February 8, 2008

Sublime Brown has plenty of options

By seventh grade, Marlon Brown already could both palm and dunk a basketball.

Since then, the Harding Academy five-star football prospect has excelled in pretty much every athletic endeavor. With the 2008 National Signing Day all of 48 hours old, more and more colleges are focusing on the five-star Brown, Rivals.com's No. 13 overall prospect for the '09 class.

"Right now, it's real crazy," said Brown, who indicated he's closer to 6-foot-6, 210 pounds than his previous listing of 6-5, 205. "It's kind of the way it is. All these coaches and recruiters are coming by."

Most recently, that was Notre Dame sending an assistant coach by Brown's Memphis school to extend a scholarship offer, his 10th thus far. Tennessee, Miami, Texas Tech, Auburn, Oklahoma and Clemson are among the others.

Like fellow heralded Tennessee prospect Eric Gordon, Brown is stashing his recruiting correspondence in shoe boxes, already pushing his total to four or five. He's hesitant to list any favorites at this point, but he grew up a Tennessee fan and was impressed when he witnessed the Vols' dramatic, 27-24 overtime win last season against South Carolina on an unofficial visit.

"It was real fun, a real crazy overtime game," said Brown, who hasn't been timed in a 40-yard dash since unleashing a 4.65 almost two years ago. "It was loud. I couldn't hear anything."

Brown is willing to listen to a variety of recruiting pitches at this point, and he makes no secret that he wants to continue his two-sport excellence in college as both a football and basketball player. Brown expects by summer to narrow down his list of suitors.

"I'm going to look at the academic scale for sure, and the history of the school as far as winning and going pro or whatever," he said. "Right now, I don't have a top list. I'm sure I will real soon."

Brown does have a connection to Notre Dame.

"I've got a friend who goes to Notre Dame, Golden Tate," Brown said of the former Pope John Paul II star who inked with the Irish in 2007. "We're kind of cool. We talk once a month or here and there."

Living with his grandmother, who stresses the importance of education, Brown says the two of them often go over his recruiting literature together.

"I take them (letters) home and share it with my grandmother, and she opens them up and reads them," Brown said. "I've lived with her since I was in sixth grade. Education is real important to her."

Brown is trying close out a strong basketball season for the Lions, who currently are second place in their region. Once roundball season concludes, Brown will decide which camps he'll attend and hone his speed skills.

"Right now, I'm trying to do basketball season and wrap that up," Brown said. "I'll sit down with my coach and look at some camps to go to.

"I want to work on my speed some more, and my hand strength a little bit more. When I was a sophomore, one of the drills was where you get this little medicine ball and hold it for a long time. It hurts, though. That's all I remember."

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