The Wolverine

February 2013

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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  prep profiles Elite Junior Georgia Lineman Has Michigan In His Top Eight Suwannee (Ga.) Peachtree Ridge hasn't provided a player for Michigan football in the past, but if there's one recruit the U‑M coaches would like to change that, it's offensive lineman Orlando Brown. The competition will be stiff — Brown's top eight includes some of the nation's elite programs, including Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Ohio State, Clemson and South Carolina — but the 6-9, 340-pounder is very aware of the Wolverines' success in sending linemen to the NFL. Brown shed 35 pounds between his sophomore and junior years and has become a mauler as a run blocker. He hopes to shed 25 more in the months to come. "I feel like I did great this year," Brown said. "I worked during the offseason to come and show out as a junior, and I feel like that's what I did. Being in my region, I play a lot of top talent. I have to be prepared. "In football, it's not all about size — it's about being able to move and have better leverage, and that's why I want to drop down so I can move better." Brown is like many recruits his age in looking for the right fit. He wants to find a "college town" type atmosphere and a place where he'd be happy to live, regardless of football. Coaching staff and relationships will be key, as will academics. He's already taken one standout visit to Clemson, but he's just getting started in the recruiting process. Other trips will follow, allowing him to make an educated decision when it's time to pledge. Part of that will include weighing conferences. The Big Ten has struggled nationally in recent years, but Brown is well aware of   Orlando Brown Peachtree Ridge High School Duluth, Ga. Position: Offensive Tackle Ht.: 6-9 • Wt.: 340 the Wolverines' own outstanding tradition. "Of course the SEC is the best right now," Brown said. "But with a school like Michigan, you kind of get the same respect of an SEC school with a strong fan base, home-field advantage with The Big House and stuff like that. It's not too far down the stream." In fact, U-M has some advantages over other schools. Some have called it Offensive Line U. with the lineage of linemen who have come through the school in the past decade, including NFL All-Pro guard Steve Hutchinson and tackle Jake Long, the No. 1 overall pick in 2008. "That's definitely pretty big," he said. "That should be big for any recruit — do they get a lot out of your position? If I'm a corner and I wanted to play at a college, it would be somewhere like maybe LSU because they've got Tyrann Mathieu, they've had Patrick Peterson and Morris Claiborne. That's definitely a factor." So, too, is the fact that Michigan likes to run the ball. Having hauled in one of the nation's top recruiting classes also caught his eye over the summer. "Playing with those guys is not really a huge factor to me," he said, "but it definitely shows something when you have a lot of verbal commits before signing day." — Chris Balas

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