Brown entertains Tennessee offer

Josh Brown has been verbally committed to Florida State since September 2014. That hasn't stopped a host of schools, including Tennessee, from vying for the junior's talents at defensive end.

Mallard Creek (N.C.) High School senior Josh Brown has a firm grasp on both the offensive linemen who try to keep him contained and the college he wants to attend. The four-star pass rushing specialist has not wavered in the verbal commitment he made to Florida State last September, but that hasn’t kept him from taking visits to other schools who have offered him scholarships.

Earlier in the spring, Brown — the No. 2 rated defensive end prospect in North Carolina — trekked to Knoxville after being invited on a visit by coach Butch Jones and his staff.

“They invited me, so I just wanted to come out here and check it out,” he said. “People told me Tennessee had a nice thing going, so I just wanted to come out here and see how they work out.”

The trip was also a reunion of sorts for Brown, who attends the same high school that current Vols wide receiver Marquez North did before coming to Tennessee.

“I haven’t seen him in a minute, so we were just catching up,” Brown said. “That’s basically it.”

While the 6-2, 215-pound prospect is mainly being recruited by special teams coach Mark Elder, he’s established a rapport with almost all of the coaches on the Vols' defensive staff. Those relationships are what helped get Brown to Knoxville and have kept him intrigued by Tennessee.

“Basically, they just want the best players here,” he said. “They’ve told me that they’re really interested in me. That’s basically all they told me.”

Brown’s lead recruiter at Florida State was defensive ends coach Sal Sunseri, who left in January to coach linebackers for the Oakland Raiders. Now former Tennessee All-SEC running back and current Seminole special teams coordinator/running backs coach Jay Graham has picked up where Sunseri left off for FSU.

The departure of Sunseri didn’t seem to open any doors for other schools, as Brown has stated he is firm in his commitment. But the No. 38 ranked defensive end prospect did say he enjoyed his visit and hasn’t ruled out coming back to Rocky Top.

“A lot of people have given me a good report on Tennessee, so I got what I was expecting. They told me it was a beautiful campus and beautiful facilities and stuff like that,” Brown said.

“I could probably see myself coming back up here just to see Marquez and stuff like that. I might come back down for the spring game.”

While Tennessee's staff fights for Brown's attention off the field, the senior knows he’ll have to work just as hard himself to have a shot at early playing time at one of the host of schools in which he has received offers.

“I’m pretty sure I’m going to have to come in and put in the work to get on the field if I was to come here,” Brown said. “They just told me they think I have a good chance to play here, but of course I have to come here to do my job.”

InsideTennessee managing editor Danny Parker contributed to this report.

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