Brown Coming to Town

Despite having every type of accolade known to high school football heaped upon him, Marlon Brown of Memphis Harding Academy is assaulting his senior season like his reputation depended on it.

Brown's prodigious performances have carried the Lions to a 3-1 record entering Friday's contest against St. George. Engaged in competitive games that required his presence Brown rarely left the field in a regular season that has nearly reached the halfway point. He starts at wide receiver on offense, free safety on defense as well as returns punts and kicks.

As a junior Brown, who is ranked the nation's No. 3 wide receiver prospect by had 99 touches from the line of scrimmage, as he caught 41 passes for 861 yards and six touchdowns. He also had 58 carries for 629 yards and 10 TDs pushing his totals to 1,490 yards and 16 scores with a 15.5-yard per touch average.

Despite added attention from defenses determined to deny him the ball, Brown is setting football fields on fire with his incendiary efforts. Here's a rundown of Marlon Brown's outstanding start to the 2008 season.

• In the season opener he amassed 180 all purpose yards including a 34-yard touchdown reception and a 59-yard TD run as Harding Academy recorded a 21-9 victory over St. Benedict. Brown also had an interception and a 44-yard reception nullified by penalties.

• In a 27-10 triumph over Donelson Christian, Brown caught six passes for 127 yards with touchdowns of 79 and 25 yards.

• Against SBEC the 6-foot-5, 205-pound three-way star was held to two catches for 32 yards with a 12-yard TD grab. However he made perhaps the key play in the contest with a tackle on a critical fourth down to prevent a first down as the Lions posted a 34-21 victory.

• Harding Academy tasted defeat for the first time on Monday against University School of Jackson, but Brown still had his most productive individual game with 11 catches for 185 yards and two touchdowns.

Brown will be visiting Knoxville this weekend where two of his five finalists meet in mortal combat. Besides Tennessee and Florida Brown is considering Ohio State, LSU and Georgia. Still in eager pursuit with hopes of displacing one of his final five are Oklahoma State, Stanford and Notre Dame. Brown will visit Georgia next weekend for the Alabama game, and is slated to visit Ohio State on Oct. 11 when the Buckeyes entertain Purdue.

There is little doubt about Brown's intentions to play both football and basketball at the collegiate level. That's why each of his final five are using two head coaches and two staffs to recruit him. The combo of Phillip Fulmer and Bruce Pearl will be hard to beat, but Florida can make a strong case with Urban Meyer and Billy Donovan pitching. Incidentally those are the schools Brown credits with pursuing him hardest.

Although Brown's decision may not hinge on the outcome of Saturday's Tennessee-Florida game, it could leave a lasting impression and can hardly be written off as insignificant. Of course by the time Brown announces basketball will likely be in full swing and the decision dynamics different.

In the end this too close to call recruiting battle royale could come down to a jump ball.

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