One of the stars in Virginia’s 2014 football recruiting class joined some prestigious company Wednesday.
Defensive tackle Andrew Brown was named the Gatorade national player of the year during a ceremony held at Oscar Smith High School in Chesapeake, Va. He is just the third defensive player, and the third player from the state of Virginia, to win the award since its advent in 1985.
Other notable past recipients include Emmitt Smith, Peyton Manning, Tim Couch and Joe Mauer. The only Virginians to receive the award are quarterback Ronald Curry (1998) and former Virginia tailback Terry Kirby (1989).
Brown, a five-star recruit, has already signed a grant-in-aid with the Cavaliers that will allow him to enroll in school before National Signing Day in February and participate in spring practice. Virginia is one of two schools in the country — Alabama is the other — with oral commitments from two top-10 recruits in the class of 2014.
Virginia Coach Mike London raved about Brown ahead of the Cavaliers’ penultimate game of the regular season at Miami, calling him “an immediate pass-rushing threat” at the college level.
Brown has 93 tackles, 18 sacks and six fumble recoveries this season. Oscar Smith will face Centreville in the Virginia AAA Division 6 state championship game for the second time in three years Saturday in Charlottesville.
“You don’t want to anoint a high school guy as being ‘The guy,’ ” London said about Brown last month. “He still has to go against college-aged offensive linemen that’ll be fourth- and fifth-year guys, but you do look at a skill level and a skill set that this young man possesses that you can see why he’s as good as advertised.”
Before signing a grant-in-aid last month, Brown’s father reached out to Virginia Athletic Director Craig Littlepage and received assurances that London would remain head coach next season despite the Cavaliers’ 2-10 record in 2013. Brown gave an oral commitment to Virginia in July.
Virginia Beach safety Quin Blanding, another five-star recruit, has already given an oral commitment to Virginia and declared himself “100 percent committed” when asked about the situation last month.