Can't Miss Target

Already the preeminent football prospect in the state of Tennessee wide receiver phenom Marlon Brown, of Memphis Harding Academy, is now challenging for that same distinction nationally.

The 6-foot-6, 205-pound, two-sport-star athlete is listed as the Class of 2009's No. 2 receiver and No. 9 football prospect overall in Scout.com's latest update. Brown already tops UT's prospect board by virtue of his in-state status as well as the Vols need for an accomplished playmaker in the mode of a Robert Meachem.

Marlon Brown can sure fill the bill and he could also help many D-I college basketball programs, a point that is underscored by his finalists nominations for both Mr. Tennessee Basketball and Mr. Tennessee Football. He is clearly the best receiver prospect the state has produced since Patrick Turner of Nashville Goodpasture, who signed with USC in 2005.

A senior starter for the Trojans, Turner is one of two five-star prospects from the Volunteer State that got away in 2005. The other was Michael Oher of Memphis Briarcrest Christian who signed with Ole Miss and will be a four-year starter for the Rebels this fall. Losing a five-star wideout from Memphis would be particularly damaging to the Vols, who are coming off their lowest ranked recruiting class in Phillip Fulmer's 15-year run as head coach.

In addition to his imposing size, Brown has surprising quickness, deceptive speed, good strength and outstanding leaping ability. He insists he hasn't been timed in the 40 since the ninth grade when he turned a 4.6 clocking.

As a junior Brown proved to be a potent offensive weapon. He caught 41 passes for 861 yards and six touchdowns while posting another 629 yards and 10 TDs rushing in only 58 carries. That's a healthy average of 15.1 yards per touch and a TD for every 5.5 touches.

Brown owes much of his big-play production to his explosive first step and uncanny ability to change directions.

"I can pick up yards after the catch," Brown told Scout.com's Jamie Newberg. "I have good size and I run pretty good routes. I just need to get stronger and I would like to get faster."

Brown doesn't lack from interest from some of the nation's elite football programs. Among the 20 or so scholarships he has are offers from USC, Tennessee, Florida, Florida State, Georgia, Clemson, Oklahoma, Notre Dame, Clemson and Michigan.

He visited Knoxville for the Tennessee-South Carolina football game last fall and has been to several basketball events. Playing both sports in college will be difficult at best, but he did display his big-game capability with 35 points and 11 rebounds in a state semifinal victory over Rosemart last Friday. And there are plenty of schools ready to give him that chance.

"On the basketball court I'm a big swing man that can drive a little bit and can shoot it from the outside and mid-range," he told Sam Webb of GoBlueWolverine. "In football I'm like a Calvin Johnson. In basketball I'm like a young Jerry Stackhouse."

That's a powerful combination. The same for his blending of success as a student/athlete. Brown carries a reported 3.2 GPA and he may just be the best overall athlete the state has produced in the last decade. That makes him a can't-miss target for UT's coaching staff which is installing an amended offense.

How would it look for the school formerly known as Wide Receiver U to miss out on two in-state, five-star receivers in five years? Undoubtedly, Fulmer & Co. are working to avoid such a scenario.

"Tennessee is the state school for me," Brown said. "The Vols are close to home, have a real good football program, football history, and great coaches. I like the new offensive coordinator. He is real cool and I am anxious to see what their offense will look like this season."

There's a distinct possibility it will look a lot better with Marvelous Marlon catching passes and scoring touchdowns.


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