Written by Corbett Smith
Waxahachie's LaDarius Brown keeping quiet about his college plans
LaDarius Brown is tired of answering the same questions, week after week, from a bevy of reporters.
Everyone from college recruiting services to the television reporter that came to Waxahachie's practice Tuesday has bombarded Brown with the same question: "Where are you going to college?"
"Same stuff, over and over," Brown said. "Nothing new."
A 6-3, 190-pound free safety and wide receiver, Brown is ranked as the top recruit from the Dallas/Fort Worth area by Rivals.com. He's listed No 56 among the nation's recruits by Rivals and named by the same service as one of the country's top 10 most versitile prospects.
He has narrowed his choices to TCU and Texas A&M, but hasn't made his decision and doesn't plan to until after the season.
All Brown wants to do is play.
"He doesn't have a lot to say to anybody," Waxahachie coach David Ream said.
Living with his mother and sisters, Brown hasn't made trips across the country for camps or visits, like most high-level recruits. In fact, he's only visited a few schools: Baylor, Texas A&M and TCU. The glitz and glamour isn't for him; Oklahoma offered him a scholarship early in the process, but he wasn't interested, and hasn't made a trip to Norman.
"They've already got some good players down there," Brown said.
The recruiting pressure is constant for him, though. His father, Willie, wants Brown to go to a Big 12 school. After last week's 63-56 loss to West Mesquite, West Mesquite quarterback and TCU commit Trevone Boykin tried to sell Brown on the Horned Frogs. Brown said he's been in contact with TCU's other wide receiver commits: DeSoto's David Porter III and Cameron White, and he's been hearing the same pitch.
"Come out, play with them," Brown said.
Regardless of his decision, Brown's path to high school stardom has been circuitous.
He didn't play junior high football, or any sport. And when pushed by his mother to go out and join the football team - "she was tired of me come home, sitting around, eating all the snacks," he said - Brown quit the team soon after trying out as a freshman.
Ream said Brown probably didn't like the 100-plus degree August weather. Brown never made it onto the freshman roster.
But current offensive coordinator Joe Volentine rediscovered Brown in a freshman P.E. class and told Ream midway through the year that they needed to get him on the field. After getting him into the offseason program, and just a few weeks after seeing him during spring practices, Ream had Brown penciled in as the starting safety for the 2008 season.
"I kinda showed them I could play," Brown said.
As a sophomore, six games into his football playing career, Brown had his breakthrough game, against perennial power Waco. Subbed in on offense after limited snaps in the previous weeks, Brown caught five passes for 184 yards and three touchdowns, including the winning score with three seconds remaining in a 35-28 victory.
"Well, he's just a tremendous athlete and a difference maker," Corsicana coach Phil Castles said.
Castles has faced Brown in each of his three years on varsity, losing the first two games until Corsicana's 42-28 win over Waxahachie this season.
"He's going to get his touches, and he's going to do some big things with the football, and you probably aren't going to be able to avoid those things," Castles said. "You've just got to try and play him as best you can, be aware of where he is, and make sure you kids are aware of him all week."
Brown hardly gets off the field now, starting on offense and defense and playing special teams.
This season, he has 29 catches for 587 yards and five touchdowns, a little off last year's 889 yards and nine touchdowns.
Ream said this season that opponents have been aggressively attempting to limit Brown's catches on offense, sometimes resorting to using three players to cover him: a safety above him, a corner on him and a linebacker shading under him.
To get Brown more touches, Ream put him back in the Wildcat formation last week. Three carries for 93 yards and two touchdowns, 34 and 57 yards, speak of Brown's raw ability.
"We've had a hard time getting him the ball," Ream said. "Well, I know one way to get it to him, snap it to him."
In Brown's senior season, it's been a down year for Waxahachie.
Losing 30 seniors and eight all-district selections from last year's 13-1 regional finalist, Waxahachie (3-4, 2-3) has scuffled in District 15-4A play, going into tonight's game against Lancaster in a must-win situation.
A loss and Waxahachie's 20-year streak in the playoffs will be all but finished.
Brown called the Lancaster game critical.
"We have to win out if we want to go to the playoffs," he said.