Lineman taking his time

It's actually fairly late in the recruiting game for top prospects to be still completely undecided. But when your position specialty is the defensive line--and more importantly, you project as an academic qualifier--coaches tend to make allowances. <br><br>Neil Brown of Buford, Georgia says he'll take an official visit to Alabama this weekend.

Brown (6-1 ½, 248, 4.87) is a tad undersized for most line prospects, especially if defensive tackle is being discussed. But his on-the-field production speaks to his ability to get the job done.

During his high school career competing for Buford High School, Brown certainly got it done for the two-time state champion Wolves. As a junior he had 124 tackles, four sacks, two fumble recoveries, and one touchdown from his defensive tackle position. This past season Brown faced his share of double-teams, but still turned in 84 tackles (eight for a loss) and three quarterback sacks.

Certainly he'll need time to add some bulk in the weight room, but his athleticism (Brown was measured with a 31.8-inch vertical jump at the NIKE Camp) makes him a prospect worth signing.

The question is "With who?"

Brown has already taken official visits to Michigan State, Duke, North Carolina and Tennessee. Recently he took a one-day stop-over in Auburn to check out the Tiger program. Brown is clearly a young man searching for the best college fit.

Just yesterday he told Andrew Bone of, speaking of the schools he's considering, "They are all good academically and athletically. They are all pretty equal right now."

Not the biggest lineman out there, Brown nevertheless got the job done on the football field where it counts.

Spoken like a prospect still trying to make up his mind, which is what the Tide coaches are hoping will happen this weekend during his official visit to The Capstone. At this point it looks like Michael Brown (no relation), another D-Line prospect from Georgia, will not visit Alabama this weekend, which focuses even more attention on Neil Brown.

The Tide definitely a guaranteed slot still available on the defensive line. Most fans are hoping Lorenzo Washington will announce for Bama tomorrow and take it away, but don't be surprised if the Crimson Tide makes room for one more D-Linemen.

If so, then Neil Brown and Jeremy Jones would both be prime candidates.

In an earlier interview with Don Callahan of InsideCarolina, Brown talked about what he's looking for on official visits to schools.

"The atmosphere; you've got to like where you are at or you won't be able to focus," Brown said then. "The coaching staff; I want to go somewhere where hopefully I don't have to go through what some of the players at Duke or Nebraska had to go through with their head coach being fired.

"And the players; that is how I find out all the negatives, so I guess how I bond with the players."

Brown lives in Buford now, a suburb of Atlanta, but earlier he lived in North Carolina, which explains his interest in the Tar Heels and Duke. Tide assistant Paul Randolph is recruiting Brown for Alabama.

Numbers don't measure a player's heart, but Brown's relative lack of height for an SEC lineman has most projecting him at either guard (on offense) or defensive tackle.

According to an interview Brown gave to Adam Entrekin of Inside The Auburn Tigers, team unity and how well the athletes get along will factor into his decision.

"I come from a big close knit family," Brown told Entrekin. "And that is one of the things that I am looking for in a football program because I really don't want to go to school where you have got individuals. You know, you have got the quarterbacks and they don't talk to the D-Linemen and stuff like that."

Without question, Brown's impressions of Tuscaloosa and his player host will be key in possibly swaying him to Bama.

Neil Brown participated in last summer's NIKE Camp.

"(I'm looking at) the chemistry between the players," Brown said in yesterday's interview with Andrew Bone. "And I want to talk to the coaches and see how things work out."

Brown says he plans to major in Business at the college level, which should give Alabama and its stellar Business school an advantage.

Contrary to many defensive line recruits, Brown has no reported academic problems that would prevent him from qualifying.

RECRUITING NOTES: Alabama is allowed to bring in 19 new scholarshipped players this fall. The Tide is expected to sign as many as 25-26 players in February, anticipating that several will not become qualified. It's also possible that one or more players may be asked to delay entry into The University until the following January, counting against 2005 scholarship numbers, depending on how qualifying issues play out.

Read all of the recent recruiting stories on Alabama recruits from

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