High School: Ozen High School (Beaumont, TX)
40yrd time: 4.35
Ask the heads of any winning collegiate program, you don’t stay at the top of the mountain for long by resting solely on reputation alone. You do it by planning not only for this season, but four and five season down the line. And as anyone can see, the best way to invest in the future of your squad, is by ensuring your defense against the ever growing air attack.
With no huddle offenses, mobile quarterbacks, and wide open passing attacks, a secondary with the ability to process an offensive alignment quickly and execute the correct adjustments on the fly. For the Crimson Tide, a weekly dose of the best Quarterbacks and receivers in the nation requires the best of the best at corner and safety.
Names like Clinton-Dix, Barron, Kirkpatrick have paced Alabama’s secondary for years under Nick Saban; now the incoming freshman class looks to add another name to that list: Ozen High School’s Tony Brown.
A native of Beaumont, TX, Brown played his High School ball at the safety position; but his style of play is much better suited for the corners in a Nick Saban defense. In two years of ball at Ozen, Brown totaled an impressive 191 tackles, 30 passes deflected, a forced fumble, and 4 INT’s. Brown’s play on tape is spot on for an SEC corner or safety. He breaks to the ball in fight with phenomenal closing speed when in the zone, and is near unshakeable in man to man coverage, jamming his assignment at the line off the snap.
Ball-hawking is just one of Brown’s many talents, which include a motor that never quits in pursuit of the ball carrier. It’s rare to find a corner or safety that can aid in run support, but Brown is the exception, displaying incredible closing speed on the blitz, much like a younger Troy Polamalu. Brown’s tackling is very similar to the Steeler star, head on and little to no mercy. He’s best fit for either a weak side corner matched up on the opposition’s second option or in a free safety roll similar to Ed Reed in his days with the Baltimore Ravens.
One of the main areas in need of improvement for Brown is namely his tackling technique. Though his power in tackling is undeniable, he tends to forget the basics in the open. He will look more often for the big play hit out in space, rather than wrapping up the ball carrier for the sure tackle. In SEC play, the fundamentals are what can separate a team from a trip to Atlanta, and an off season full of “maybe next year”.
With the proper guidance from Saban and company, Brown will evolve from incoming freshman to SEC elite sooner than most would believe.