High School Sports

Will East Central star Tony Brown score his first FBS offer this weekend?

East Central running back Tony Brown is hoping to receive a South Alabama offer this weekend on a visit to the Mobile campus.
East Central running back Tony Brown is hoping to receive a South Alabama offer this weekend on a visit to the Mobile campus. amccoy@sunherald.com

With an official visit set for South Alabama this weekend, East Central star running back Tony Brown hopes that he becomes the next Hornet to land an offer from new USA head coach Steve Campbell.

Brown and new USA pledge Wyatt Green, a senior offensive tackle from East Central, are set to visit the Mobile campus this weekend.

Green committed on the spot Monday afternoon when South Alabama became the first FBS program to offer him a scholarship.

As for Brown’s chances of picking up a USA offer, he will likely need another South Alabama target at running back to pass on the Jaguars.

“I believe that’s how it is, kind of,” Brown said. “Coach Campbell just got over there so they’re trying to sort things out.”

Campbell, who was the head coach at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College from 2004-13, was hired in December at South Alabama following a four-year stint at Central Arkansas. He had a record of 33-15 at UCA.

Brown is simply planning to make the best of his trip to South Alabama.

“It’s a great experience,” he said. “I haven’t been on an official visit to a big school. I don’t want to be too high or too low. If it doesn’t happen, I have a backup plan.”

Green has his fingers crossed for his teammate.

“Hopefully he gets the offer and we can go to the same school,” the 6-foot-3, 295-pound lineman said.

’Positive attitude’

The 5-foot-9, 187-pound Brown was named the 2017 Gatorade Player of the Year for Mississippi and the Sun Herald Player of the Year after helping lead East Central to a record of 13-1 and the program’s first Class 4A South State title. He finished the year with 2,748 yards an 47 rushing touchdowns.

The only Division I offer that Brown holds at the moment is from Mississippi Valley State. He also holds scholarship offers from MGCCC and East Mississippi Community College.

If South Alabama or another FBS school doesn’t come through with an offer prior to the Feb. 7 National Signing Day, Brown is leaning strongly toward signing with MGCCC.

Even though Brown has been consistently overlooked by the region’s larger programs, he’s managed to keep his cool throughout.

“You’ve just got to live your life,” Brown said Monday when asked how he’s handled the process. “You’ve just got to keep a positive attitude and that’s what I’ve learned from being a Hornet here at East Central.”

East Central head coach Seth Smith hasn’t seen Brown express any frustration over his lack of prominent offers.

“He’s handled it the same way he has all the success he’s had,” Smith said. “He’s just humble. Tony is a confident kid. He knows that whether he’s at Alabama or (MGCCC), he knows he’ll have a chance to do well. If he’s bothered by it, he hasn’t shown me.”

More offers for Hornets?

East Central has had at least one player sign with FBS programs after the the last two seasons, with offensive tackle Conner Estes inking with Louisiana Tech a year ago and tight end Brad Cumbest signing with Mississippi State in December.

If early interest in rising senior linebacker Avery White is any indication, he will likely have a chance to sign with an FBS school.

Southern Miss head coach Jay Hopson recently stopped by East Central to talk with White, who plans to visit USM for Junior Day. He is also expected to visit South Alabama in March.

The 6-foot-4, 200-pound White should be one of the top seniors on the Coast for 2018 after leading the Coast with 202 tackles as a junior. The long and athletic linebacker also had 11 sacks and three interceptions.

“At this point in his career, (White’s recruitment) is hotter for him than it’s been for any of our other players,” Smith said.

Patrick Magee: 228-896-2333, @Patrick_Magee