Over four hundred athletes traveled to Ann Arbor Saturday for the annual Midwest Nike combine. While there were a number of notable performances, none may have been more impressive than that of Columbus, Indiana's Steve Brown. The four-year varsity starter already had a pretty good resume coming in. During his junior campaign he amassed had 1,700 yards of total offense while playing running back and receiver and racked up 30 solo tackles (including a number of big hits) on defense. Those stats were enough to earn an all-state selection.
At Saturday's combine, the athleticism that made him so successful was on full display. At 6-1, 200-lbs. he ran the forty in 4.39 seconds, had a 35-inch vertical, bench pressed 185-lbs. 24 times, and ran a 4.3 second shuttle. Brown already held offers from Indiana, Purdue, Illinois, Notre Dame, and Nebraska prior to the camp, but that list will surely grow after his showing Saturday.
One of the teams that could be next in line is the University of Michigan. Brown made the most of his time in town by taking the opportunity to speak with the Wolverines coaching staff the day before the camp. " I grew up watching Michigan and Charles Woodson all of the time," Brown said. "I took an unofficial visit to Michigan yesterday (Friday), and I talked with Coach Carr last night. He said they wanted to watch me today before offering."
There were scores of college coaches from all over the country in attendance. When they focused their attention on Brown, they definitely got an eyeful. He excelled in the defensive back drills; displaying excellent recovery speed and a nice break on the ball. On one occasion in the one-on-one drills, he jumped a quick slant for an interception, (one of the few times that was done all day). Brown, who stars on both sides of the ball in high school, could have just as easily worked out at one of the offensive positions and done very well. However, most of the teams are recruiting him for defense at this point…and he is aware of that.
Brown goes up for the INT
"I'll probably play safety," Brown said regarding where he'll play at the next level. "Ohio State is looking at me at running back and there are few others that see me at running back as well, but I think I want to play safety."
While playing time and position will be obvious considerations when making his final decision, Brown will also be taking a number of other factors into account. "I'll probably look at if they have my major," he said. "It will probably be communications. Then I'll look at if my parents will be able to come see me a lot. So far whenever schools have offered they've said that they would go there. I'll also see if I can get on the field soon."
Aside from his trip to Michigan, Brown has also visited Illinois, Indiana, Purdue and Notre Dame. Though he remains open at this point, the programs that stick out on his early list come from that group. "I don't have a favorite," he said, "but I'd say my top three at this point is Michigan, Notre Dame and Purdue."
GoBlueWolverine will have more from Brown in the coming weeks.