Zach Brownell, a 6-0, 205-pound safety for the two-time defending Class 6A state champs, has an offer from a startup program and is hearing from other colleges.
"I am just working on football here at Prattville," he tells Inside the Auburn Tigers. "I am trying to focus on getting my speed up. My weight is basically fine."
Brownell notes that he ran a 4.6 40-yard dash this summer, but he isn't satisfied with that. "I would like to get it to a 4.5," he says.
As a junior, the safety made 50 solo tackles, intercepted three passes and blocked two punts on a team that was outstanding defensively last year and will likely be again this fall. "We want a three-peat," Brownell says. "Defensively, I think we will be better. We have a lot of guys coming back and should have a strong secondary. Offensively, we might struggle a little bit, but I think our defense will make up for that."
Brownell notes that he grew up a fan of Alabama and SEC football in general. However, he says that when it comes to recruiting he is keeping an open mind even though he has grown up in a family with other Tide fans, although his mother is an Auburn graduate. Asked if he has a favorite, he says, "Not really. All of them are really equal. I just want to play in the SEC."
If Alabama offers, is it a lock that he is headed to Tuscaloosa? "Not necessarily," he answers. "I want to do my own thing. I want to go ahead and see what the SEC has to offer. I just don't want to go there because my family likes it a lot."
Auburn has a one-day camp for prospects on Saturday, but Brownell isn't going to be able to make that trip because he will be participating in a seven-on-seven passing tournament that Prattville High is holding. He did go to a two-day camp at Auburn in June and was one of the more impressive players there. Brownell says the trip to AU was a good one. "I thought I did really well at the Auburn camp and made some plays," he points out.
"I went to the Alabama camp right before the Auburn camp and I went to the Vanderbilt camp. I liked them, too. I liked the Auburn camp the best though. I thought it was a lot more set up to let you show how good a football player you are."
Another thing he likes about the Tigers is linebacker coach James Willis, who Brownell notes is recruiting him as a prospect who could make the move from safety to linebacker in college.
"I like the Auburn campus," Brownell says. "I have got a lot of friends who go to school there. I really like Coach Willis--he is a cool guy. That is one of the main things there. After talking to Coach Willis, he is by far the coolest college coach I have met."
Brownell, who bench presses 280, has focused on football throughout high school, but notes he may play basketball as a senior. On the football field, he will be back in the secondary again this fall for the Lions. "I am just going to play safety," he says.