Anybody who knows anything about recruiting would agree on this one simple premise: The life blood of a good college football team is in-state recruiting.
Locking down the borders and keeping in-state talent in-state is vital to the overall success of a football team. After all, these are the players who grew up watching the product and hopefully have some sense of affinity towards the school.
Of course, landing top in-state recruits is tough for major schools in Texas or California, for example, because there are a handful of great colleges and college football programs a talented recruit can choose from while still staying in-state.
That’s not really an issue for the Arkansas Razorbacks, though.
Sure, Arkansas State is an in-state college that a high school recruit could attend to play Sun Belt football, but that program doesn’t hold a candle to the Razorbacks as far as in-state reach is concerned.
The Razorbacks are the top dog in state, thus it should be expected that they can hold on to most if not all of the top talent. And in the case of four-star safety Montaric Brown from Ashdown, Ark. (Ashdown), that expectation turned out to be true.
According to 247Sports, Brown is the No. 1 2017 recruit from the state of Arkansas in his class. He also has a national presence as a recruit, checking in as the No. 109 overall player in America as well as the No. 12 safety, per 247Sports.
By the rankings, Brown was undoubtedly a big pickup for the Razorbacks. He was also a huge in-state keeper, especially when considering the other schools that were after his commitment. Brown chose to stay in Arkansas despite having offers from Alabama, Auburn, Baylor, LSU, Missouri, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State. Arkansas State, UTSA and Tulsa had also offered the four-star.
Brown is a top recruit through-and-through. He basically could have had his pick of the blue chip SEC programs and who knows how many more offers he could have received had he not shut down his recruitment. He committed to Arkansas on July 28th, and instantly became the Razorbacks’ top-rated commitment.
— August 24th♌ (@yvngsimba3) July 28, 2016
It is worth noting at this juncture that the industry generated 247Sports Composite ranks Brown as the No. 2 player in the state. The averages consider four-star defensive tackle Akial Byers as the top recruit, but he was stolen away from Arkansas by Nick Saban and the Alabama Crimson Tide. Per the 247Sports-only rankings, though, Byers is the No. 3 recruit while three-star wide receiver Kolian Jackson from Little Rock, Ark. (Joe T. Robinson), checks in at No. 2. Jackson, like Brown, is committed to Arkansas, so one-out-of-two isn’t half bad for the Razorbacks, if you trust the 247Sports exclusive rankings.
The rankings are semantics at this point for Arkansas, though, because no matter what he’s ranked, Brown projects to be a good college football player.
It could have been lost in the list above, but there were three Big 12 schools that offered and wanted the four-star, which points to his versatility. SEC defenders need to be tough, downhill, gritty players in order to survive and thrive in the physical nature of the conference. Big 12 defenders, on the other-hand, have to be able to play in space, and they must be athletic to play in the wide-open conference of champions.
Brown’s coach, Matt Richardson, gave an explanation back in February as to why Oklahoma State was interested in the four-star. Here’s what he told Richard Davenport of WholeHogSports, passing on what a OSU coach told him about Brown:
“He said Baylor is going five wide and we have to have a kid to cover,” Richardson said. “So they’re looking at him more of a cover safety-corner kid.”
That multiple schools from both conferences see potential in Brown is great news for his future as a Razorback. What he shows off on film — as well as his versatility — is also encouraging in that regard.
According to his HUDL account, Brown is 6-foot-1, 180 pounds and he runs a 4.50 40. He’ll probably want to put on a bit more muscle before making his college debut, but he has the speed and height of a prototypical college defensive back.
Brown is a ball-hawk through and through. He has tremendous instincts when the football is in the air and a very fast break. He reads and reacts at an elite level and has the athleticism and speed to take a turnover to the house in an instance.
Brown is also top-notch as a run defender. He takes great angles to the football and uses his speed to close quickly on the ball-carrier.
It’s easy to project him making a big impact for Arkansas.