It’s only 8:30 a.m., but inside the Steele High School athletics building in Cibolo, Texas, there’s already a frenzy.
It’s media day for the Steele Knights, who will appear on ESPN in a nationally televised game Aug. 28 against Madison HS and pictures are being taken. There’s a photographer barking out orders. “Everyone take off your shirts! No shirts underneath your jerseys! Form a line here!” Dozens of high school boys are wrangled together like Texas cattle. “No smiling in the pictures! Don’t forget your order forms,” the photographer reminds. There’s lots of laughter, yelling and general commotion.
In the middle of all the rush is senior running back Malcolm Brown. Brown is listed as the No. 1 running back in the country by Scout.com and Rivals.com has him as the tenth best prospect overall.
He’s the definition of a blue chip recruit.
His coach, Mike Jinks, says that Brown recently measured in at six-foot-one, 225 lbs. As Brown is rushed in to a dark weight room for the interview, he looks every bit of it. If he isn’t, he’s darn close. It’s remarkable considering he’s only seventeen.
“All of this is just a blessing really because I never thought I’d be in this situation,” says Brown. “The Lord blessed me with some talent, so I just have to use it. Just do the right things in life to be successful.”
Where Brown will choose to go to school has been a mystery for several months. All reports indicate that Brown will choose between Alabama and Texas before the start of the season.
“I’m not going to wait too much longer and be thinking about it during the season,” says Brown.
But, don’t ask him which one he’ll choose. You’re not going to get an answer.
“It’s still overwhelming to me,” Brown confesses. “I don’t really like a whole bunch of attention so some of the reporters get kind of mad because I don’t answer the questions like they want me to.”
Perhaps so many reporters walk away disgruntled because they don’t take the time to get to know the real Malcolm Brown. He’s a military brat, having lived both in Texas and Washington D.C. His family is extremely close. In fact, Brown never played much football growing up. It wasn’t until his family relocated back to Texas that Brown began suiting up regularly.
“I really didn’t even play football for my whole life. It wasn’t even my main focus at first. I came to Texas about 7th grade, didn’t really play until 8th grade.”
How, then, did Brown pick up football so quickly?
“I have a lot of people in my family who played high school football. I have a lot of athletes in my family,” he replies.
Brown’s athletic ability is clearly visible. He has the acceleration, vision and balance of a back 30 pounds smaller, yet he runs with a north and south mentality. Here’s his highlight reel.
His stats don’t lie, either. With 2170 yards rush and 33 touchdowns his junior year, it’s evident why so many high profile programs are recruiting him.
So what does Brown look for in a potential school?
“To make my decision, I just need to be comfortable with the coaching staff and some of the players because I know that If I’m not comfortable, then I’m not going to be perform the best I can,” says Brown. “My parents want a school with a good academic program. Texas and Alabama have both of those. Just being comfortable and having a good opportunity.”
Brown also likes the atmosphere surrounding both institutions.
“They both have a lot of tradition. I went up there (Alabama) and I was walking around and I guess people knew I was a recruit and they were like, ‘Roll Tide!’ and it was real cool. And their campus is real nice. Same thing with Texas. Since I live here, people are always in my ear about the Longhorns and things like that. I’m comfortable with both of them.”
With all the media attention and pressure, it’s easy for a kid like Malcolm Brown to get a big head — or, just the opposite — overwhelmed. So how does Brown stay grounded? He smiles, glances down, kicks at the ground and says “Shoot, it’s crazy, but I’m just taking it in stride.”