Kameron Brown details offer, OV plans and HS coach gives his take
SUGAR HILL, Ga. — Prior to his senior season, Kameron Brown had a memorable conversation that gave him motivation.
The Lanier (Ga.) linebacker had been a two-year starter for the 6A program with a track record of churning out Division-I talent. As a 6-foot linebacker, Brown hadn't received as much college attention as some of his high school colleagues.
His older brother Derrick Brown had some words of wisdom.
"The conversation that really hit me, it was my brother. He told me if you actually want to play on levels like this, levels like Auburn, you need to come on with it and have a good year," Kameron said about his talk with his older brother.
Brown did that and then some.
He led the entire state in tackles with 187. That number, of course, topped Gwinnett County, one of the best recruiting hot beds in the country. He added 24 tackles for loss, 14 quarterback hurries, six sacks and a force fumble. Brown's play earned him recognition from the local Gwinnett Daily Post newspaper as the county's Defensive Player of the Year.
It has since earned him much more.
Last week, Brown put his phone down for a few hours during his shift at the local Margaritaville. He clocked out, hopped in his car and noticed a missed call from an unknown Alabama number. His first thought: Why is Derrick calling from a random number?
Upon returning the call, Brown learned something he wasn't expecting.
"It was coach [Gus] Malzahn. He said, "We've been looking at your film and tracking you all year,'" Brown said. "Then he offered me. I heard, 'We're going to offer you,' and I was like, 'What?' It didn't process until the next morning really. I just turned the car off and sat there. I was like, 'Dang, they're really willing to risk something on me.'"
The Auburn offer was Brown's fifth.
The other four: Gardner-Webb, Tennessee-Chattanooga, Citadel and Pikeville.
It wasn't exactly the murderers' row of college football programs. But, as Brown's high school coach Korey Mobbs confirmed Wednesday, Auburn isn't the only FBS or Power 5 program who has been in contact since Brown's senior-season outburst. Auburn's offer, however, will likely deter other programs from making much of a push given the family connection with the Tigers.
Yet again, Kameron had a meaningful conversation with Derrick.
"At first, I didn't want to post the offer. I just wanted to keep it silent. But I called him and said I just got an offer — from Auburn. I said coach Malzahn had called me. He was like, 'Bro, post it. Why are you waiting? Post it,'" Brown said. "He said there were going to be a lot of things that come with this. There will be a lot of opportunities. There will be people that try to drag you down. He said, 'Just stay the same way you are right now.'"
By now, Brown has heard the criticisms.
He's a 6-foot linebacker who didn't have many notable college football offers. He, unlike his 5-star brother, doesn't have all the physical traits many programs search for in a world that sometimes prioritizes measureables over on-field production.
"It makes me hungry for it. I get I'm not as big as a lot of players. But I'll come with it every time. All you've got to do is have confidence and go out and play," Brown said. "My word I like using is savage. I'll go out and do anything, play anything and do any kind of work. Because I'm working all summer long to just play. Football is my life. I love it. All I want to do is play it."
Brown's closing comment is telling.
When Gus Malzahn offered him, he presented him with some specifics. Brown would have a shot at linebacker where there is a need now and going forward on the Tigers depth chart. He'd also have a chance to succeed Chandler Cox as the team's starting H-back, known as a role for hard-working competitors.
Brown admits: He would prefer to play linebacker. More than anything, though, he wants to play.
It will be at the forefront of Brown's conversation with the Tigers when he officially visit Jan. 18.
"I want to have conversations about what position will I really be set in. Will I be a true linebacker? Or will I be an H-back?" Brown said. "But I've already told coach Malzahn I'll play anything. Any way to get on the field, I'll play. That's the biggest part of it. The offer, it just felt like a chance. It's the best level in college football. I get a chance to try and do my thing and try to stay on that level."
COACHES CORNER: Lanier (Ga.) head coach Korey Mobbs
Lanier (Ga.) coach Korey Mobbs has had his fair share of elite football prospects since taking over as head coach in 2014.
Auburn has seen it first-hand with Kameron's older brother Derrick. Mobbs has had other prospects sign with Purdue, Western Kentucky, Wake Forest, LSU, Texas A&M, Temple and others.
But Kameron, Mobbs said, is different.
"He's probably the most physical player we've ever had at Lanier, and that includes a lot of really good players," Mobbs said. "He's the kid that, when you put on the film, he finds a way to make every play. To me, he's a no-brainer. He's the most productive player we've ever had."
Then Mobbs dropped the buzzword often circulated around Brown's recruitment, or — until last Friday — lack thereof: "Measureables."
That has been the knock on the 6-foot, 220-pound linebacker.
Mobbs admitted he has tried to put bias aside when it comes to Brown. Everytime, however, he returns back to what he, as a football coach, can't deny.
"I think we spend so much time looking at measureables that eventually the kind of football player he is won out," Mobbs said. "The production won out. People realized that even though he's only 6-foot, you look at what he's done as a three-year starter here and playing good football against good competition. I think that matters."
But it begs a fair question: What makes Brown different than your run-of-the-mill, 6-foot linebacker?
"It's football instinct. It's in his blood. He's always been a leader. His brother is a leader now and was a leader here, but he kinda grew into that. Kam's been a leader from Day 1," Mobb said. "He's the total package. It's funny to say, but it even boils down to how he treats people. He's just a likable kid. There's not a person in this building who has a negative thing to say about Kam Brown. As a high school coach, it's rewarding to see that finally pay off for a kid that's been deserving for quite some time."