Brown: Big-time Playmaker Commits to MSU

Lincoln High School in Tallahassee, Florida is known for producing some of the best football players in the nation. All you have to do is check NFL rosters and see how many former Trojans dot the rosters. After half a dozen Trojans signed D-I scholarships this past February, look for that many and maybe even more to sign next February. Linebacker Karlin Brown will definitely be among that group.

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"He committed to Mississippi State today," said Tony Collins, Lincoln's running backs/defensive ends/college liaison coach. "He had offers from LSU, Ole Miss, Kansas State, Iowa, Iowa State, Louisville, Illinois, South Carolina, UAB, South Florida, Kansas, Kentucky, East Carolina and Connecticut."

When asked what sold Karlin on Mississippi State, Collins simply said, "(MSU head coach) Sylvester Croom. And (MSU defensive coordinator) Coach (Ellis) Johnson."

Karlin expanded on why Mississippi State won out over all the other colleges that offered him a scholarship.

"I felt like the program would be a good fit for me. And playing in the SEC, that is big-time," said the 5-9, 205-pounder. "I talked to my dad today and he said if I felt like that was really where I wanted to go, then go ahead and go for it."

Was there any one thing that sealed the deal?

"The selling point was that they showed that they really want me. You always want to go where you are wanted," he said.

With so many offers on the table, Karlin obviously had a lot of selling points of his own that college recruiters liked.

"What the college coaches like about him is he goes the whole time, his hustle and how fast he is to the ball," said Lincoln defensive coordinator Yusuf Shakir, who was recruited by former MSU head coach Jackie Sherrill. "He is the heart and soul of our team because he has a motor that does not stop. The best way to describe him is he just goes. He is full-speed the whole time. And once he dissects (the play) and knows what it is, it's like he was shot out of a cannon. He's so explosive."

Coach Collins agrees.

"He runs through people. He is unreal. He's going to kill somebody," said Collins. "Coach Croom said he reminds him of (former NFL linebacker) Sam Mills. He said he's a faster Sam Mills. Both Mississippi schools were at our (spring) game. (Ole Miss head) Coach (Ed) Orgeron and Coach Johnson came in. Coach Johnson loved him. The coach at East Carolina said he was the greatest short player that he has ever seen."

Was Karlin born with that drive and hustle or did it come over time?

"My dad (Reginald Brown) said to take pride in whatever I do. I remember one time in the 9th grade we had a hard practice. And I wasn't sure if I wanted to do it, but my dad told me if this is what you want to do then you are going to finish it out," said Karlin. "From that point on, I have been working hard on the football field and making myself better."

And he's made himself so good that he's been starting for powerhouse Lincoln High since his 10th grade season.

"I brought him up his 9th grade year at the end of the junior varsity season and he played at the end of the year. Ever since then, he's been a starter," said Shakir. "(Last year) he led the team in big hits with 5. We classify it as a big hit when one of our kids hits a player and the player has to go out for the next play because they can't continue (in the game)."

The 5 "Big Hits" are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Karlin's stats. He also had 103 total tackles, ten tackles for loss, five sacks, four caused fumbles, three fumble recoveries, six quarterback hurries, two pass deflections and two interceptions (1 was run back for a TD).

In addition to his outstanding football talents, he also excels on his school's track and field team.

"He runs a (electronically timed) 10.71 seconds 100 meters. He runs the first leg of the 4x1 that won the state championship (in 2004) and Nationals (in 2005)," said Collins.

I would be remiss if I didn't mention that Lincoln is not only an outstanding football school, but they were also recently named the 80th best school in the entire nation by Newsweek. The ranking is based on how well high schools prepare their students for college.

A great football school and a great academic school: What more could a college coach ask for when looking for a student-athlete?

Gene Swindoll is the publisher of the Dawgs' Bite, Powered by website, the source for Mississippi State sports on sports network. You can contact him by emailing

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