I sat in Norris Vaughan’s football office in August of 2010, just a month after taking the job at the AFN, when all the veteran coach wanted to talk about was this freshman he had coming into the program.
I remember the quote, although it may not be exact it has very much come true: “By the time he is a senior, he will be one of the most recruited players in the nation.”
Vaughan doesn’t say things like that very often, but he will play anyone who gives him a chance to win.
Jalen Brown is a senior now.
He has rewritten the Mountain Pointe record book and has offers from more than 30 top-notch programs. He will most likely end up at Oregon, Ohio State, Oregon State, Vanderbilt or Wisconsin.
And yet critics, unfortunately, yes, there are nameless, message board posters who criticize high school kids, wonder where he was in the Bishop Gorman game.
He was the guy who broke up the potential first-down catch to the top-ranked 2015 tight end on Gorman’s first drive of the game with a big hit, forced a three-and-out and gave momentum to Mountain Pointe to start the game.
He was the guy being bracketed all game, allowing for the running game and third receiver Timmy Hernandez to break out, by two defenders.
He was the guy who didn’t have one single practice at 100 percent not only because of the high ankle sprained that bothered him all summer but also because a secondary injury popped up. And yet still played every snap (I believe) of the game.
He was the guy who stayed within the team structure despite the glare of a national audience.
“He was doing exactly what we asked him to do,” Vaughan said on Monday. “He wasn’t standing around on defense. They had two fast receivers and a great tight end. We needed him back there in case someone broke loose.
“He is a great player. We threw to him a couple of other times but didn’t connect or we got sacked on passes designed for him.”
It’s hard to believe he is already down to a handful (he’s expecting 13 more) of games in his Mountain Pointe career.
I swear I was just in Vaughan’s office talking about this skinny phenom and here is getting ready to make his college decision in a few months (November or so is the plan), graduate in December and start taking classes in the spring.
Contact writer: (480) 898-7915 or JSkoda@ahwatukee.com. Follow him on Twitter @JSkodaAFN.