TAMPA – Hillsborough rising senior RB/DB Anthony Brown has always considered himself a football player first, but this spring he realized that track and field can pay off.
In his first season running track, Brown placed third in the 3A state meet in the 100 meters in 10.67. His track debut ended up becoming the best thing to happen to his football recruiting. He received his first offer from Ball State days after the state meet, and since has built on a list that currently includes Indiana, Iowa State, Ball State, Bowling Green, Washington State, UAB, Ohio and Western Michigan.
Before a workout this week, the Terriers speedster sat down with Times staff writer Eduardo A. Encina to talk about becoming a Division I-A recruit, winning bragging rights and bringing Hillsborough back to prominence.
How did you end up running track?
Our track coach (Joe Sipp) is also a football coach. One day at practice, I was racing another kid who was supposed to be the fastest on the team and I beat him. So he said I should come out. So I said I might as well. It would keep me in shape. It just happened to be a big success. I never would have imagined that. I knew I was fast but I never thought it would be like that.
Who was the fastest guy on the team?
They thought it was (WR and East Carolina recruit) Charles Lovett. I beat Charles. Then they thought (CB) Jeremiah Green was fast, but I beat him in track.
What’s the coolest part of the whole recruiting process?
It’s just cool for a college to come all the way down here to Tampa and want to talk to you. That feels cool to me, like somebody knows about you around the world. And they want you to come to their school and give you a full scholarship. Track has helped a lot. It helped a lot because every time I meet a recruiter they say, ‘I hear you’re fast,’ so that’s the first thing they see. It helps a lot.
What position are most schools looking at you at, defensive back or running back?
Most schools are looking at me as a DB, some at running back. It doesn’t matter what I play in college. If I had to choose, I’d choose offense.
What was it like getting your first offer, which came from Ball State, last month?
When I was a sophomore, me and my homeboys would talk how we couldn’t wat to get our first offer. When mine finally came, I didn’t even know what to say. It didn’t seem real. After that first one, they kept coming.
What’s the offer you’d like to get by the fall?
USF…I'd like to get them, LSU, Florida, Florida State.
Hillsborough is in a tough district this year. How do you make sure your class is the one that can really bring the program back to prominence.
Last year, we lost to Plant, Armwood and Jefferson, all teams that went to state, but we could have beaten those teams. We were two plays away from beating them. If we just cut down on the turnovers, we’ll be alright. We’re going to compete this year. This is a school with tradition. You should be proud to be a part of the Big Red and have that H on your helmet.
-- EDUARDO A. ENCINA (email@example.com; Twitter: @EddieHometeam)