Waxahachie senior LaDarius Brown is different.
Waxahachie athletic director David Ream opened the front office of Waxahachie High School Wednesday morning for Brown to sign his National Letter of Intent with Texas Christian University in front of a large group of family and friends.
Completely committed to TCU, Brown showed up to the event wearing a purple TCU hat and purple shorts while snow flurries danced around outside like the 6-foot-2 senior did for three years on the football field for the Indians.
“It means a lot for my family to get out of bed on a day like today just to come see me sign. It means a whole lot,” Brown said.
Wednesday was National Signing Day, the first day for high school players to sign with Division I schools, but with ice all over the roads most schools postponed the ceremonial event until school was back in session.
Not Ream, not for LaDarius Brown.
Brown started at receiver and defensive back for the Indians the last three seasons and was considered the No. 1 recruit in the Dallas-Fort Worth area and No. 53 in the nation by Rivals.com. He was the university’s top recruit this season despite not playing football until his sophomore year.
“I think this gives him an opportunity to go to a first class program,” Ream said. “I feel like he can compete at any level and of course everybody else does too with all the attention he has received. This gives him a chance to play in front of family and friends who can make the trip to Fort Worth who might not have been able to make the trip somewhere else. It is an exciting time for him and it gives our program a chance to go watch him play and watch him on TV.”
TCU, Baylor and Texas A&M were the top-three schools on Brown’s list entering the 2010 season and once the season was complete he verbally committed to TCU without taking an official visit.
After committing to wear purple next season for the Horned Frogs, Brown took his first visit and enjoyed the school and his time with head football coach Gary Patterson.
“When I went down there I sat down and talked with him,” Brown said. “Everything went good and he said I can play receiver. He said he could not promise me I would play my freshman year but if I get in there and work hard I probably can.”
Verbal commitments are non-binding and Brown’s to TCU did not keep other schools from stepping up their effort to land the state’s seventh best prospect.
Baylor made several attempts to sway Brown to forget Fort Worth and head to Waco next season and attended several of his basketball games to do it.
In the end his verbal commitment was as binding as the National Letter of Intent he signed Wednesday.
“We tell them that if you commit to somebody, that means you commit to somebody,” Ream said. “There is a lot of people who came in and tried to sway him a little bit but he honored his commitment. He developed a bond with the recruiting coach from TCU and I think he realizes this is a great place for him to showcase his abilities in a great program.”
Brown was named the District 15-4A Offensive MVP after his senior season with the Indians and will help TCU make the transition into its new stadium and the Big East Conference.
“When they first started recruiting him they said that he was a good player on both sides of the ball and they said they will let him play where he wants to. They recruited him as an athlete and will let him play where he wants. He would really like to play offense and he is a game breaker on that side of the ball but he could play either successfully,” Ream said.
Recruited by Alabama, Auburn, Baylor, Nebraska, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas A&M and Texas Tech among other schools, TCU’s Patterson said he was excited to land the Waxahachie playmaker.
“We are excited. I know he is a national recruit but I am more excited about the kind of person that he is, what he will bring to this team and this university as a person and then the type of player he is,” Patterson said.
“He has a very top high-end. We graduated five receivers and so we had to go out and get five more. He has the possibility to be a guy who can play early, but we will see that as we get down the road and get in to summer time and then two-a-days. His family is a class act and Waxahachie High School treated us with the utmost respect. It was just fun to add Waxahachie into our family.”
Brown joins a class of 24 players who signed their National Letter of Intent to play for TCU on Wednesday. Scout.com ranked the class as No. 23 in the nation with all 24 players being ranked three stars or better.
“We have had some good players but I think that this class has more of the top of the line guys in it as a big group,” Patterson said. “For us, I am excited about knowing they are ranked high. But more importantly, because of the type of people and the work ethic they have, they have a chance to turn out. Our class that just graduated from here was rated very low but they won 44 ballgames in four years. If this group here can start at a higher end and end at a higher end that means we are going to be a lot better. It will be up to us, them and I to be able to get all of that stuff done.”
While his action on the field spoke volumes, Brown has not had a lot to say to the media or scouts during the recruiting process.
One good sign that he has found the perfect fit with Patterson and TCU is the fact that Brown was comfortable enough to open up on his visits with the coach.
“He is kind of quiet but once you get around him a little bit it’s fun to be around him. He is very respectable. He is just a great kid,” Patterson said.
“We are very excited about having him around everyday. There are people you just like to be around and he is one of those guys. I was real excited about the opportunity to let him have a chance to be a part of our family here at TCU.”