Thursday was the first day Georgia’s true freshmen (those that play offense anyway) were available for interviews and that always makes for an interesting scene. The freshmen, who generally are already overwhelmed with everything they’re having to absorb, are bombarded with all sorts of questions from reporters that have been chomping at the bit to ask them.
I was one of those reporters and one of the first guys I wanted to talk to was Marlon Brown. The highly-touted wide receiver out of Memphis overcame an enormous amount of pressure from the locals to sign with Tennessee only to sign with the Bulldogs, who were famously favored by his grandmother. It was on national signing day that Vols coach Lane Kiffin offered his now infamous explanation why the Vols were unable to land the state’s top receiver.
“Basically every kid that we offered in this state we signed, except for Marlon,” UT’s first-year coach told the Knoxville News-Sentinel. “Marlon called [the night before signing day] and said that he loved it here, but his grandmother wouldn’t let him come. I don’t know what you do about that.”
Kiffin’s remarks didn’t go over well outside Big Orange Country.
So I had to ask Brown, playfully mind you, did Georgia recruit him or his grandmother?
“They didn’t recruit her,” said Brown, surrounded by reporters after this third practice with the Bulldogs Thursday. “They were honest with her and told her the truth about everything, about my academics, about my playing time, about my everything. She just liked Coach [Mark] Richt because he puts God above all. She’s a very Godly woman and she loved that about him.”
Brown, as you may have guessed, was raised by his grandmother. Asked if her feelings were the most important factor in his recruiting decision, Brown said no, “but it played an important role.”
Whatever the case the Bulldogs are definitely happy with Brown’s decision. The 6-foot-5, 200-pound Parade All-American is expected to provide the perfect complement to 6-foot-4 flanker A.J. Green in Georgia’s offense.
The transition from being vigorously recruited to hurriedly prepared to play has been an interesting one for the introspective Brown.
“One difference is when you’re being recruited, they can’t coach you up really at all,” he said. “So that’s probably the biggest difference I’ve seen. Now they’re in your face telling you how to do it right. If you mess up you have to do up-downs, stuff like that. But I’d heard from other people the way [receivers coach Tony Ball] coached and I like it.”
Brown, who wore No. 22 in high school, was asked how he settled on jersey number 15. “They said, ‘you have these choices’ and I picked 15. [The choices] were like 15 and 17 and 80-something, 88 I think. I took 15.”
Brown also said he expects to lose the trademark long braids he’s had since high school. Traditionally the upper classmen shave the heads of the freshmen. “Yeah,” he said. “I’m probably going to cry. . . . Just kidding. I’ll do whatever they want.”
I also had a chance to talk to quarterback Aaron Murray, tight end Arthur Lynch and wide receiver Rantavious Wooten on Thursday. I’ll share some of those tidbits later.