Ole Miss among the favorites for four-star wide receiver A.J. Brown

Laquon Treadwell was in the stands at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium Friday night to watch four-star wide receiver and Ole Miss target A.J. Brown win a 6A state championship with Starkville High School.

If the Rebels have it their way, Brown will replace Treadwell in an Ole Miss uniform next fall.

Treadwell is widely considered a sure-fire first-round pick in the 2016 NFL Draft. Treadwell, a Biletnikoff Award finalist who leads the SEC in receiving yards and is second in receptions, has totaled 76 catches on the year for 1,082 yards and eight touchdowns. While only a junior, his final game as a Rebel is likely to come in the team’s bowl game. Ole Miss is well-positioned for its first Sugar Bowl berth since 1970.

The 6-foot-1 1/2, 218-pound Brown said he considers Treadwell “like a brother.” He could very well follow in his footsteps.

“It means everything,” Brown said of having Treadwell in attendance. “That’s like my brother. I talk to him about everything, he talks to me or whatever. He talks to me about things I need to work on and stuff like that, so he’s probably going to tell me some things I need to do better out here for the next level. It meant a lot to see him here.”

Brown said Treadwell doesn’t really try to recruit Brown to Ole Miss, a school he’s visited multiple times in his prep career. He doesn’t need to. Brown has the Rebels among his favorites, a group that also includes the hometown Mississippi State Bulldogs, Alabama and others. 

All three schools are expected to hold in-home visits with him next week.

“I’m fixing to get to it right after this,” Brown said. “I’m fixing to get on recruiting right after this.”

Brown had 10 catches for 117 yards and scored on a 32-yard touchdown early in the second quarter to give Starkville (14-1) a 14-0 lead it wouldn’t come close to relinquishing against Petal (10-5). The win marked the sixth state championship for the Yellowjackets in school history, and the first since 2012.

“Nobody believed in us,” Brown said. “After last year going down in the third round, nobody really believed in us. This is huge doing this with these boys right here. I wanted to do this so bad. I didn’t want that feeling no more from last year. I felt that at the beginning of the season when we lost to Noxubee our first game. It feels great. We just won a state championship. That’s awesome.”

Now, though, all attention turns towards his recruitment. Brown is rated the No. 66 overall prospect in the country by Scout.com, and the No. 12 wide receiver.

Brown said there’s plenty of pressure coming his way to remain in Starkville for college. However, he simply said he doesn’t feel like he has to. Asked if he wanted to spread his wings and experience life outside of his hometown, Brown simply offered “no comment.”

“It’s a lot of pressure to stay in Starkville,” he said. “I go to the store, and they’re like, ‘You’re going to State, right? You’re going to State, right?’ I be like, ‘I don’t know.’”

Ole Miss finished the regular season with a 9-3 record, including a 6-2 mark in league play. The Rebels closed out the year with back-to-back wins over LSU and in-state rival Mississippi State.

Brown was among the 62,265 fans to bear witness to the Rebels’ 38-27 win in Davis Wade Stadium a week ago, a game that featured Ole Miss quarterback Chad Kelly, who finished with 236 yards on 21 of 30 passing with two touchdowns. He also ran for 74 yards and another score.

Brown said who his quarterback will be will factor into where he ends up. Kelly is expected to return for his senior season.

“It’s a big factor, especially a team that throws it around a lot and has a good quarterback there. That plays a big part,” he said.

Treadwell isn’t the only Ole Miss wideout Brown has developed a relationship with. He’s become friendly with Rebel commit D.K. Metcalf, a five-star prospect, as well. The pair will play in the Mississippi-Alabama All-Star game together.

And Metcalf has already begun his recruiting pitch.

“D.K. Metcalf does (recruit me) from time to time,” Brown said. “We just be hanging out, just chilling. We don’t try to talk about recruiting stuff.”

Brown holds no shortage of offers. Among the other schools bidding for his services are Cal, Auburn, Florida, Georgia, Tennessee and Texas.

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