Evaluation: Baron Browning is the top outside linebacker in the country, and it's easy to see why he has risen to such a lofty position watching his film. Physically, he's just about the prototype for a long outside linebacker, at 6'4, 230 pounds already with a frame to get even bigger. He actually plays both safety and linebacker in high school, and does well at both, which should give you an idea of what kind of athlete he is. He probably projects best as a strongside linebacker in a 4-3 defense, but he clearly has some versatility. He reads plays really well and shows very nice instincts, with the ability to get up field quickly to disrupt plays in the backfield. He's also good pursuing to the sideline. As evidenced by his ability to play safety at the high school level, he has good coverage skills for a high school linebacker and should be able to take care of typical linebacker coverage responsibilities without much issue. He plays with a lot of toughness, and is more than willing to engage with offensive linemen when he needs to. He looks to be pretty much the complete package, and as he grows and gets stronger, he projects as a big time player at the college level.
Recruitment: UCLA has been on Browning for almost a year, even after he committed to Baylor toward the end of summer last year after a good unofficial visit to Waco. We heard at the time that the Bruins still had a good chance, and that Browning was still keeping in touch with the UCLA staff immediately after the Baylor commitment. Last week, Browning decommitted from Baylor, re-opening things and giving UCLA, among a long list of other schools, another crack at him. Browning is going to be one of the most heavily recruited prospects in this class, with offers from schools like Alabama, Stanford, Texas, TCU, LSU, Florida, Florida State, and others. He has an unofficial visit scheduled to Texas at the end of this month, and TCU is always a school to keep in mind, as his father attended there. It's also worth noting that his older brother attended Stanford, so, first, you have to consider the Cardinal a real contender, but, also, it means the family isn't opposed to sending their kids to play outside of Texas. Still, we've heard UCLA has a pretty good chance here, but this recruitment could have some twists and turns remaining.