Aaron Brown: The Saga continues

If it's just a few offers, the recruiting process can be easy and mostly enjoyable. If it's 40 and counting, it's decidedly more complex. The slogans you get from coaches, the actual keeping track of visits, offers and letters, it's all a bit overwhelming. And, in the case of offensive lineman Aaron Brown, that's for his father. Perhaps even he didn't realize what it was going to be like, but he sure does now and that is both bad and good.

As a parent of a popular recruit, George Brown has taken it upon himself to shoulder the heavy load that the younger Brown would have had to endure in regards to phone calls, letters and evaluation visits from coaches around the country.


A few months ago, that probably wouldn't have seemed like that daunting of a task, but forty offers later, even the elder Brown is admitting that the process itself is amazing. "It's been unreal," George said of the attention. "I don't know when, but we just stopped trying to keep track of the offers, because I just can't count them all anymore."


That's saying something as George has held various roles, not just as Aaron's father, but the person that acts as the mediator between the continuing onslaught of attention from coaches, reporters and recruiting analysts.


Not just a couple of months ago, George knew exactly who had offered, when and if they were going to take a visit there, possibly over the summer.


Now? Not so much.


"At this point, we aren't worried about anyone new coming in, because it's hard enough keeping track of those recruiting him right now," George said. "I mean, this kid has had over 20 coaches come to the school just in the last two weeks."


George isn't trying to keep track of everything, but he's still managing to keep track of those visiting the school and even those yet to come in. "I know Charlie Weiss from Notre Dame and Ron Zook came in on Tuesday, he said. "And, Miami is coming in on Wednesday and Nebraska is coming either the second or third week of this month."


Brown admitted a little surprise to Notre Dame, not because they got into the recruiting of his son, but the fact that it came when it did. But, he did say that in a short time, the Irish have made it fairly obvious that they are bringing out the big guns to do it. "Charlie Weiss came down himself, so that says something about how much they want Aaron," he said. "But, at this point, you better be serious about it or that's just not going to cut it."


George recalled a conversation he had at one point, which basically consisted of the seriousness of schools and their recruiting towards his son. George would chuckle at the idea, wondering if any school recruited anyone they wanted in a lackadaisical manner.


"What are you doing if you aren't serious about a recruit you are going after?" Brown said. "There isn't one school out there that has to be more serious than another about recruiting my son."


"I'm not saying my son is all that, but if you are ANY school going after the top recruits, you have to do the whole thing. You have to write the letters, make the phone calls when you can and basically, stay in touch. If you don't do that, you are going to get left behind the ones that do."


Some of you reading this are going to think of the elder Brown that he's perhaps too involved, perhaps a little too much a part of the process. George would counter that with the obvious circumstances of just the enormity of the offers and the fact that he wants his son to do well in school. Also and unfortunately, sometimes, it's better when dad does the talking, because as he learned, you never know what can happen.


"My son did an interview some time ago and he was talking about how last year, he was at 217 and now, he's right around 290," George said. "Well, it wasn't last February that he was talking about when he was 217, but the February before that."


"Well, that comes out like Aaron said, and they put that on the internet and everyone starts talking about how he must be doing steroids. I was like ‘yeah, right'."


You'll have to forgive George's confusion at the fan's confusion, especially since the actual dates were mixed up as to when Aaron was indeed 217 before his physical explosion began. But, to infer the use of a substance that has become almost the talk of every major sport there is, he was a little upset.


However, and this may or may not be common knowledge that this point, the elder Brown is a personal trainer. Add to that, he has an annual camp he runs each year for youths that runs from June to late August.


In addition what he knows about putting on weight, fast, but efficiently, well, it's part and parcel of his job, but he'd be the first to tell you it's just not that complicated. "If you take in your protein and eat six meals a day, if you work out hard and lift weights, you can put on ten pounds in a month," he said.


"My son lifts regularly, works out hard, gets in 4,000 calories a day and does everything he needs to do to put on the size he's got right now. So, don't tell me about steroids, because, if you are thinking he's doing it, then you must think every kid out there is doing it to."


"If you were to do everything I told you to do, how I told you to do it and had the right diet, you can change your bodily dramatically and it doesn't take five years to make it happen."


Being the chief influence in his son's life when it comes to personal training, George has obviously done that for Aaron, the Princeton high star now standing at 6 foot, 6 inches tall and weighing 290 pounds and as his father said proudly about Aaron, that I can't think of any lineman off the top of my head, Aaron has a flat stomach to boot.


As George said, however, when it comes to the internet, people will say just about anything and everything and he's simply trying to take it in stride. "I was insulted by that, but I know that's people talking, just because they like to talk," he said. "I know what my son does, how he does it and how hard he works, but some of these people don't know anything about that, so they just say some stupid stuff."


