New California wide receiver commit Erik Brown is, according to our regional analyst Greg Biggins, "one of the most polished receivers in the west," and for good reason.
Brown beat Bryce Treggs in a 100m race as a sophomore, according to his coach Armond Hawkins, and while he didn't run the 100 this past spring, he clocked a 21.45 200m, concentrating on the longer race so as to not put too much pressure on his body for the all-important seven-on-seven circuit, where he excelled for Ground Zero.
"Cal being a good fit for Erik, outside of education, they throw that ball, point blank and simple," says Hawkins. "I think if you're a running back, yeah, it's OK to go to Cal, but if you're a receiver, that's your No. 1 destination. The bottom line is numbers. The NFL looks at numbers, so if he wants to go to the NFL, you're talking about getting numbers, and getting them at Cal."
This season, Brown has rushed 24 times for 72 yards and one touchdown, and has caught 34 balls for 619 yards.
"What makes Erik a good fit for them is, that's' what he does: Catch the ball," Hawkins says. "He catches it in all kinds of awkward angles. He's probably a 6-8, 6-10 high jumper. He can jump. He's got hands like Kenny Lawler, he can run faster than Treggs and is more acrobatic than everybody on the team. That's what they're getting."
On the seven-on circuit, Brown proved to be a truly dominant player, though that hasn't translated onto the high school gridiron, despite his physical gifts. Part of that can be due to the fact that Fontana (Calif.) Summit has been in the midst of breaking in a new quarterback as well as a new system in which he's not the featured receiver.
"He's a dynamic player," says Hawkins. "He's an acrobatic receiver, has great speed and jumping ability."
As a junior, Brown caught just 21 passes, but averaged 14.52 yards per grab with three touchdowns. As a punt returner, he tallied 197 yards as a sophomore, while this season, he's taken back eight kickoffs for 151 yards and 14 punts for 173 yards. That talent to make people miss will serve him well as he breaks in to the Cal lineup perhaps first on special teams.
Brown is a smooth route runner with deceptive speed and the athleticism to out-leap smaller defensive backs, at 6-foot-1 ¾, 175 pounds.