State's Top 10 prospects: (No. 10) Manassas' Brown able to block academic concerns

UT has not offered OL from Manassas

O.C. Brown's football ability has rarely been questioned. His academics are another matter.

Those close to the News Sentinel's 10th best prospect in the state began to grow worrisome during Brown's junior season at Manassas High School in Memphis. The concern was that Brown wouldn't be able to qualify academically to play college football.

So coaches, family and friends sprung into action, developing a plan to make sure the 6-foot-3, 315-pound offensive lineman's transcript didn't hold him back.

Brown stayed with volunteer assistant coach Mike Ray during the week before returning to his grandmother's home for the weekend. Ray set up tutoring for Brown.

The home away from home helped.

"A lot better," said Brown when asked about his academic standing.

"It was working out really fine. There was much improvement in my grades. It helped a lot."

Now Brown can be a prospect - not a prospect with questionable academics.

"Recruiting is going great," he said. "I'm just working hard, trying to get more offers."

Brown recently picked up scholarship offers from Arkansas State and Tennessee State. He already holds official invites from Colorado, Kentucky and Southern Miss.

That list will likely grow as more coaches see that Brown is much more likely to qualify than he was a year ago.

Brown is frequently compared to former Ole Miss offensive tackle Michael Oher, who was selected in the first round of the NFL draft in April. Oher, also a Memphis native, had similar academic issues overcome by help from his coaches and friends.

"People were telling me I was just like him," said Brown, who is back living with his grandmother this summer. "It's kind of different."

One difference is Brown has much more support from his natural family than Oher, who was abandoned as a child. Both, however, have faced some tough circumstances.

Brown's mother died of a brain aneurysm in 1999. His uncle was shot and killed by his girlfriend in 2006. Brown was so upset when his uncle went missing that he skipped football practice to look for him.

Brown has always had his haven in the tough times. The football field is a good place to release some of the aggression built up in an adolescent who has faced so many adult problems.

"I love pulling and being aggressive and being a downhill blocker," Brown said.

Brown said there's no leader for his services. He's just letting the recruiting game come to him.

"I'm open all the way," he said. "Whatever school is best for me, that's where I'll go."

Tennessee has certainly shown interest, but it's unclear if the Vols will offer a scholarship.

"They're recruiting me a lot," Brown said. "They haven't offered yet. I think they're waiting on some more people. We'll see how it goes from there.

"I'd be interested in Tennessee."

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Comments » 10

chad_t31 writes:

6'3", 315 lb o-linemen don't grow on trees. It'll be interesting to see how this pans out.

voltan writes:

Bring on the big uglies. Sounds like maybe athletic also, likes to pull, downhill blocker. If more people took an interest in kids like this, more would be up to the academic challenge. Also would like to say how sorry I was to hear that Steve McNair was shot. Don't know what happened yet but Steve always appeared to be a good guy. Can't wait for CLK to lead our Vols back to glory. It is a coming. So says Voltan.

atomicvet62 writes:

This kid has had a hard life and with some help ,maybe he will be able to go to college,and make a good life for himself
Sometimes you have to walk in another persons shoes to know where they are coming from.
Best of luck to you O.C.
I hope you do well,and have a chance to play football at the next level

235lbVol writes:

Grab him, you can't ever have enough big guys, this positon is one of the hardest to evaluate, he may be a 1st rd draft choice in 4 years...he definatley has the size, offer CLK!

bloodrunsorange writes:

Here are some linemen that I think we are interested in. The first 3 have committed and from the 14 others 3 are from Tennessee. I think we’ll take 2-4 more depending who commits. If stars mean anything there are at least 5 ahead of O. C. Brown. 2 of the 3 commits are more of the larger, slower Cs and Gs and not the tackles that have to keep the fast DEs off our QBs. I do think more will show up during the football season. Maybe O. C. Brown (3, TN) had less than great showings at camps, I just don’t know. IMO 4 more Tennessee boys would be GREAT if the talent, speed, and character are there. Sure would like James Stone to come on board now. Brandon Linder wouldn’t be bad either. Of course if Linder, Green, James, Leifheit, and Stone all said yes now everyone would probably have heart failure. We need all the good big uglys we can get! Jose Jose (3, FL), Zach Fulton (3, IL), Marquis Pair (3, SC), Brandon Linder (5, FL), Chaz Green (4, FL), Matt James (4, OH), T.J. Leifheit (4, NC), James Stone (4, TN), Eric Mack (3, SC), Wes Rea (3, MS), Zak Tait (3, TN), Dan Koenig (1, FL), David Yankey (1, GA), and Cameron Clemmons (1, TN).

VolFanNC writes:

Brown is pretty far down the list right now as is Zak Tait. They may have better Senior years though and may get offered depending on where a few others land.

TN is looking for athletic linemen with good footwork. I think James, Leifhart, Rea and Stone are the ones they want most and we legitimately should land 2 of them.

appalachianvol writes:

in response to bloodrunsorange:

Here are some linemen that I think we are interested in. The first 3 have committed and from the 14 others 3 are from Tennessee. I think we’ll take 2-4 more depending who commits. If stars mean anything there are at least 5 ahead of O. C. Brown. 2 of the 3 commits are more of the larger, slower Cs and Gs and not the tackles that have to keep the fast DEs off our QBs. I do think more will show up during the football season. Maybe O. C. Brown (3, TN) had less than great showings at camps, I just don’t know. IMO 4 more Tennessee boys would be GREAT if the talent, speed, and character are there. Sure would like James Stone to come on board now. Brandon Linder wouldn’t be bad either. Of course if Linder, Green, James, Leifheit, and Stone all said yes now everyone would probably have heart failure. We need all the good big uglys we can get! Jose Jose (3, FL), Zach Fulton (3, IL), Marquis Pair (3, SC), Brandon Linder (5, FL), Chaz Green (4, FL), Matt James (4, OH), T.J. Leifheit (4, NC), James Stone (4, TN), Eric Mack (3, SC), Wes Rea (3, MS), Zak Tait (3, TN), Dan Koenig (1, FL), David Yankey (1, GA), and Cameron Clemmons (1, TN).

Thanks for laying this out. I really appreciate this post.

kiffownsfla writes:

2 good articles today on vols over at rivals.com.GO VOLS!

CoachFulmer writes:

Good kids get you fired.

abnerPeabody writes:

in response to CoachFulmer:

Good kids get you fired.

Bad coaching of good kids get you fired.

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