Derrick Brown spent almost an entire day at Tennessee in April and even that wasn’t enough. The Buford, Georgia, native and Scout's No. 3 overall recruit in the 2016 class is “wide open” as he combs through the dozens of offers that poured in since he began his high school career, and Tennessee is one of the handful of schools he’ll likely visit again during the recruitment process.
Brown, who also lists Georgia, Auburn, Alabama, Ole Miss and LSU as potential destinations, came to Knoxville to see firsthand what the buzz surrounding the program was all about. After securing a commitment from Kahlil McKenzie, the No. 1 overall 2015 recruit, and stacking up talented defensive lineman like extra equipment, the Vols successfully grabbed Brown’s attention.
“I feel like there’s obviously something going on up there that everybody’s expecting to happen if all these big-time guys are going up there,” the Scout five-star defensive tackle told InsideTennessee.
That first visit on campus set the foundation for another one down the road as the 6-4, 309-pound prospect continues to sift through his top schools. Georgia was the top program in Brown’s mind for months, but that recently changed.
“Some things were said and I didn’t like what I heard,” Brown told Scout. “I heard a couple of times I was solidly committed to UGA, but that’s not true. I’m here to set the record straight. I’m still in my recruitment.”
While Brown wouldn’t elaborate on what specifically went down, he did say he’s open to look around and give every school on his list a fair chance. That includes the Vols, who are fighting with most of their SEC brethren for his talents. The Lanier High School star told IT he’d like to come back to Knoxville because he enjoyed his visit so much.
“I saw a lot, but I kind of want to go back and just hang out, because it’s a cool place up there,” Brown said.
The No. 1-ranked defensive tackle in the Peach State is quick off the ball and succeeds at shooting the gap and penetrating to get to the quarterback. Brown earned an invite to compete at The Opening at NIKE's World Headquarters in Beaverton, Oregon, and wants to make his announcement at either a high school all-star game or on National Signing Day.
That gives Tennessee plenty of time to one-up itself whenever the potential new defensive line star comes back to Knoxville.
“The place is just electric. You (feel it when) you walk in the building. Me and my family pulled up and the whole faculty was waiting outside for us,” Brown said of his first visit to Tennessee.
“We spent about 6-7 hours up there. Just the facilities are so nice, the recruiting class they got this year … it’s pretty big. I feel like Tennessee is on the come up.”