A Father's Tale

Richard Brown is his son's biggest fan. Like most father, Richard wanted to ensure that his son, Richie, got the opportunity to showcase his talents in hopes of finding the right college fit. Two years and nearly two dozen scholarship offers later, Richie signed on with Mississippi State. Looking back over the process, the Browns have no regrets.

Richie Brown profile

"The plan did change as the discovery part of the process came along," said Richard. "That's really about going to camps as a junior and even before that we went to some of the freshman things that were available.

"The first thing we ever went to was a freshman break in thing we went to at USM.

"Along the line there are certain points where you do a little more studying. When you are a sophomore or junior, you look at the other guys and see how they dealt with things in recruiting.

"You take some notes and you say I am not sure that's really the best way to go about things.

"If you really want to get to know a University, you really need to take as much time as you can.

"It's like dating. I know that is not a new analogy to anybody, but it is like dating.

"During that process, you get to peel the onion back and you get to know the coaches a little bit.

"You get to do camp and they get to know us by performance and we get to see more of them.

"When you get to take the official visit, you get to see more of them and see how they interact with the players.

"You get a feel about what kind of family they are and like Richie says you get to see what the culture is.

"Richie really stuck to that and we had regular family meetings to discuss how things were going and things we needed to do.

"We talked about what blanks we needed to fill in about this school or that school.

"It just so happened that in this process, Mississippi State filled the bill."

Richard said from the beginning that the ultimate decision would be Richie's, but as his father he wanted to assist him in getting as much information as possible in hopes of making the most educated decision.

"As a family, we were never torn," said Richard. "His mother and I, his family, guided the process, but not the processes of the heart.

"That was Richie's department.

"Things really got an exclamation point once we took our official visit to Mississippi State.

"I believe Richie kind of knew before then. He had been up there several times and he got to know Coach Collins and Coach Mullen, Coach Wilson and other staff like Coach Balis.

"When they talked to him about everything they told him how hard the work was going to be.

"We questioned him on that and asked him if he was willing to do that hard work. Knowing he has a good work ethic, it's still the next level.

"It's not high school anymore. Things in high school move a lot slower.

"In these last couple of weeks we could really just see that Richie was in love, if you will.

"After the weekend we spent there and getting to meet the President and his wife, I guess you could say it was like a great fourth date."

Things got a little tense late in the process as signing day loomed large for all interested parties.

Richard was careful not to mistake any urgency as disrespect.

"I believe that all coaching staffs at each institution loves themselves the best," said Richard. "I know they are going to give all they can.

"I believe that is a reflection of how they are going to coach and how they are going to approach football.

"If they are intense about it, even to the point of being a little obnoxious, that is okay. It just means that their heart is sold out to it.

"We respect that. Even when our steerings were self evident, some stayed after it. I have to respect that."

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