At the top of Stanford's recruiting board for 2009 sits Marlon Brown. A 6'5" 205-pound wide receiver from Memphis (Tenn.) Harding Academy, Brown possesses rare athleticism and skills for his height and is in the midst of a bona fide two-sport recruitment involving many of the nation's top football and basketball programs.
In football, he is currently ranked by Scout.com as a 5-star prospect and the #12 overall player in the country, with some debate regarding whether he or West Virginia commit Logan Heastie is the premier receiver in the entire nation. That recognition reflects a body of work on the football field that portends big potential for the next level and beyond. As a junior for Harding Academy, Brown hauled in 41 receptions for 861 yards and 6 touchdowns while also rushing for 629 yards and 10 touchdowns at a better than 10 yards-per-carry average. On film, these exploits jump off the screen due to an eye-popping degree of shiftiness and explosiveness that Brown manages despite his long frame.
Not only a phenom on the gridiron, Brown has also turned heads on the basketball court. As a junior this past winter, Brown averaged 16.5 points and 7 rebounds per game in leading his team to a Division II-A state championship victory. His signature achievement came in his most recent game, when he contributed 35 points, including 17 of his team's final 19, and 9 rebounds to the championship cause in an overtime victory. Following that championship triumph, he was honored on the Tennessee Sports Writers Association All-State Boys Basketball Team and was a finalist for Mr. Basketball for Division II-A. Brown eventually lost out on the top honor to senior Elliot Williams, a McDonald's All-American who has signed to play basketball for Duke and whose team Brown and Harding Academy knocked off in the state semifinals.
The two-sport star maintains every intention of continuing to play both sports in college and told The Bootleg that basketball will play "a huge role" in his college decision. Football programs across the land eager to land the elite receiver have caught on, and Brown says that all the schools recruiting him have indicated that they would allow him to play basketball as well as football. Nonetheless, some schools naturally stand out for their appeal in both sports.
Despite that list, however, Brown is not yet at the point of publicly narrowing down his bevy of scholarship offers beyond the initial cut of 17 schools he recently hinted at. With too many offers to list, he faces the enviable but difficult task of paring down his list and eventually picking a lucky winner in his hotly-contested two-sport recruitment. He has recently said that he plans summer visits to Tennessee, UCLA, Ohio State, Georgia, and Stanford, though those represent only a fraction of the schools he is still considering.
Of particular interest to Stanford fans, the receiver/small forward confirmed last week that he plans to visit The Farm "probably in June or July." Though he has never been to California before, Brown highlights Stanford's location in the Golden State as the school's primary appeal at this point. While far-away schools on the Tennessean's list such as Stanford, UCLA, and USC would otherwise seem disadvantaged in his recruitment, Brown matter-of-factly answered "yes, sir, probably" when asked whether he would like to move away from home for college.
As Brown weighs whether to move away for college and decides which school is the best fit for him, he envisions one particularly important criterion.
"They would have to have good coaching, for sure," he succinctly offers in predicting important factors affecting his decision. Brown says that Stanford's recruitment of him has thus far primarily involved Tennessee recruiter Clayton White, Head Coach Jim Harbaugh, and Offensive Coordinator/Wide Receiver Coach David Shaw, a group that Brown says he has started to build relationships with.
As this Memphis two-sport star embarks on a series of highly-anticipated unofficial visits, stay tuned for more on a recruitment that currently seems decidedly open and unpredictable at this juncture.
Marlon Brown reports "a 3.2 GPA at a hard school" and has not yet received standardized test scores back.
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