Maryland secured a commitment from East Paulding (Dallas, Ga.) three-star receiver Jalen Browder Oct. 23, and afterwards we spoke to his head coach, John Lindsey, to gain more insight into the 6-foot-3, 185-pounder. Our question-and-answer session with Lindsey is below:
Terrapin Times: First question Coach, I spoke to Jalen before his visit to Maryland, and he gave no indication he was going to commit. He insisted he wanted to take multiple officials. Then three days later he ends up committing. Were you surprised with his decision?
John Lindsey: Yeah, I really am. I would have recommended taking more visits. I was really shocked. He got hurt earlier this year, and him and I haven’t talked as much since he was basically done for the year after he got hurt. But I did talk to him [Oct. 24] about his decision, and I was kind of surprised. But, you know, he felt good about [the commitment]. And I told him, ‘Well, if you feel good about it, I feel good about it.’
TT: And what was the main reason he gave you for why he felt good about it? He told me it just felt like home there...
JL: Yup, he told me it felt like it was home. Those were his exact words. And I told him, ‘Well, I can’t argue that then. That’s where you should be.’
TT: You mentioned Jalen's injury. What happened, what was the injury, and did he even play this year?
JL: He got hurt the second game of year, and he actually tore ligaments in his thumb and had to have surgery. It healed up fine, but obviously not enough to allow him to come back. It hurt us bad. We didn’t really have a deep threat or a guy we could put on the perimeter. It changed our season, to be honest with you. But he’s back, healed up fine now, and he should be set to go in the next couple weeks back to 100 percent.
TT: Do you think that's the reason some of his major SEC suitors backed off some?
JL: Maybe so, maybe so. But he’s a fantastic player. We had a lot of people coming through and he’s had a lot of offers. Ability wise, he can play at any level. He’s got the height, the speed, the hands – all those tools you look for. He didn’t have the senior year he was capable of due to injury, and that’s unfortunate. But at the college level, he can play for anybody in the country.
TT: What does he bring to the table as a receiver that makes him special? What separates him?
JL: Jalen has the whole combination. He’s 6-2 and built long. His arms, to me, are longer than 6-2. He runs well, he’s got great open speed, he’s got agility, great change of direction. Plus, he has the ability to go up over people and he can make the really tough catches. That’s a big bonus for him. He’s got all the tools you look for -- height, speed, hand-eye coordination.
TT: And what are some things he needs to work on to be ready for Big Ten ball?
JL: Maturity-wise, he has to grow up some. He has to keep working up to that leadership role and being that go-to guy colleges look for. And I think he was on his way to doing that this season, but getting hurt sidetracked it.
TT: What's Jalen like around his teammates? What's he like character-wise in the locker room and off the field?
JL: He’s a little more subdued. I wouldn’t consider him an eccentric or rah-rah guy. He’s not dead in the locker room, but he’s a little more laid back in the locker room.
TT: And he plays basketball too right? Did he play both hoops and football his whole life, or was basketball his main sport growing up?
JL: He’s played both his whole life. He’s a good basketball player too. But him and I had a talk, and at 6-2, you’re a dime a dozen with basketball. But as a 6-2 receiver or DB, you’re a rarity, especially with the speed and hands you have.
TT: Question about Maryland. Coach [Chris] Beatty came down to recruit Jalen and I believe Walt Bell was down as well. What was your relationship and thoughts on the Maryland staff?
JL: I hadn’t talked with them a whole lot; I talked to them a little bit when they came down in the spring. But, honestly, Jalen’s film speaks for itself. The days of a high school coach having to sell your ability and stay in touch with college coaches, with the way film is now, that’s over. The things I’m going to talk about are your character, work ethic and how you carry yourself. I shared with the Maryland coaches character things and things about work ethic, and the film took care of the rest.
TT: Last question coach, does Jalen remind you of another receiver at the college or NFL level just to give fans a visual?
JL: That’s really tough. Not getting to see him as much his senior year makes it even tough. I will say this about Jalen, and this is the most impressive thing about him: He will go over the middle and catch a football, and you don’t see that a lot. If you weigh 220, 230 pounds, yeah, you’ll see that. But he’s 180, and he’s going over the middle. He has no problem going overtop linebackers to catch balls. I don’t know who you’d compare that to, but that, to me, is the best gift he has.