Every long journey begins with a first step and five-star prospect Marlon Brown has made his. The 6-foot-5 wide receiver out of Memphis (Tenn.) Harding Academy has been at the top of the recruiting boards of nearly every major college football program in the country. With countless options in front of him, Brown has decided that now is the time to begin narrowing his focus.
Brown's initial list of finalists includes 15 programs. The list is in no particular order and consists of Kentucky, LSU, Tennessee, Florida State, USC, Florida, Georgia, Stanford, Clemson, Illinois, Ohio State, Notre Dame, Michigan, Alabama and Oklahoma.
Though the list is still long at 15 schools, that didn't make his decision any easier to make.
"It was a real tough decision," Brown said. "I had a lot of great schools like Texas Tech wanted me bad. Missouri wanted me bad too but I had to let them go so it was really really tough."
One common trend among the group of 15 was winning tradition. Notre Dame has a history as rich as any school in the country. LSU is the defending national champion. Ohio State, Florida, Oklahoma and USC all have recent national titles to their credit as well. It is clear that program prestige was weighted heavily as was coaching prestige.
"I was basing my decision on great coaches pretty much," confirmed the electric performer. "History and coaching, it was both of them."
However, Brown has one other factor that has played a major role in his decision-making process, his first love of basketball. After scoring 35 points and grabbing 9 rebounds in his high school team's state championship victory, Brown made it clear that two sports are a strong option in college.
"[Basketball] played a huge role actually," said the small forward on the hardwood, confirming that he had spoken with most of the basketball coaches on his list and has considered each program.
The next step for Brown is to take some visits and continue to narrow things down.
"I'll be going on some visits and going to some schools and that's when I'll know more," he said. "Probably in the summer time I'll cut my list again. Right now I have no idea what I will cut it to."
Currently, Brown is still setting up his schedule for Junior Days, camps and visits. It should be a busy spring and summer for the five-star prospect with AAU basketball taking up a chunk of his time as well. However with his focus down to 15 schools, he hopes to manage things a little bit easier.