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August 2, 2005

Dream come true

COLUMBUS, Ind. - After all the anticipation, the 6-foot, 197-pound defensive back Steve Brown, standing next to his family and coaches, wanted to let everyone know all together where he was headed for his college years because this decision woule become something he knew he would never forget.

When his teammates filed into the room, along with reporters and his mother and father, the four-star Rivals100 cornerback knew this moment was big. As the Michigan flag came down from the desk and the gold hat went on, the smiles went from ear to ear.

Brown smiled because he never expected any of this to happen.

"I'm loving every minute of it," Brown said about his public decision. "Not too many kids come out of Columbus East High School and play big D-1 ball like this. I thought I'd be going JUCO and trying to work my way up to the bigger schools."

"Now, I'm going to play for the college I grew up watching."

The excitement in the room during his press conference at his high school Monday afternoon was all around with his parents standing by his side and his coach looking at his star player make one of the biggest decisions of his life.

Coach Bob Gaddis, like Brown, was not exactly sure it was going to be anything of this magnitude when they first spoke about recruiting.

"I think it was back in December when I asked Steve and his dad to come into my office," Gaddis said about their first conversation on the topic of colleges. "I said I thought a lot of recruiters would come calling, but I don't think we could have imagined it would have been this way."

Gaddis also added that Brown exemplified what many top notch high school athletes should strive to be like when faced with all of the attention and opportunity. The way this process was handled was no surprise to the coach.

What was a surprise to Gaddis was that arguably one of his best football players ever to come out of the high school made his decision early - that was a first.

"I've never had a kid make his decision before the season," Gaddis said. "Steve was the first. I think today in big time Division I athletics, schools have to get the best athletes to commit early and Steve falls into that category."

Brown's father, George Brown stood next to his son while he answered questions from the media that afternoon. One thing that was clear was that this proud parent knew his son was headed for big things.

"It's amazing really," Brown said about his son's commitment to Michigan. "We're already working on times to get up and see the games. The biggest thing for us was that we were here with him every step of the way but really it was his decision."

Even though it was his decision, Brown jokes that his father kind of expected the direction he chose.

"When I told my dad he just said, 'I think you made a good choice and that's what I figured,'" Brown said.

Now with a commitment in the books, the No. 4 rated cornerback in the country can finally get back to focusing on his last year of football without the worry of all the attention any longer.

At least, that's what he thinks will happen.

"I don't have to worry about reporters calling now," he said. "I'm very relieved. Hopefully the mail stops but you never know on that."

The No. 2, which was worn my Wolverine great Charles Woodson will now be the same number that Brown suits up with for Michigan.


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