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June 14, 2013Jalen Brown's week was about what you'd expect for a four-star prospect visiting various college campuses. The Phoenix (Ariz.) Mountain Pointe receiver spent the last few days gallivanting around the upper Midwest. He hit Ohio State. He checked out both Michigan and Michigan State and finished up at Wisconsin.
For the most part, everything was standard. There were tours. There were recruiting pitches. There were depth charts and graduation rates discussed. The status quo lasted right up until he missed his flight home. Brown was stuck in Chicago overnight, but no matter. He'll tell you the perspective he gained on the trip was worth the momentary frustration.
He doesn't mince words when he talks about his experience in Big 10 country. He's most forthright when it comes to discussing the differences between the Wolverine and Spartan programs, which he was able to compare side by side.
"It was different at Michigan," Brown said. "They didn't show that they needed me too much. It was more about me being a valuable player. They seem pretty set at receiver. With Michigan State, they kind of showed that they needed me there. It was more being honest with how they see me and what they are trying to do. They have really good people there, and they were trying to show that to me."
Brown's visit to Ohio State featured the most interaction with coaches. According to him, the Buckeyes' staff was heavily involved in everything he did on campus. The chats were long and the tours were encompassing. He declined to say whether or not the trip etched Ohio State's name into his top five, but when he describes the experience, it seems as though the Buckeyes hold a favorable standing.
"It went good," Brown said. "I had a great talk with all the coaches, including Urban Meyer. I got to tour the campus and see the huge stadium they have. I got a lot of valuable information about what their plans are for me.
"They're saying that they have about seven scholarship receivers. I'm graduating early, so they said that if I come in January, they are going to try to prepare me to come in and start. They aren't going to rush anything with me, but they think I can have an impact on the team."
As for Wisconsin, Brown, the 50th-ranked player in the 2014 class, admits he arrived skeptical. In retrospect, he doesn't mind admitting that the Badgers were the recipients of a courtesy visit of sorts.
But as he spent more time getting to know the school and the town that hosts it, a funny thing happened.
"They changed my outlook about Wisconsin," Brown said. "I had great talks with their coaching staff. It wasn't at all like what I thought it was. I was just going there because it was family and trying to see what it was like because I have family there. But when they showed me what they are trying to do and they showed me I was at the top of their boards, they changed my mind. They stood out for me."
More than 26 schools have offered Brown a scholarship. And while each of them is technically alive in his recruitment as things stand now, that will change shortly. He hopes to trim his list to just eight sometime next week and will narrow it to five "sometime in July."
From there, he'll plot his official visits. And while NCAA bylaws allow him five, he won't be taking all of them. The process will be swift.
"I'm probably only going to take two or three officials," Brown said. "With timing and my football season, it would be kind of tough to take all five. I have to decide if I am going to take any more unofficials, like Oregon or Tennessee."
Brown, the No. 4 wide receiver in America, will graduate from Mountain Pointe in December and is expected to choose in the fall. He offers no favorites and won't say if there are schools that will definitely appear on his final list.