When Orlando Brown Jr. arrived in Duluth, Ga., three years ago and visited the Peachtree Ridge High football offices, he barely fit through the doors.
“There's something about Georgia with smaller doorways,” Brown said with a laugh Wednesday.
Peachtree coach Mark Fleetwood took one look at the 6-foot-8 giant and didn't mince words.
“Son, how much do you weigh?” Fleetwood asked.
Brown said 380 pounds. His new coach shot back, “Don't B.S. me. How much do you weigh?”
The correct answer was closer to 440 pounds, nearly 100 pounds more than he weighed Wednesday, when Brown was the biggest — literally and figuratively — surprise in an Oklahoma signing class that also gained four-star offensive tackle Kenyon Frison and four-star receiver Michiah Quick.
Brown had been committed to Tennessee since last spring, but changed his mind Wednesday morning and faxed his National Letter of Intent to Bob Stoops and the Oklahoma coaching staff. Signing with OU completed a long journey that has included an impressive body transformation, dozens of scholarship offers and the painful death of his famous father, which remains Brown's chief motivation to this day.
“Through it all, I feel I kept a level head,” Brown said. “I stayed humble. I worked hard. I feel as though this Oklahoma opportunity definitely shows that it paid off.”
If Brown's name sounds familiar, it's because he shares it with his father, former Cleveland Browns offensive lineman Orlando Brown, who was hit in the eye by an official's flag in 1999, missed an entire season while recovering and sued the NFL for damages.
The elder Brown went into the restaurant business in Baltimore after retiring from football, but died of complications from diabetes in September 2011.