MP’s Brown making impact as freshman - Ahwatukee Foothills News: Sports

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MP’s Brown making impact as freshman

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Posted: Friday, November 12, 2010 2:00 pm

It would be unfair to project where Jalen Brown might be three seasons from now, but it sure would be fun.

The Mountain Pointe freshman phenom even does it to a point. He'll see a picture like the one with this story and he sees the same play being made in a college uniform and maybe even an NFL jersey.

It's great to dream, especially when there is a fabric of truth to it.

"I see what I can be in the future, how much better I can be and I want to rise up to my expectations," Brown said this week. "I don't think about it a lot. I kind of let it come as it goes."

Brown's immediate future is playing safety and some wide receiver for the Pride as No. 5 Mountain Pointe (8-2) heads into the first-round of the Class 5A Division I playoffs when No. 12 Mesa Red Mountain (6-4) comes to Karl Kiefer Stadium for a 7 p.m. kickoff.

"It is going to be fun playing in the playoffs," he said. "It is going to be more serious and like a job."

Brown has been with the program since a 7-on-7 tournament in June after the family moved to the area from Tempe. From that point on Mountain Pointe coach Norris Vaughan knew he had someone special who would make an impact from the start.

"The thing with a freshman is, can he handled it physically and we knew he could so then it was could he handle it emotionally?" Vaughan said. "I talked to him and his parents before we put him in some of these situations and we moved on from there."

Vaughan said he has played a handful of freshmen, Brown's classmate Natrel Curtis saw time on the offensive line before knee surgery ended his season, but not many. He isn't against it; it is just rare to find someone completely ready.

"If they can play, play them," he said. "I don't care how big you are, how little you are, what color you are or what grade you are in. It's like applying for a job. If you can do the job, it is yours."

The 6-foot-1, 170-pound Brown played only offense the first two games, he is second on the team with 16 catches for 178 yards, and then moved to the defensive side of the ball against Chandler Basha. He made a bone-jarring hit against the Bears, but came away with a rib injury.

He missed or played sparingly in the next three games, but since then Brown has been pressed into action the last four games of the regular season because of injuries and demotions. Brown has six interceptions, including three against Mesa Westwood and two against Marcos de Niza, in that span.

"We knew he was a great athlete," Vaughan said. "But he is as good a safety as I have ever had as a freshman. It is kind of scary. He understands the game incredibly well as a freshman. He judges the ball like no one I have ever had before."

He's had some help in that area as his stepdad is former University of Arizona and NFL safety Chuck Levy.

"He has done a lot for me and taught me a lot about football and the NFL," said Brown, whose father, Adrian, played basketball at Western Kentucky and Arizona State. "It is definitely an advantage that other kids don't have. I plan on using his experience wisely."

Brown, who has already played summer ball with the Pride basketball team, is in honor classes, made an impact on the football team and is about to experience his first postseason high school game.

It is a lot to handle as a freshman, but it just adds to the intrigue toward his development. It lends to the projections of where he might be at this time in 2014.

How big will he be then? What position - quarterback, wide receiver, safety, cornerback - will he be playing? Will basketball become the sport he gets more heavily recruited in?

On and on and on.

It's impossible to know, but Brown is just as excited as anyone else.

"I hope I get to be 6-4 or 6-5," he said. "It is something to think about, but I am working on getting better now and let the future come to me."

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