Following in father's footsteps

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Having a shadow cast from a father who competed on the highest level can sometimes leave youngsters feeling a tremendous amount of pressure.

Even though his dad had a long career in the NFL as a 6-foot-7, 350-pound lineman that earned the nickname "Zeus," that wasn't the case with Orlando Brown Jr.

"Not at all," Brown told InsideTennessee. "He didn't really want me to play football, but I had to come crying in eighth grade, telling him, 'Dad, I want to play. I want to play.' He motivates me a lot."

In September, Orlando Brown Sr. passed away at the young age of 40 due to diabetic ketoacidosis, which is caused by high blood sugar and a lack of insulin.

The elder Brown, knowing how tough football is on the body, was reluctant to let his boy embark on an athletic career on the gridiron.

"He said it was a hard road. I told him I was up for it," Brown said.

The resemblance is uncanny and the namesake is on the fast track to following in his dad's footsteps. The Class of 2014 prospect already reports scholarship offers from schools like Alabama, Auburn, Iowa, Maryland, Michigan, Notre Dame, South Carolina, Southern California and West Virginia.

At 6-foot-7, 360 pounds, Brown is sure to be among the country's premier run blockers by the time he signs and graduates.

Tennessee knows about Brown but has some catching up to do as he has already visited Alabama and Florida this summer. Having been around his father as a child, he knows a pair of former Volunteers but not much else about Rocky Top.

"I know a couple players — Aubrayo Franklin and Albert Haynesworth — because they were good friends with my dad," Brown said.

He already has a notion for what he seeks in a school.

"I want to have a shot to play my freshman year," Brown said. "I want (the school) to have a good education program and a winning program."

The Vols also have a tie as Tennessee running backs coach Jay Graham ran through some holes paved by Brown's father while the two were Baltimore Ravens.

While he has family ties and roots at both Iowa and Maryland, respectively, Brown's having moved from Baltimore down to Georgia makes him a prime target for Southeastern Conference schools. He is on the cusp of strapping on the pads for his first season playing high school football in Georgia at Peachtree Ridge.

Brown admitted he isn't nervous at all about competing in the talent-rich Peach State.

"Not at all. Not at all. Same talent everywhere, just different players," he said.

Peachtree Ridge finished second in Region 7 but fell 30-27 in the first round of the GHSA Class AAAAA state playoffs last fall.

Between his being an NFL legacy and the camping circuit, he's quickly becoming one of the more coveted players in the country, which is something that only makes Brown want to get improve.

"It just makes me want to get better," he said of the recruiting process.

While blessed with more than enough stature, Brown must improve both fundamentally and in terms of pure strength.

"I need to get more technically sound for my pass protection," said Brown, who noted that his max on the squat is 365 pounds.

FOX Sports Next national recruiting analyst Chad Simmons has seen Brown work out in person and said this about the giant tackle: "Just a massive young man, and he will need to slim down before playing on the next level. He has good bend, but needs to work on weight, strength and feet."

Brown presently carries a 2.5 grade point average and would like to major in Business.

Danny Parker is currently the Associate Editor, Recruiting Analyst and Staff Photographer for InsideTennessee.com. He was previously the sports editor at Shelbyville Times-Gazette. He joined the InsideTennessee team July 2011.

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