DeKalb running back Dre Brown didn't even know Kent State and Toledo were keeping an eye on him, but coaches from the pair of Ohio Mid-American Conference schools approached him at a camp at Ohio State on Sunday and offered him scholarships on the spot.
Brown, who will start his junior year this fall, said he met the entire Toledo staff at the beginning of camp, and he was approached by first-year Kent State head coach Paul Haynes later in the day.
“I had no idea about them,” Brown said. “Toledo made a pretty good impression. Kent State was a quick thing … I don't know much about [either school]. I know that they're pretty good in the MAC. I pretty much grew up watching them play NIU all my life, so I've seen them play a bunch of times.”
Toledo and Kent State are the third and fourth schools to offer scholarships to Brown, joining Illinois and Northern Illinois, which both offered during Brown's sophomore season last fall.
Traditional football powerhouses have also begun to recruit Brown, who will visit Michigan State on Tuesday and Michigan on Wednesday. The Spartans began courting Brown a few months ago, while Michigan joined the mix recently.
Michigan assistant coach Curt Mallory visited Brown at school a few weeks ago. Mallory lived in DeKalb when his father, Bill, was the head coach at NIU from 1980 to 1983 before moving on to coach Indiana.
The DeKalb connection certainly helped earn Brown's affections, but the Wolverines' tradition should immediately propel them toward the top of Brown's list.
“It was pretty cool. We had a nice connection,” Brown said. “Those two [Michigan] schools will be high on my list. They have a lot of tradition and they win in the Big Ten.”
Minnesota, N.C. State, and Indiana have also expressed interest in Brown, who also plays defensive back.
Brown's hoping that the scope of his recruitment increases even more as his junior year progresses.
“Hopefully after my junior season, I can open it up more nationally to the SEC and ACC schools,” he said.
This week will surely be one of the most exhausting of the summer for Brown, who will also head to Northwestern and Iowa for camps on Thursday and Friday.
“This is my only off day,” Brown said on Monday. “After [this week], I think I'm done with colleges and stuff, just focusing on my team.”