Jalen Brown has always played above his age level so it is only fitting he plans on being at the college of his choice this spring instead of waiting for the summer.

“It kind of popped up when someone mentioned it and it is something that would help me get a jump-start on my (college career),” Brown said. “A lot of people have done it and it is something that can really help.”

The Mountain Pointe in-coming senior is a great student, along with being one of the nation’s top recruits. He is taking some online summer course(s) in order to get all of his credits so he can get his diploma in December.

It’s a national trend that started awhile back, including Mountain Pointe Olympian Will Claye, who started his track career at Oklahoma in the spring so he graduated in December 2008, but it isn’t just about athletics.

Sarah Barnes, Brown’s mother, mentioned being able to transition to a new life — most likely out of state, away from the family, taking college level classes — under the less stressful time of spring ball and offseason training rather than during the fall in the midst of his first year playing at the college level.

Think about how hard it can be for some students to make that transition let alone an athlete trying to make sense of new a playbook, catch the coaching staff’s eyes, and finding a new group of friends while adjusting to the new surroundings.

Before Brown, a 6-2, 185-pound wide receiver, has to digest all of that he has to figure out where he will be doing it at come January.

Brown, who is a four-star recruit and ranked as the ninth best receiver in the nation by scout.com, has all of the offers that highly-touted football players want. From coast-to-coast. From spread-to-pro-set. From academic-settings to football-first programs.

It’s all there for Brown, except for the decision.

That is going to take research, but not too much time. He expects to narrow his list to a top eight soon and down to a top five before the season begins at the end of August when he starts taking official visits.

“I need to get it down to only a few schools and get it figured out,” Brown said. “I want to be able to play as much of my senior year knowing where I am going.”

He and his family recently returned from a trip back East that started with the Rivals 100 camp in Chicago. Brown tried participating despite a high-ankle sprain before eventually sitting out because he wasn’t at 100 percent.

From there they took to the road to visit Ohio State, Michigan, Michigan State and Wisconsin. He was impressed by Buckeye coach Urban Meyer and pleasantly surprised by the visit to Madison, Wis.

What does it all mean? Who knows? He is being tight lipped as he should be.

There will be more unofficial visits this summer (Oregon State, Oregon, Vanderbilt, Tennessee), the official ones in the fall and the decision once it becomes clear.

Brown will let that be known on his own time and that’s the way it should be. It’s a personal and family decision. Let it play out that way.

Right now, Brown’s first concern is getting healthy as he missed all three of the Pride’s 7-on-7 tournaments, including the championship at Northern Arizona last weekend.

He was at practice on Tuesday with a walking boot in his hand. He did all he could with a taped ankle in Chicago, but it just wasn’t going to happen.

So he is shut down for at least two weeks with expectation of reaching 100 percent before the season opener at Bishop Gorman on Aug. 23.

“It was frustrating because it was getting worse and worse,” Brown said. “I was expecting to be fully ready, but it wasn’t healing as I wanted it to. I probably wasn’t given the right rehab beforehand, but now I am on a good two weeks of rehab.”

It means Brown can concentrate on his online English class for awhile leading into his final year on the field before securing his diploma in December.

“I’ll be ready to go,” he said.

• Contact writer: (480) 898-7915 or jskoda@ahwatukee.com. Follow him on Twitter @JSkodaAFN.

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