University of Miami offensive line coach Stacy Searels told reporters last spring to spread the word.
“Tell every tackle in America,” Searels said, “if he wants to play, come to Miami. We need him. We need more tackles. We definitely need more tackles.”
Not sure if 6-7, 283-pound George Brown Jr., was listening, but exactly five months later, on Aug. 31, the Hurricanes announced that Brown had transferred to Miami after spending his first season at LSU.
Brown, 20, who redshirted at LSU, told reporters Friday in his first UM interview that after he got his release to transfer, the schools that offered him were Oregon, Oklahoma, Michigan State, Penn State and Miami.
After spending all this season on the Hurricanes’ scout team, Brown has been practicing at second-team left tackle behind Kc McDermott during bowl practices to give him a head start before the spring. NCAA transfer rules require that players going to an FBS school sit out an entire season, thus Brown won’t be allowed to go with the team to Orlando for the Russell Athletic Bowl on Dec. 28 against West Virginia.
Brown, from Cincinnati, was a four-star Rivals.com prospect and rated three stars by the other major recruiting services, including 247Sports and ESPN. He said he knew Searels from being recruited by Virginia Tech when Searels was there, and that coach Mark Richt also recruited him at Georgia.
“I knew that they needed some help and I’m just here to help,” said Brown, who added it “wasn’t a good fit over there at LSU. Nothing wrong with the program or anything like that.”
UM running backs coach/offensive coordinator Thomas Brown (no relation), was asked recently if Brown would be a high-impact player.
“He better be,” Brown said. “We brought him in for a reason.”
Richt and Searels have both noted that Brown needs to put on some muscle and get physically more imposing, but they believe that will come.
“He’s got athleticism,” Searels said. “He’s got length. We’ve got to get him stronger and I think he’ll be a player.”
The Hurricanes are now without right tackle Sunny Odogwu, who is still wearing a boot after undergoing surgery in October to repair a broken lower leg. Sophomore Tyree St. Louis took over Odogwu’s spot.
Former starting left tackle Trevor Darling had been out with a knee injury, and McDermott slid one spot over from left guard to left tackle.
Among Brown’s competition next season will be expected signee Navaughn Donaldson, a four-star prospect from Miami Central.
“I really like the team and where we are headed,” Brown said. “I feel like the offensive line has gotten a lot better throughout the season and like we are going to do great things next year.”
He said he also likes the environment.
“It’s a beautiful campus,” Brown said. “Great weather. If I was back home in Cincinnati right now it would be snowing. I definitely like the weather.”
▪ The Hurricanes had a closed practice and no media availability Sunday. They continue practicing on campus Monday for the bowl game.