Over the past few years, many star players from Miramar High School have decided to "Take their Talents to South Beach" and commit to the Miami Hurricanes. LB Jermaine Grace, CB Tracy Howard, WR Malcolm Lewis, and QB Ryan Williams (who transferred to Miami from Memphis) are all former Patriots who have matriculated at The U over the past 3 years.
Another Patriot wants to join them in 2015, as rising senior OL Leeward Brown gave his verbal commitment to Al Golden tonight. Brown, a 6'3" 338lb Offensive Guard, gives Miami 4 commitments in the class of 2015. His pending commitment had been rumored for a few days, but now, rumors have become reality.
I had a chance to speak with Brown about his commitment. Here's what he had to say:
"It was really the family atmosphere," said Brown in an exclusive interview with StateOfTheU on Wednesday. "They made me feel like I was one of the pieces they needed to return back to greatness, and being the Old "U". I felt like if I committed it would be part something very special that's gonna happen in the future."
While many see Brown as an afterthought, the cadre of coaches involved in recruiting the Miramar player would tell a different story. Brown told me that "Coach Al Golden, Coach [Hurlie] Brown, DB Coach Paul Williams, and Coach [Art] Kehoe were all the ones recruiting" him to be a Hurricane.
Kehoe, who would be Brown's Position Coach at Miami, made a big impression. "He said I have all the tools you could want from a HS player at my position. He's excited to work with me and develop me even more to be a spectacular player and a great person."
While it sounds like Kehoe did his research on Brown, the reciprocal can be said as well. "I did my background history on all the OLinemen he's put in the league," Brown " and I was like 'WOW! Those guys were really great when they were in college' and then they became stars and some of them Hall of Famers when they got to the NFL. That's exciting. I feel like I can be one of those OLinemen too."
Many people think Al Golden doesn't get involved with recruiting enough. Brown painted a different picture, however. "Coach Golden was around from the very beginning. He's the one who offered me at Junior Day, and I've been talking to him every day, or every other day, since then."
Brown hasn't only spoken to coaches about his decision. With 3 former teammates on the roster (Williams graduated before Brown's freshman year of HS), Brown has looked to his friends for their input as well. "I talk to Jermaine Grace, Bruh Man (Tracy Howard's HS nickname) and Malcolm. All of them. When I talked to Country (Grace), he just said 'ay, the U is where it's at. We'll be back to where it was.' And when he said that, I was sold."
Brown, a Miramar native, had more to say about the draw the Hurricanes have for him. "Well, Miami is the hometown team, and it's always an honor to be offered by the hometown team," He said. But, like more kids, the hometown team wasn't always his favorite. "Growing up, I was a Michigan fan," said Brown. No, I didn't see that one coming either.
Brown, who started at Miramar for the past 2 years, gave a good assessment of his strengths and weaknesses. "I do a good job of filling my holes up so the RB can get through" he said. "Anything I have to do to open a hole or protect my Quarterback, I'm going to do it. Plain and simple."
When asked what he's trying to improve upon, Brown said "I want to improve my hip flexibility and the bending of my knees. In watching film, I see sometimes I'm playing too high, and my knees weren't bent. That's okay at this level, but at the next level, at the collegiate level, if I don't improve that, it won't look too good on film. So, I've gotta focus on those parts of my game."
The trend of early commits flipping later on in the process is known to players, coaches, and fans alike. When I asked Brown if he was shutting down his recruitment he said "I'm a strong commit to Miami. They're at the top. There are other schools out there that I'm interested in. Who wouldn't be? But, right now, UM is my school and I'm proud to be a Hurricane." When pressed on which schools might have his attention, Brown told me "Michigan, Notre Dame, Ohio State, and Dub V U (West Virginia)."
So, just like his Miramar brethren Grace, Howard, Lewis, and Williams, Leeward Brown is set to play for the hometown Hurricanes. He looks forward to wearing the Orange and Green, and is excited for the future.
You should be excited too.
WELCOME TO THE U, LEEWARD!!!