It was the first day of May, and the prospect from Akron Firestone had already secured a scholarship offer from dream school Ohio State that he accepted on the spot. With nothing to prove and plenty to gain, Brown made the trip south to Columbus to take part in a one-day Nike camp.
Evaluations of his performance were mixed, but the 6-4, 300-pound lineman said he felt compelled to take part.
"It's just about staying active," he told BuckeyeSports.com. "I hate sitting down and doing nothing. One day while I'm sitting down playing PlayStation or something, somebody else is getting better than me and that's not what I want so why not go out and compete?"
Although Brown said he felt he had nothing to prove by competing at the camp, doing so opened his game up to scrutiny. Describing him as a player who "has talent but also has much to do in the coming months to reach his full potential," a panel of Scout.com recruiting experts broke down the nuances of Brown's game.
They also came to the same conclusion as Brown in one category.
"You have to give credit to any player who has already ended their recruiting and came out to learn and compete," Scout wrote. "In time Brown will come along, but the road ahead will need to be filled with a lot of work."
One of the questions surrounding Brown is whether he is an offensive or defensive lineman at the next level. Brown said he is hearing that he will start out as an offensive tackle with the potential to move to defense.
"I think he's capable of playing on both sides," Firestone head coach Tim Flossie said. "He's a tough guy to move. He's got good feet. If you put him at nose tackle, he'd be exceptional. Offensively, he's big and strong. The bonus is he moves well and he's got a long reach and big arms, all the things you're looking for in pass protection. Plus he's just strong."
Scout Midwest regional manager Allen Trieu said he is not sure Brown is flexible enough to play tackle.
"That remains to be seen," he wrote after Brown's commitment. "The (Buckeyes) have told him he may be a tackle, but he may fit elsewhere on the line. We project him to right tackle, but he's a kid who could move inside and be a road-grading guard."
Brown is now fully recovered from a strained knee that cost him the final five games of his junior season. That lack of exposure likely helped keep him under the radar until the Buckeyes offered.
Asked what Brown needs to work on for his senior season, Flossie said, "Just get mentally and physically stronger and tougher. That's what you always want. I want him focused on the year. I think this was a good idea that he committed because now he can focus on our season and not have to worry about all these phone calls and all that stuff because that can be distracting."
On the flip side, Flossie said Brown excels at drive blocking.
"When he gets guys one-on-one and gets his hands on them, I think his strength just takes over," the coach said. "And he's good at blocking down, which for a big kid is rare. He's got real good feet, and that's what offensive linemen need."
The plan is for Brown to graduate in January and enroll for either winter or spring classes.
"These kids are seeing other kids do it and it's probably a good thing because they learn through spring ball," Flossie said. "If they're going to play, it helps them play quicker and if not they'll get an idea of what they need to do while they are redshirted. It works out for everybody."