October 4, 2011

Current college seasons not big factor for Brown

Richie Brown has always been defined by tackles.

The Long Beach, Miss., inside linebacker has led the state of Mississippi in stops the past two seasons and has 84 tackles through five games this season.

However, 6-foot-2, 223-pounder was talking a lot about offense on Monday night. Brown has two defensive touchdowns so far this season. He has eight more on offense, where he has found a home in an H-back/tight end/fullback role.

Some of the schools recruiting Brown have noticed his prowess with the ball in his hands.

"Colleges are saying, 'Hey, you can play either way,'" Brown said. "I just like making plays. I like to impact the game in a big way. I enjoy linebacker. It's awesome, but I like making touchdowns too. It doesn't matter. I probably like linebacker more, but I like the ball in my hands."

Brown's stock has continued to soar. He's now up to some 14 offers, and he's not quite ready to narrow the field down to the four or five finalists that will receive official visits after his senior season at Long Beach is completed.

Brown's schedule has prevented him from taking too many unofficial visits this fall. He said he went to Southern Mississippi for a game earlier this season and added that he "might" go to LSU's SEC tilt with Florida in Baton Rouge Saturday. Brown said he's "possibly" going to take in games at Mississippi State and Ole Miss soon as well.

"If I could, I'd go to every game every weekend," Brown said. "I don't have a lot of time."

The outcomes of those games, by the way, don't seem to be having much of an effect, one way or the other, on Brown's decision. Both Mississippi State and Ole Miss, widely considered to be major factors in Brown's recruiting, are off to disappointing 2-3 starts.

"I wouldn't mind getting some guys in my recruiting class and going in and turning a program around," Brown said.

Brown said he followed "a little bit" of the recent saga at Ole Miss, where athletics director Pete Boone said Rebels coach Houston Nutt would be evaluated on an week-by-week basis following Ole Miss' 30-7 loss at Vanderbilt on Sept. 17. Since then, Ole Miss has lost to Georgia and won at Fresno State.

"I didn't pay a lot of attention to it," Brown said. "I do watch the games, but I'm just thinking wherever I go and whoever goes with me, we could turn it around and have a huge impact. It's not so much what they do this year as it is what I see them doing in the future."

Brown said both the Ole Miss and Mississippi State staffs have broached the topic of their respective disappointing starts in conversations, but he said the current college season is never the primary topic of their talks.

"They don't really comment on it too much," Brown said. "They just say, 'We didn't do what we're supposed to do and we're going to get after it' and they're focusing on the future."

LSU, another school considered to be a major player in the race for Brown's signature, enters Saturday's game unbeaten and ranked No. 1 nationally.

"That's a positive too," Brown said. "You could go in there and immediately contend for a national title freshman year or sophomore year. …Really, it's going to be about the culture of the school and how I'm going to fit in."

Brown said he's "slowly narrowing (his choices) down, but I'm not really worrying about it at this point."

Instead, Brown's focus is on Long Beach, which faces neighboring Moss Point at home Friday night.

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