Andrew Brown Names Finalists, Announces Decision Date
5-star defensive lineman Andrew Brown is ready to put the recruiting process behind him, and will make his choice known next Saturday, June 29th at his home. Brown named five final schools: Virginia, Virginia Tech, Alabama, Clemson and Florida State. Brown also had offers from Michigan, Ohio State, Florida, South Carolina, Auburn and tons more. The Oscar Smith product is ranked the #4 player in the nation by 247Sports and #7 overall by Rivals. Brown played at Indian River for two seasons before transferring to Oscar Smith last year. He plans to enroll at his school of choice in January.
Now, what does this mean for Virginia? The early decision is a great sign for the Wahoos. Brown is more familiar with Virginia than any of his other finalists at this point, and the Chesapeake native has been to Charlottesville a bunch of times. Brown is a cousin of Virginia quarterback signee Corwin Cutler, and is close with many players who have headed to Charlottesville from the Tidewater area over the past few years. Brown seems to be a bit burnt out with the recruiting process, especially after some issues that came up recently, where he was quoted as saying that UVa, the widely perceived favorite to land him, was no longer in his top group. The quote was related to which official visits he wanted to take, and Virginia is obviously still in a great spot, as they are in his group of finalists.
Brown has been a priority target for a long, long time. Along with 5-star Cavalier commit Quin Blanding, Brown has been heavily pursued by the Virginia staff for the better part of three years, and remained the staff's top targets heading into this recruiting cycle. Brown's commitment would be another huge get for the Hoos, landing a tremendous talent at on the defensive line, and a second 5-star prospect in the 2014 class. At this point, we at Streaking The Lawn have great confidence that the Hoos will be the pick for Brown next weekend, in another huge recruiting victory for Mike London in the talent-rich '757'.
The State of Commonwealth Recruiting
Virginia has gotten the better of their arch-rivals when it comes to landing top in-state talent so far this cycle. Tech landed 4-star C.J. Reavis (from Chester, VA) at their spring game, their only consensus in-state 4-star commit to date. The Hokies also have commits from several solid 3-star prospects in Vincent Mihota, Marshawn Williams and Travon McMillan. On the other hand, UVa has landed 5-star safety Quin Blanding and 4-star offensive lineman Steven Moss so far, both priority targets for both schools. The Hoos have a third in-state commitment from outside linebacker J.J. Jackson as well.
Andrew Brown could swing the pendulum heavily in the favor of the Hoos if he commits to Virginia next week. With three top-10 players nationally in the Commonwealth this year, UVa will have landed two of them, and Tech 0. Tech was also eliminated by their best chance at a top commit, when 5-star Da'Shawn Hand narrowed his choices down to Michigan, Alabama and Florida last week. If Brown surprises many and picks the Hokies, then that will be a major recruiting coup for them, and will even up the score with regards to in-state prospects between the schools.
As for what's left out there? Virginia is the heavy favorite for 4-star wide receiver Jamil Kamara, and the Hokies haven't been under consideration for quite some time. Kamara is close with Blanding, and it would be a pretty significant upset if Kamara ended up anywhere but Virginia. Another 4-star Jalyn Holmes named his top-3 schools recently, and neither in-state school was there. Holmes seems to be very interested in leaving the Commonwealth, and Ohio State, FSU, and Clemson seem to be the most likely destinations. That is a significant blow for the Hokies, who were thought to be the big favorite for the Lake Taylor standout heading into the 2014 cycle. The Hoos never really gained a ton of traction in Holmes' recruitiment.
The one big in-state bate remaining between the two will be for Derrick Nnadi. The 4-star has been blowing up on the camp circuit this spring, showing a fantastic motor and strength from the defensive tackle spot. The Ocean Lakes standout seemed to be favoring the Cavaliers for a long time, but now seems to be more open to other options. His father is a Virginia Tech alum, and the Hokies are right at the top of the list for Nnadi. Some out of state options are also on the table, with FSU, Michigan State and Penn State in hot pursuit. It seems that Nnadi will likely stay in-state for college, and right now it's too close to call, and the momentum of his recruitment changes course time and time again.
If Virginia is able to close with Nnadi, as well as locking up leans in Brown and Kamara, and Virginia Tech misses out on Holmes and Hand to out-of-state options, then Virginia will have dominated their in-state rivals on the recruiting trail in the Old Dominion. That in itself is pretty astounding, considering the discrepancy between the two school's on-field results over the past decade. Obviously things can change, and Virginia will have to fight off tons of schools for the state's elite talent, but the opportunity for a landmark 2014 class is still on the table.