Orlando Brown Jr. is not only one of the biggest recruits in the nation by size, but he is also one of the country’s biggest in stature. Better known as Zeus II, Brown is a 6-foot-8, 345-pound offensive lineman who is unquestionably going to be the gem of any program’s recruiting class.
He claims to have already received a whopping 42 scholarship offers and he has not even played a game yet as a senior. Needless to say, any team in the country would gladly have him aboard, but the big man has reportedly narrowed down his list to seven favorites. All of the familiar, big names are there, with one exception and one glaring omission.
Alabama, Arkansas, South Carolina, Ohio State, Michigan, Oklahoma and Iowa comprise Brown’s top choices, according to Michael Carvell of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Alabama has brought in the the top recruiting class in five of the last six years. With so many national title rings, recruiting the nation’s very best has almost become child’s play for coach Nick Saban. Arkansas is planning on going with a power running game under former Wisconsin coach Bret Bielema, and that puts the onus on giant bodies and putting those bodies into the NFL.
Oklahoma and South Carolina also regularly bring in elite guys and out of the Big Ten, Michigan and Ohio State are pretty much always the only two schools mentioned in any recruiting conversation.
That leaves Iowa. Coach Kirk Ferentz is the conference’s longest-tenured coach, and he is signed through 2020. However, his coaching seat has begun to warm up in recent years. The Hawkeyes have enjoyed diminishing returns in each of the last three seasons since winning the Orange Bowl in 2009, culminating in a putrid, 4-8 2012 campaign.
However, Brown’s father, aka Zeus, played for Ferentz back in the day, and little Zeus is not taking that for granted.
“Coach (Kirk) Ferentz is a great coach, and I have a lot of coaching ties, as far as him coaching my dad when he played for Cleveland and the Ravens in the 90s,” Brown told Carvell. “I know he’s a great coach, I know he puts his offensive linemen in the NFL.”
Finally, the glaring omission: The Duluth, Georgia native does not have his home-state Bulldogs among his current finalists.
“Yes, they’re not among the seven,” Brown confirmed. “But that’s not to say I have taken my eyes off them, or haven’t given them a chance. I just feel like these are the top schools that I guess fit me best and are my favorites. That’s what I feel.”
If anything has been learned in the recruiting game over the last few years, it is to always expect the unexpected. With so many eyes on the big man and a father who has “been there, done that”, Zeus II could wind up flipping his entire list of finalists between now and when a final decision is actually needed.
Or not. The Orlando Brown could wind up in Big Ten country. A commitment to go to Iowa would be a massive (literally and figuratively) coup for Ferentz’ staff, which has struggled in keeping up with the trends and increasingly cutthroat competition.