Few players in the history of football in North Carolina have enjoyed the success that RB Andre Brown of Rose High School in Greenville, NC achieved as a senior in 2003. At 6-1, 210 pounds, Brown rushed for an amazing 3,478 yards and 48 touchdowns as a senior while leading his Rose squad to the state 4A championship. He went on to earn Parade all-american honors as well as being named Mr. Football for the state of NC. The icing on the cake was when Brown rushed for 116 yards and a touchdown en route to being named the offensive MVP at the Shrine Bowl held last December.
Brown worked hard in the classroom in the months following the Shrine Bowl but says he could remember the exact day and hour that he learned he had fallen just 30 points shy of the necessary score to qualify for admission as a freshman at NC State.
Although disheartened, Brown enrolled last week at Hargrave and is now determined to get the score he needs in order to be at NC State by the time the Pack starts bowl practice in December. He also stated that football is about sacrifice and spending a few months at prep school won't get in the way of him ultimately fulfilling his goal to play at NC State.
"This is a no-horse town up here," Brown laughed. "I mean it's military minded. That's all we do- military and then football. That's one thing, you've got to love the game. To come up here you've just got to love to play. You've just got to have that goal in mind and you've got to want it."
One person who won't mind seeing Brown in action is Hargrave head coach Robert Prunty. He told Pack Pride that he has been blown away by what he's seen of the all-american back since his recent arrival.
"Andre is big-time," said Prunty. "Andre can do what Andre wants to do. The sky is the limit for him. He's a big-time athletic talent, he has the physical makeup- he just brings the total package."
While he's yet to see Brown in a game situation just yet, Prunty added that Brown brings somewhat of different dimension than his standout RB from 2003, Darrell Blackman.
"He (Brown) seems to be more of a slasher," he said. "Whereas Darrell was more of a juker type guy. But he's a big-time back. He has a very impressive attitude both on and off the field and he's another guy you'll be seeing running on Sundays."
One other player that is certain to play a role in the Wolfpack's recruiting plans this year is DT/OL Brian Simmons from SE Raleigh (NC) High School. The 6-5, 305 pound tackle is already receiving major division one interest and coach Prunty has liked what he's seen so far.
"Brian is a another kid with a great physical makeup. I'm afraid if UNC and NC State don't get on the job, they're going to lose him. He's a big-time tackle out of North Carolina and Oklahoma offered so what should that be telling those other coaches out there."
While State is currently looking at Simmons as an OL, Prunty will line Simmons up on the defensive line and try to take advantage of his massive size and impressive quickness.
"We'll have him at DT," said Prunty. "I mean, he's at over 300 pounds and the guy can run. He's very athletic. I mean, Oklahoma doesn't just offer anyone. But his offers are just starting to come in now- Oklahoma State, Nebraska, they're coming in from everywhere.
Pack Pride will stay on top of all the Hargrave prospects throughout the 2004-05 year.