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November 17, 2009MURRIETA, Calif. - Opposing coaches have compared Vista Murrieta junior Derrick Brown's game to Tim Tebow's style of play. It's only fitting that Brown, who will be one of California's top prospects in 2011, views the Florida quarterback as his role model.
"I admire Tim Tebow," said Brown, a 6-foot-3, 230-pound dual-threat quarterback who has thrown for more than 1,000 yards and rushed for more than 600 so far this season. "He's tough. He's tenacious. When he's hurt, he doesn't let the defense know. He runs the ball really hard, and he also has touch on his passes. I try to be like him with my play.
"I study Tim Tebow and what he does even when he's off the field. I really model how he is a leader. When he doesn't have the ball, what does he do? When he does have the ball, what does he do? I look at how he controls his offense. Those are all things I try to emulate with my game."
Vista coach Coley Candaele admits Brown has a long way to go before anybody can truly compare him to Tebow, but the coach can also see why the talk is there.
"The similarities are the fact that they're both big kids that think of themselves more of a running back than necessarily a quarterback," Candaele said. "Derrick likes contact. He likes to hit. He's 6-3, 230. Those qualities make you think of Tim Tebow's game. He's not quite to that level yet. But he's somebody that Derrick looks up to that plays a similar game."
Candaele saw potential in Brown early.
The Vista staff moved him to quarterback late in his freshman season and started him as a sophomore, and the results speak for themselves. Vista won the Southwestern League this season, and they open the Inland Division CIF Southern Section playoffs on Friday night against Corona Santiago as one of the division's top seeds. Brown has had big games both through the air and on the ground, including four-touchdown performances against Santiago and Palos Verdes Peninsula.
"He was a varsity basketball player as a freshman, so we knew he could move," Candaele said. "He has a gun for an arm. It's just a natural transition and position to play. I think he would have preferred to play defense, but he's really started to dive into his role as a quarterback.
"You just don't know how kids are going to develop, but the sky's the limit for him. The more he understands about the game of football, the better he's going to get. As he learns the quarterback position and understands why things happen the way they do, he's going to get better and better."
Brown is already good enough to be on the recruiting radars of UCLA, Oregon and USC, and he admits he grew up a big fan of the Trojans.
"Oregon, UCLA and USC have been sending me mail," Brown said. "I grew up a fan of USC because of their tradition and all the great players that have come out of USC and gone on to the next level. I just hope somebody is going to give me an opportunity to make an impact on the next level."
TRYING TIMES IN SOUTH BEND
After Notre Dame's loss to Pittsburgh last weekend, the talk from both local and national media about Charlie Weis losing his job has intensified. Because of that talk, rival schools have done all they can to try and change the minds of players already committed to the Irish or those thinking hard about Notre Dame.
Five-star defensive end Chris Martin is Notre Dame's top committed recruit, but he took an official visit to Oklahoma this past weekend. Martin hasn't talked to any reporters since his return to Norman, but other prospects that were at Oklahoma over the weekend said they got the impression that Martin wasn't going to end up at Notre Dame. Martin has also talked in the past about taking visits to Cal, Florida, Tennessee, USC and UCLA.
The good news is that a majority of the Irish's class seems to be holding on their pledges for the most part. Quarterback recruit Andrew Hendrix and safety Chris Badger both told IrishIllustrated.com that they don't have any plans on changing their minds.
"It's a very difficult situation," Badger said. "But my plan is to be enrolled and starting classes Jan. 12. Unless something extremely horrific happens, I don't think that [plan is] going to change. I hope he stays and everything, but I love Notre Dame and want to be a part of it. I plan on being there in January, hopefully with Coach Weis."
THE POWER OF FLORIDA
Florida is a national program that can go deep into the heart of another region and land a major prospect.
The Gators did that on Tuesday when they landed the nation's No. 3 cornerback in Joshua Shaw of Palmdale, Calif.
Shaw's recruitment was one of the most interesting recruiting stories of the season. He started out as a player many thought would be a Pac-10 recruit, but then he exploded with a spring to remember. Shaw impressed at every camp, combine and 7-on-7 tournament he attended and quickly rocketed up the rankings. He landed offers from many national programs, including Notre Dame, LSU, Ohio State, USC and Florida.
He took visits to Ohio State, Notre Dame, LSU and Florida, and Ohio State, Florida and USC emerged as the teams to beat. It appeared he would end up at either USC, the school 70 miles from his house, or Ohio State, the place he fell in love with on his official visit.
"I pretty much felt like Ohio State was the leader," Shaw said. "I probably wasn't looking too much at the big picture. I was wrapped up in the atmosphere, which you should never do. Looking back at it now, that's probably what it was."
Enter Florida coach Urban Meyer, who personally took over Shaw's recruitment. After a seemingly unimpressive official visit to Gainesville, Meyer convinced Shaw to make a return visit to Florida. The second visit paid off, and Shaw decided Florida was the place for him.
"Really even prior to my visit, ever since they offered me, Meyer has been my personal recruiter," Shaw said. "He was the only head coach out of all my offers who personally recruited me. I talk to him just about every day. I'm closer with him than I am with any other coach in the country, and that's huge for me."
Corona (Calif.) Centennial defensive end Lee Adams has become one of the hottest prospects in Los Angeles. The 6-2, 240-pound three-star defensive end has had a "phenomenal senior season," Centennial coach Matt Logan said, and offers have started to materialize. Adams has already landed offers from UNLV and UTEP, but others schools such as Iowa State, Fresno State, Utah and Washington State are also interested.
Groveport (Ohio) Madison running back Leveon Bell says Colorado has entered the mix of schools interested and could offer a scholarship as soon as this week. Bell is set for an officially visit to Bowling Green on Dec. 4.
USC remains the school to beat for Corona, Calif., four-star safety Demetrius Wright. But at his recent U.S. Army All-American selection ceremony, his father said he would love to see his son leave the state and attend either Washington or Tennessee.
USC also made recruiting news late last week when it offered a scholarship to Huntington Beach (Calif.) Edison linebacker Jordan Zumwalt. The Stanford commitment also landed an offer recently from UCLA. "I'm considering both offers and considering taking visits," Zumwalt said. "I would probably like to visit both schools."