Tennessee received an oral commitment from one of the largest players in the nation Thursday afternoon when 6-8, 345-pound offensive tackle Orlando Brown Jr. (Suwanee, Ga. Peachtree Ridge) joined the impressive haul of recruits for first-year head coach Butch Jones.
Brown told Keith Niebuhr of 247Sports: “It’s an opportunity I’m glad to take advantage of. I’m glad to be a Vol!”
Brown picked the Volunteers as expected over Arkansas and Oklahoma and is the second offensive lineman to commit in the class of 2013 joining three-star center Coleman Thomas (Max Meadows, Va. Fort Chiswell). Two recent trips to Tennessee this spring sealed the deal for Brown who goes by the nickname “Zeus”.
One of the primary reasons that Brown was drawn to Tennessee has to be the fact he can have the opportunity make an impact as a freshman with senior tackle Ja’Wuan James exhausting his eligibility and Antonio “Tiny” Richardson expected to declare for the NFL draft where he could be a top-1o pick. Furthermore, they are a program on the rise with outstanding facilities and a passionate fan base.
247Sports.com ranks Tennessee’s 2013 recruiting class third overall behind Texas and Texas A&M, respectively. By comparison, ESPN ranks the Volunteers’ class seventh in the nation. Either way this is a tremendous start for Jones at Tennessee as he is already a beloved figure despite not even coaching a regular season game yet.
Of the committed recruits Tennessee boasts none may be as happy as the headliner of the class, five-star running back Jalen Hurd (Hendersonville, Tenn. Beech Senior), who now has a mammoth road grader to pave the way for him the next four years. Brown has the frame to be a prototypical right tackle and is bigger than the majority of NFL linemen. He has been blessed with the genetics of his late father who played in the NFL for more than a decade.
Brown is a three-star recruit entering the summer before his senior season of high school, but could earn a fourth star this season as one of the higher ranked three-star prospects. He has the size and the strength you need, but he is incredibly raw and his technique, body control and foot speed need refinement. That development will come over the course of the next year with more coaching and further maturation.
Brown has already come a long way in his development as a football player having dropped nearly 100 pounds from his freshman year where he weighed 450 pounds. Thursday was his 17th birthday, and his commitment shows you how far he has come. It should also be an encouraging sign of how far he can still go.
Tennessee picked up an enormous brick for the foundation of the rebuilding effort that Jones and his staff are working on in Knoxville as they continue their run of domination on the recruiting trail.