What some uninformed or just plain ignorant fans say is one thing, but the 40-plus offers says something else entirely. But, within that ever-growing collection, there has to be a few schools that may not stand out as favorites to them, but even George himself will acknowledge for their persistence in the recruiting of his son.


That's what he's looking for, teams that want his son and will go to the lengths needed to make sure the family knows it as well, so Brown had no reservations about giving credit where it was due. "I can tell you Ohio State, Florida, Miami, they have been around the longest and have been recruiting the hardest," he said. "Of course, you have to realize, that stuff changes in about a day."


"Now, Nebraska, they write Aaron the most. Out of every school, Nebraska writes more than any other. They send a letter from every single coach, every week and they are all hand-written. Nobody else in the country is doing that, none."


"You know they want him and when a school does stuff like that, we have to go make a visit there at some point to see what it's like."


George mentioned Oklahoma as another school that they would like to visit over the summer, because their recruiting of Aaron has picked up considerably as well.


The funny thing about visits, though, and this is talking about when Aaron makes a visit to another place, the guidance of his father comes in clearly, because he realizes something we all know and that it usually takes the parent to make sure the recruit knows the difference between "want" and "need".


"When my son talks about why he likes a school, I say that he can stop right there,"  George said. "It's not about what you like, because "like" will get you in trouble."


"I tell him to look for what fits him, look for a school that has a place for him, has a good graduation rate and will care about him as a person the entire time he's there."


"Heck, if a school hits all that and Aaron says that's where he wants to be, if it's Hawaii, hey, my son is going to Hawaii."


"It doesn't matter how involved I am, because I don't want Aaron to go where I want him to go. I just want to make sure that he knows where he wants to go and why."


Ok, what Aaron's dad wants is probably what all parents want or should want, anyway. They want to know that their son is going to a place that will help them as much as the coaches say he can help the team. That place will be one where he learns more off the field than he does on it. And, it's going to be a place where the day he leaves, it will be as a better person than when he came in.


However, all the wonderful ideals aside, a school better have a shot at or at least have the desire to get where ALL the Browns like to be.


On top.


"He wants some rings," George said. "If a school isn't planning on getting some rings, hasn't won any rings or isn't doing everything to try and get some, they are counted out."


"I'm not calling them and telling them that. I don't have to. I'm telling YOU that if they aren't the type of program we feel is doing everything they can to build that program into a winner or keep it there, we aren't going to look at them."


They are looking and the titles shouldn't be translated in BCS games, rather teams that have at least shown a propensity to be better, rather than one that seems to either languish in mediocrity or appears to be on the way down.


I'll leave it to each of you, the avid recruitnik, to do your research on Brown's list to see which falls into which category in your estimation.


There's no vagueness here, especially when it comes to Brown's recruiting, because it has indeed been serious by most schools that have taken the time to throw their written scholarship offer in the ring. In response to that, as Brown stated above, they are intent on visiting some of the more serious schools over the summer, while time is on their side.


It's not, time dwindling fast for the younger Brown to make his unofficial visits, because starting in June, instead of seeing coaches, Aaron could be doing a little coaching of his own.


In his father's camp for youths, George helps to educate young kids in various sports, Aaron actually a full-time assistant for the entirety of the 10-week run. The recruiting aspect, in regards to any visits will be relegated to the weekends for the duration.


With recruiting as it has been, George said that it could be just what Aaron needs for a little break. "There's going to be a team camp during that time, but other than that, this will be a good time for him just to get away from it for a little while," he said. "Right now, before school, during school, after school, recruiting is all anyone wants to talk about, so this will be a nice little break."


There will undoubtedly be a smile across George's face when his camp soon arrives. He'll be working, but at least for a brief time each day, his son isn't the only one that will get a respite from the madness he's now fully starting to understand.


A mayhem of sorts, one that he actually expects will get worse before it gets any better. Maybe, it's the storm before the calm for the Brown. "Oh, I think the worst is about to come here in the next two weeks." Brown said. "I know they are going to be out to the schools, talking to him and this is the time where they feel they have to get all those visits to schools in, so I think it's going to be a big rush for the rest of the month."


Recruiting won't take a hiatus, even though the Brown's will take one from recruiting, well, to a certain extent. And, Brown himself probably finds himself very relieved more each day that his son isn't having to bare the weight of the recruiting, because he's taken such an active role.


Even for the father, though, recruiting has had its moments, but considering what's at the end for his son, they are important, necessary and George knows that when it's all said and done, his son will be at simply the best school for him. "I want my son to be happy and be at a place where he can grow, win, learn and come out that regardless of football, he's got what he needs to be ready for the future," he said. "That's all. I'm not looking for the perfect place, but Aaron is going to be at the closest thing to it he can find."


"It's what he deserves and it's what I want for him."


"It's just going to take awhile to figure out just who that is."

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