With the 2017 kickoff 78 days away, today we feature the reigning Big 12 Offensive Lineman of the Year Orlando Brown. Shortly after the 2016 regular season as most draft-eligible players around the country were making decisions on their NFL future, the ultra-talented Brown decided his evaluations from the pro scouts weren’t good enough and that a return to OU would be best for his future and taking care of some unfinished business in the college ranks.
After redshirting in 2014, Brown quickly ascended to become the starter at left tackle during the Sooners’ College Football Playoff run in 2015. The 6-8, 360-pound, redshirt junior returns to join the rest of OU’s starting five on the offensive line from 2016, as the next edition of the Sooners with Baker Mayfield at the helm hopes to pick up where last year’s team left off on the quest for more.
Brown, along with being named the conference’s best offensive lineman, also earned AP Second-Team All-America honors last season. Coming to OU as a raw but talented three-star recruit with great upside, Brown played his high school ball in Duluth, Georgia, and chose the Sooners over Tennessee and a multitude of offers from the SEC along with Clemson, Florida State and Ohio State. He began to immediately make an impact in Norman as a redshirt freshman in 2015 and paved the way all season for the Sooners’ balanced and explosive offense under Lincoln Riley.
From starting early on in his career to entering his third year anchoring the Sooners’ offensive line, Brown has grown into a dominant force at his position. This will more than likely be his last season at Oklahoma and with another solid year he’s sure to be a lock for the top 10 of the 2018 NFL Draft. Orlando Brown’s game and size compares favorably to many former greats who’ve played on the offensive line at Oklahoma, as he’s built in the giant, imposing frame of Phil Loadholt but has the athleticism and pure aggressiveness of Trent Williams and Jammal Brown — both former first round picks.
It was former All-American and Outland Trophy winner Jammal Brown who initially announced on Twitter that Orlando would indeed be returning to school next fall, and the two have a close relationship with Jammal growing into a mentor to Orlando through the years. Jammal Brown was a close friend of Orlando’s late father Zeus, who played in the NFL from 1993-2005. Berry Tramel of The Oklahoman chronicled the bond between Jammal and Orlando’s family in his piece before the 2015 season.
In it, Jammal Brown talks about being there for Orlando to guide him along on all things life, not just football.
“I had met Orlando way back in the day, because I worked some camps for his dad. I looked up to his dad, because his dad was a great player. I just put my time in with [Orlando] every day. More of the mental aspect of being a college student; you’ve got to know to do things the right way… From class to girls to how you live, how you’ve got to dress, how you need to look. Certain things like that. I kind of took him under my wing. Most important part is, he listens. I played in the NFL nine years. He really understands.”
With Jammal Brown’s influence guiding Orlando back to school and with a bright future ahead, the Sooners’ strongest unit is further bolstered by the return of one of the nation’s best at his position in 2017. Here’s a preview from Mark Rodgers TV on what we can expect from OU’s offensive line next season.