Concord (Wilmington, DE) wide receiver Justin Brown, one of the top overall prospects in the Northeast in this 2009 recruiting class, admits that certain schools have made more of a positive impression than others, but for now he is not disclosing a clear list of favorites. And he has yet to narrow a list of schools that includes offers from Boston College, Iowa, Maryland, N.C. State, Oregon, Penn State, Rutgers, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and Virginia Tech, among others.
"When I first started out, I started out with a clear mind," Brown said of his decision making process. "I really haven't narrowed my list, but some schools are showing a lot more attention than others right now. Some schools are mailing me a lot of handwritten letters and paying more attention."
The 6-3, 205-pound prospect has academics at the top of his list of factors that will sway his recruitment. He is eyeing a concentration in Communications or Business. Football-wise, he is closely evaluating a program's passing offense as well as the wide receiver depth chart. Location appears to be another factor as well.
"Location is a bonus," Brown said. "Hopefully, I'll get to stay close to home. I would like to see my family at my games. I was talking to Derrick Williams at Penn State and he said his decision came down to Penn State and Texas. In the end, he put everything aside and decided he wanted to see his family at his games. It would be a great thing."
Penn State is one of five programs Brown has unofficially visited so far, joining Maryland, N.C. State, Rutgers and South Carolina. Brown enjoyed his time in Happy Valley.
"Penn State is definitely in the mix," said Brown, whose mother attended Penn State. "The fan support there is crazy. When I went there, I tried to go incognito but a lot of fans knew who I was anyway. It is a great school and a great opportunity. Honestly, I'm trying to see if they throw the ball. They've been trying to get me to commit, but I want to see more this fall. Some schools say they will throw the ball, but we'll see if they do or not."
Brown recently made trips to N.C. State and South Carolina - trips he said "stood out" - and he was hoping to head to Virginia and Virginia Tech as well, but he had to postpone the latter two visits. As of now, both Commonwealth programs are in play and the talented rising senior plans to visit each program at some point.
"I wasn't able to make it because I was visiting family, but I definitely am going to try to make it down there to Virginia and Virginia Tech," Brown said. "Both [Virginia and Virginia Tech] are definitely showing love. Coach Sherman from Virginia Tech and Coach [Mike] Groh from Virginia are both good guys. Right now, I want to visit both."
Playing for a high school program that has captured the Delaware Division 2 state championship three out of the past five years, Brown tallied 19 catches including nine touchdowns last season as a junior. A player who "has to be on the field" according to Concord assistant coach Greg Mitchell, Brown has impressed college coaches with the total package he brings to the wide receiver position.
"Most coaches say they love the way I go get the ball," Brown said. "Most think my ball skills are pretty good. They also like my speed. Most tall guys are lanky and do not have great speed, but I can run the 40 in 4.44 seconds...coaches say they see me as the best of both worlds."
The go-to-guy in Concord's offense, Brown often draws double and triple teams. That will likely not change this fall, but he welcomes the challenge.
"I love it," Brown said of being Concord's most targeted offensive weapon. "Most of my highlights last season were in triple coverage. That shows that I can go up and get the ball. I also like the fact that it leaves my teammates open. So I like double and triple coverage. When there is single coverage, though, then it is curtains. If I see a guy going one-on-one with me, I know I can beat him every time."