Bright Lights & Big City for Brown

BYU running back signee Mike Hague put up some amazing numbers last season, but he was not the most prolific ball carrier in Utah. That honor went to an unheralded back from the southeastern corner of the state. While this athlete gained most of his yards in obscurity, he hopes that his efforts in college will garner greater recognition.

The leading high school rusher in the state of Utah last season did not play for one of the Wasatch Front powerhouses. In fact, he came from a town known more for its world-class mountain biking and rock climbing than its football prowess. When Tanner Brown gained the last of his 2,026 rushing yards the entire student body of Moab, Utah's Grand County High School celebrated with him—all 472 of them.

"I had the most rushing yards in Utah," said Brown. "I had 20 touchdowns. I want to get another 2,000 yard season because I need 1,800 yards and then I will hold the career rushing yards in the whole state of Utah."

Brown's personal accomplishments are second only to his team's success. Last season Grand County won the state 2A championship. In order to reach the pinnacle of high school football success, the Red Devils had to get an 800-pound gorilla off their back.

"The San Juan Broncos were undefeated and we beat them in the state game," said Brown. "That is the first time we beat them in 18 years or something. We lost to them earlier in the season by two points."

With a state championship and the single season rushing title to his name, Brown is receiving plenty of recruiting interest. He has one solid offer already and several big name schools showing serious interest. Despite being the first school to offer Brown, BYU does not appear to have much a chance with the non-LDS 5-foot-10½ , 200-pound back.

"BYU has offered me a full ride scholarship and the University of Utah has not offered me one yet but they are talking about offering me," said Brown. "Boise State has talked about offering me and I have a coach down here that he knows some coaches from UCLA so we've been talking to UCLA. That's the main spot I want to go. If UCLA offers me, that's where I'm going to go. I've got letters from CU over in Colorado and they'll probably be my second favorite right now. I'm looking to get out of state."

The challenge for any small town prospect is getting colleges to see past the mediocre talent he faces. Few would question the skill of a running back who puts up 2000 yards and 20 touchdowns at the 5A level in Texas, but the same numbers do not get recruiters as excited when the come at the hands of 2A talents in a state like Utah. The measuring stick that college coaches will use to neutralize the strength of schedule factor is compare performances at camps and combines. Brown hopes that he can convince any skeptics that he is more than just good against weak competition.

"My best forty time is 4.5, I bench 275, I squat 380 and my vertical is 28," said Brown. "I am going to a camp at UCLA. I want to go to one in Colorado and Arizona State, but right now the only one that I am definitely going to is UCLA."

Brown has been compared to a great Chicago Bears running back of the 70s and 80s. He hopes that while at UCLA's camp, Bruin coaches see the "Sweetness" in him.

"A lot of people say that I am like Walter Payton because I'm quick and I like to make people miss, but I like contact too," Brown concluded.

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