he said. "I'm taking a visit to Ohio State on Friday, so those are my last two. I want to see a little bit of [what I saw in] the SEC and maybe a little bit more. You know, every conference is known for something. I want to find what the Big Ten is known for."

The SEC has had an on-field advantage in the past several years, with teams from that conference winning the past six BCS National Championships. The high-profile teams from other conferences, however, still earn the same cachet that is bestowed upon the likes of Alabama and LSU. Michigan is one of those teams that still demands a high level of respect.

"Of course the SEC is the best right now," Brown said, "but with a school like Michigan, you kind of get the same respect of an SEC school. With a strong fanbase, home-field advantage with the Big House and stuff like that. It's not too far down the stream."

Michigan's name recognition isn't the only thing that is keeping the Wolverines near the forefront of Brown's mind. He's well aware of the legacy of offensive linemen heading from Ann Arbor to the NFL, a heritage that includes the likes of Steve Hutchinson and Jake Long.

According to Brown, that should be a factor that every recruit keeps an eye on during the recruiting process. If the ultimate goal is to get to the NFL, the schools with the best chance of getting you there should get a boost.

"That's definitely pretty big," he said. "That should be big for any recruit: do they get a lot out of your position. That's just my opinion. If I'm a corner and I wanted to play at a college, it would be somewhere like maybe LSU because they've got Tyrann Mathieu, they've had Patrick Peterson and Morris Claiborne. That's definitely a factor."

A few other factors will also come into play for Brown, and they're things he'll be able to evaluate on his visit this weekend.

"I like the fact that they're a winning team," he explained. "Michigan, they like to run the ball, and I like run blocking.

"They've got the No. 1 incoming recruiting class right now and I like that. Playing with those guys is not really a huge factor to me, but it definitely shows something when you have a lot of verbal commits before Signing Day."

If the Michigan coaches have their way, the big, talented Brown could be a player who gets the ball rolling on a 2014 class that lives up to the standard of 2013.

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