Butch Jones and Tennessee could be days away from adding a massive recruit to the Volunteers’ impressive recruiting class in the form of Orlando Brown, Jr. (Suwanee, Ga. Peachtree Ridge), who will announce his college decision on Thursday.
The 6’7-1/2 three-star offensive tackle is the son of a former NFL offensive tackle and weighs in north of 350-pounds. He also lists Arkansas and Oklahoma among his group of finalists. Brown would literally be the biggest commitment in Jones’ brief tenure in Knoxville. While the Razorbacks and Sooners have great programs with plenty to offer a recruit like Brown, I think Tennessee will be his decision on May 2.
This is a significant prediction because Tennessee is a late player for Brown and wasn’t even in his top-seven schools Mar. 4 when he whittled down his list of favorites. However, that quickly changed with two visits to Tennessee that helped move the school to the front.
Brown attended the first spring scrimmage Mar. 16 and later was on campus less than one month later for the school’s Orange & White spring game Apr. 20 according to 247Sports.com. Oddly enough, Tennessee is the only school of his three finalists he has visited. If that doesn’t scream out to you that they are the clear front-runners, then I don’t know what will.
Michael Carvell of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution has the most telling quotes from Brown that should have “VolNation” optimistic in anticipation of his announcement. Brown said, “It’s definitely somewhere that I feel like home. It’s somewhere that I could see myself in a few years.”
Tennessee boasts one of the strongest offensive lines in the SEC this season led by tackles Antonio “Tiny” Richardson, who likely will be a high pick in next year’s NFL draft if he elects to declare early, and senior Ja’Wuan James. However, the strength in 2013 will quickly turn to a weakness in 2014 with at least three starters departing. The potential addition of Brown could alleviate that problem.
Brown may find himself pressed into early playing time as a true freshman — which is always a nice recruiting pitch to make — and he already has the size to step in at right tackle and be a cornerstone to the rebuilding effort that Jones is undertaking at Tennessee.
Thus far, the headliner of Tennessee’s class is five-star running back Jalen Hurd (Hendersonville, Tenn. Beech Senior) and you have to think he would love having a player that can engulf opposing defensive linemen and get to the second level like Brown can blocking for him for the next four years.
As Jones rebuilds the program “brick by brick”, he could have himself a significant building block in Brown as he attempts to return the Volunteer program back to a place of prominence.