The latest addition to LSU’s current football recruiting Class of 2021 – Naquan Brown – may be the Tigers’ best story to date.
Brown, a four-star prospect regarded as the nation’s No. 11 weak side defensive end, detailed a difficult struggle Wednesday about making it out of his Virginia Beach, Va. hometown to LSU where he committed during an impactful two-minute video he released on social media.
“The biggest worry my mom had was that I would get caught up in the wrong crowd and get in some trouble,” Brown said. “I took a different route. I saw that sports would be a way out.”
Brown described a stressful path that resulted in either death or incarceration for a lot of his friends, including the gun death of an undisclosed friend prior to high school.
“That made me work harder to achieve my goal,” he said of the incident.
The 6-foot-3, 205-pound Brown, the nation’s No. 194 overall prospect and No. 7 in Virginia, avoided the aforementioned pitfalls, rose to prominence as one of the nation’s top prospects at Ocean Lakes High where he recorded 70 tackles, 11 tackles for loss and 12 sacks in 2019.
Brown narrowed down his finalists to LSU, Virginia Tech, Miami, Pittsburgh and Tennessee.
“The connection between me and (LSU head coach Ed) O (Orgeron) and the whole staff is really good,” Brown said in an interview with Rivals.com. “I talked to (LSU defensive coordinator) coach (Bo) Pelini) and (LSU defensive line) coach (Bill) Johnson and it’s a great connection between us. They showed it with interest. They showed they wanted me.”
The 13th commitment for LSU enabled the Tigers to retain its No. 9 national ranking according to 247Sports.
Orgeron and his staff continued to shape the future of the defensive end/outside linebacker position when Brown joined fellow commitments Landon Jackson (6-6, 240) of Texarkana, Texas and Saivion Jones (6-5, 240) of St. James.
“I think the greatest thing he can do is get after the quarterback,” Ocean Lakes head coach Mike Alston told Rivals.com. “I think that’s what every college in America can see in him. His first step is probably the quickest in the country. I think he has a lot of room to grow because of his body frame.”
Brown’s commitment video also showed someone with a lot of poise and maturity, having to grow up in a single-parent household with several other siblings and meals weren’t always in abundance.
He described that way of life as a rallying cry to make it out and achieve his dreams of going to college and playing football.
“I saw how my mom and family struggled,” he said. “I wanted to do my part, so I focused all of my energy on football.”
Because of the coronavirus pandemic which curtailed on-campus recruiting, Brown’s recruiting process hasn’t followed a very traditional path. While he was able to make unofficial visits to Penn State, Pitt and Virginia Tech before the COVID-19 health scare, Brown relied on an virtual tour of LSU in May to learn all he could about the reigning national champions, who offered him a scholarship last May.
“During that Zoom visit it looked like and felt like home to me,” Brown told Rivals.com. “I’m very excited and ready to get down there as soon as possible.”