Five-star outside linebacker Baron Browning has set November official visits to Ohio State and UCLA, he confirmed Friday night with Scout following Kennedale High School's 34-27 comeback win against Wichita Falls Rider in a Texas high school football non-district matchup.
The 6-foot-4, 230-pound Browning, who is Scout's No. 2 outside linebacker for the 2017 class and the No. 25 overall prospect, said he will officially visit UCLA the weekend of Nov. 18, when the Bruins host rival USC, then Ohio State the weekend of Nov. 25, when the Buckeyes host rival Michigan.
Those visits will come right before Browning's commitment date, which he recently set as Nov. 29, his father's birthday. Browning intends to make all five official visits before then and said he will release the schools and dates for his remaining three official visits within the next couple of weeks.
Browning has offers from across the country, so it will be interesting to see who gets the three remaining visits. TCU, where his father played, and Texas are two programs to keep in mind as possibilities. TCU defensive line coach Zarnell Fitch attended Friday's game.
Browning went into detail about what he's looking for from schools as potential visit destinations.
"My main thing is getting developed. I want to be a technician. I feel like there are a lot of areas I can be better in, so when I look into a school, I’m looking — as far as my position coach — if he can really develop me," said Browning, who sealed Kennedale High's win with a late fourth-quarter strip-sack that a teammate recovered. "And just with the school in general, just develop me as a young man on and off the field. My main thing with me, I don’t think I can stress enough about how much I really want to get set up with the alumni and the networking and stuff, jobs outside of football.
"I want to make more money outside of football. If I’m blessed to be in the NFL, that’s good, but I want to make more money outside of football. I want to be one of those guys."
Browning said he's interested in computer software engineering, as well as entrepreneurship.
As far as where he winds up on the field, Browning said the specific position does not matter, as long as he's playing for a program that knows how to maximize his abilities. Browning is a prototype 3-4 hybrid outside linebacker, but he could also potentially play a weak-side defensive end in a four-man front because of his frame potential and natural pass-rushing ability.
"I like to play outside, but then again, it also depends on when you get there what the team needs and however you can get on the field quickest, and how I can make the biggest impact," Browning said. "If it’s open for me to make an impact as a freshman and I can play, I’m gonna go in there and learn."
Browning mentioned head coach Urban Meyer, defensive coordinator Luke Fickell, co-offensive coordinator Tim Beck, and director of player personnel Matt Pantoni all being Ohio State coaches he hears from regularly. Browning unofficially visited Ohio State in May with fellow Texas five-star prospect Jeffrey Okudah.
“The whole staff, it just felt like a family feeling," Browning said. "They just welcomed me in when I first visited there back when I went with Jeff. I just all-around got a good feeling."
Browning said Ohio State's "Real Life Wednesdays" program has caught his attention. The program focuses on life after football and features guest speakers from various walks of life.
"I really like that," Browning said. "I just feel like that’s a place I can get developed, too."
As for UCLA, Browning said his main recruiter is linebackers coach Scott White.
"He’s a great coach and I’ve got a great relationship with him," Browning said. "He’s along with the other coaches I’m keeping in mind who can develop me that can get me where I need to be as a technician and just make me an all-around better player."
"I haven’t been able to meet the whole coaching staff yet. I’ve talked to (head) coach (Jim) Mora a little through Twitter, but when I visited like two summers ago, I went in that period when most coaches are gone in the summer."
With Browning's decision set for Nov. 29 and a potential five official visits before then, the five-star linebacker will be a busy man in the coming weeks. Stick with Scout as we continue to track his recruitment.
Below is Scout's evaluation of Browning:
Browning is a big and physical presence on the field, especially intimidating at the linebacker position where you just do not see many guys with his size playing standing up. He missed much of his sophomore season, but bounced back with a strong junior year that saw him pile up a ton of honors and accolades. He moves all around the Kennedale defense. He will play up on the line of scrimmage as an edge rusher and he will move to the middle to stop the run. He shows a high acumen for playing against the pass, which is rare for a linebacker with his size. Could play a range of positions: outside linebacker, middle backer or defensive end. - Greg Powers, Scout national analyst
Below are junior highlights of Browning: