Schools go to great lengths to get a leg up in recruiting. Some use tradition or geography to their advantage. Others must rely on creating early connections. That’s exactly what Kentucky has done for a pair of freshmen from the Commonwealth.
Last December Corbin’s Treyveon Longmire and Male’s Selah Brown each played in state championship games at Kroger Field. After seeing the talented freshmen play firsthand, Vince Marrow made sure UK was the first to extend a scholarship offer.
Entering his first year of high school, Selah (SAY-luh) Brown did not anticipate playing varsity football. The powerful defensive end, who also spends some time as a running back, was just hoping to get healthy enough to get his feet wet on the football field following summer meniscus repair surgery.
“As I came back from my injury, I started practicing. I played like two freshman games to get it kicked off. I came back just in time for the playoffs. I experienced some stuff in the first game of the playoffs. I got in a little bit. I was like, okay, I’m getting the feel for varsity, big guys, showing up and doing big things,” Brown told KSR earlier this week.
Everything changed after one special teams play.
“As it proceeded, we got to the St. X game. I was put in on punt return and I had a big block. That’s when I got really rowdy. I like this varsity stuff. It’s really cool. All the student section and all the people there getting rowdy. It was really cool.”
Brown showed flashes in small doses. After all, he was just a freshman, and an inexperienced one at that. Little did he know that he was about to be thrown face-first into the fire.
“The week leading up to the state championship, we were watching film on them (Scott County). We were watching this one guy who was a four-star lineman. They were looking around and said, ‘We need somebody to go against this dude. You’re the only one,'” Brown recalled.
That one linemen was Bryan Hudson, a top ten offensive guard and ranked as the No. 149 player in America by 247 Sports.
“I knew I had to step up,” Selah said. “He’s a senior already committed to college. I’m just this freshman he doesn’t even know about.”
Hudson learned quickly who Selah Brown was.
“We got into the game. It was really cool playing at Kroger Field. It was a good atmosphere. I’d never played on a college field. As we got into the game, I started getting into a groove. I was jumping around just happy, jittery, just glad to be there in a state championship game,” Brown recalled.
“On the first drive we had a safety and once I pushed him back a few times, I was like, man, I got this dude this game. It’s going to be a fun game. He’s going to have a long time vs. me. He doesn’t even know I’m a freshman, but he’s going to get this work.”
Even though Brown did not show up in the box score, his contributions showed up on film and helped Male defeat Scott County 37-20 to win the 6A State Championship.
“It was really cool to be a freshman, hurt for most of the season, stepping up in a big role to play against a top prospect in the country, just standing my ground as a freshman.”
Brown was proud of his state championship game contributions, but quickly moved onto basketball. A varsity letterman, the 6’2″ 245-pound athlete also plays for Kenneth Faried’s Team Manimal on the Adidas Gauntlet AAU circuit.
“Last month I was just going to school and it was regular. Football season’s coming up in a couple weeks. I’m playing basketball right now. Then one day, Kentucky came in.”
One Monday afternoon Selah was called down to head coach Chris Wolfe’s office. Vince Marrow was waiting for him.
“I met Coach Marrow and talked to them. They gave an offer that day and it was really cool. It was my first college offer, from an SEC school. I was just like, wow, that’s crazy.”
It only got crazier.
“The next day Louisville offered me, Coach Dennison. I went on a visit there and I liked that. I like their school. It’s really good. As the week went on, Purdue came. I like them and their coaches. They really care about you. The next day after that, it was West Virginia. I was like, okay, I’m on to something.”
The influx of college scholarship offers was completely unexpected. He’s still somewhat at a loss of words to describe the situation. Brown just knows he can’t let the college attention get to his head.
“I still need to be humble,” he said. “Sometimes I think about it (college), but I don’t let it get the best of me because I’m still a freshman, of course. I have a lot of time to choose. It’s cool to talk about and think about colleges and stuff like that, but you really don’t want to get that deep into it. Me being a freshman, I still have a lot of time worrying about my next three years of high school football, rather than my freshman year of where I go to college, so I’m just focusing on what I need to do here to create my legacy here and leave here and go to any college I want to go to.”
On Monday Brown will attend Purdue’s football camp. Aside from that, he’s taking one step at a time. If he continues to improve at this rate, you’ll hear a lot more from Selah Brown over the next three years.