ATHENS — Marlon Brown played some defense in high school, but his destiny was always on offense. And not just because he was built like a receiver.
“I hate tackling,” Brown said. “I hate tackling anybody. I don’t care how big or small you are, I’m not gonna tackle you.”
Apparently something changes for Brown when he’s on the other side of the ball. He is Georgia’s best blocking receiver, and he doesn’t mind making a catch in traffic, as he showed in a recent scrimmage.
But Brown has shown a bit more than just a tenacious attitude, which is why he has put himself in good position to get some passes thrown his way once the season starts.
Georgia is looking for some receiver options opposite A.J. Green. Tavares King is suspended for the opener, and Rantavious Wooten (knee injury) is a question mark.
At 6-foot-5, Brown offers a big target. He also has an intriguing résumé: a Parade All-American in 2008, the Mr. Football in the state of Tennessee and the nation’s No. 5 receiving prospect according to Rivals.com.
He didn’t do much as a true freshman, getting just two catches, both against Tennessee. But in a scrimmage last week he made noise, hauling in an Aaron Murray pass near the goal line while being sandwiched by a couple of defenders.
“He gets cold-cocked, but he holds onto the ball,” offensive coordinator Mike Bobo said. “That’s happened two or three times. He’s shown a knack of making tough catches.”
Brown smiled when asked about the scrimmage catch.
“It seemed like a regular catch,” he said.
He was moved to receiver in the ninth grade in his native Memphis. But even then he didn’t think football was his sport.
“I didn’t even like football,” Brown said. “I was a basketball guy. Then around my 10th grade year, I said, ‘Man I’m done with football, I’m just gonna play basketball.’ Then I kinda thought about it and started playing my junior year, and people said, ‘Wow.’ I said, ‘I’m gonna get pretty good at this, I better stick at it.’ ”
Or to put it another way, he realized he had a future in it.
“Pretty much,” Brown said.
Now, he says he loves the sport. Georgia receivers coach Tony Ball called Brown a “very conscientious young man” who takes coaching well. Ball added “smart” to that; Brown made the Dean’s List his first summer at Georgia.
But the word that keeps coming up with Brown is physical. Now he’s adding route-running to that.
“He’s not as robotic running his routes,” Bobo said. “He had a lot to learn, and he’s worked extremely hard. I’m really pleased with his attitude and effort in practice.”