Before the end of his sophomore season, Saluda (S.C.) defensive tackle Kelijiha Brown picked up his first offer from South Carolina. Brown has long dreamed of attending a Division I college on scholarship for football, but he was still caught unprepared after receiving his first offer.
“That was something that I had never felt,” Brown told Today’s U. “It’s something like I’ve never felt. It’s a loss of words. It was special to pick up the first one. It shows that they had interest in me first.”
Since South Carolina stepped up with an offer two years before Brown will sign his letter of intent, it allowed the in-state recruit to do his due diligence regarding the school. As a result, Brown made several trips to Columbia over the summer, visits that were highly informative for the 2018 recruit.
“I went there a lot this summer because they offered me before my 10th-grade year was up,” Brown said. “I went up there a lot this summer, visited all the facilities, went on tours around the college, checked it out. Everything besides football I know about, and football I know about most definitely. Not just football, but the school and the classes too.”
In fact, South Carolina will host Brown on a visit once again this weekend when Texas A&M comes to town for a 4 p.m. tilt at Williams-Brice Stadium. Although Brown has picked up a wealth of knowledge about the school over the past four months, he is still excited to receive a first-hand look into what the gameday environment at South Carolina is like.
Since picking up his Gamecocks’ offer, Brown, who is rated as a three-star prospect on 247Sports.com, has added an offer from East Carolina and more schools have joined the mix.
“I’ve been hearing from a lot of schools: Clemson, South Carolina, Wake Forest, Auburn, Penn State, Florida, Navy, Notre Dame, Virginia, North Carolina and ECU,” Brown said. “It’s been a lot, and I don’t know all of them by heart.
“South Carolina is recruiting me very hard. East Carolina is also recruiting hard.”
Later on this season, Brown is also planning on taking a trip down to Gainesville to see Florida play and meet with the Gators’ coaching staff. Right now Brown does not currently hold an offer from Florida, but judging by his midseason junior highlight tape that may soon change.
“I am a run-stopper,” Brown said. “As much as I want to work on my pass rushing, I’m not the best pass rusher. I’m not a third-down type of defensive lineman, but I can pass rush. That’s what I want to work on to get better at because I know that I’m going to have to be a three down lineman. I see myself as a high motor guy, a leader and a run-stopper.”
One factor that works in Brown’s favor is his ability to play either the nose tackle, his natural position, or the three-tech. Not every prospect can slide down on the line without disrupting his team’s defense, but he is comfortable in whichever role he is placed.
“I can play defensive tackle, but I don’t prefer anything,” he said. “I know I am capable of doing either the interior or tackle. We run a four-man front sometimes. I actually make more plays when we go to a four-man front because I don’t get double-teamed. When it all comes down to it, I like playing nose. A lot of people don’t see why I like it, but I like it because a man has to play there. It’s a grind.”
Brown will continue to grind out his junior season, one in which he has helped push Saluda to a 4-1 record complete with an active four-game winning streak. Saluda takes on Eau Claire (0-5) this Friday at 7:30 p.m.