In 2015 when Texas linebacker Malik Jefferson was coming out of Poteet high school in Mesquite; I thought to myself that I may never get another chance to see a high school player that freakish or with as much upside as Jefferson at the linebacker position again. Surely I wouldn’t come across another high school linebacker who possessed the capability to throw down such freaky testing numbers.
“How many linebackers can you immediately think of that are able to hold down a leg of a relay team in track?”
Then along came Baron Browning. Once upon a time, Browning played the safety position, but his body had other plans for his football future. Now Browning measures in at 6’3, 232 pounds and has retained plenty of his athleticism despite bulking up. Not only has Browning retained some of his range and coverage ability he acquired playing safety, he also qualified for state for his high school’s relay team and ran a 9.92 split on his leg of the 4X100 relay in a track meet earlier in the year. How many linebackers can you immediately think of that are able to hold down a leg of a relay team in track?
On the football field, Browning plays the game the way it is meant to be played. He plays fast, violently, and he plays with a swagger, which makes him even more fun to watch. As you watch him on film and see him in person, it is easy to why coaches from all over the country are beating down his door to get his signature come National Signing Day. On top of being a great player, Browning is a leader and is a great person top of everything else. He’s been one of my favorite interviews each time I see him at an event. He is always pleasant when it comes time to do interviews with the media, and one of my favorite things about him is that he is never satisfied and is always trying to get better.
During the Nike testing phase of The Opening, Browning ripped off a 40 time in the 4.5 range, and even though that is “pretty good” time for a player his size and position, he is aiming to run a time in the 4.4 range. Browning finished with the second highest testing rating of all linebackers in attendance (5-star linebacker Dylan Moses finished just ahead of him) and he had one of the top ratings in the entire competition. Testing showcases like the one in Oregon showed off Browning’s explosive ability and showed why all of the coaches are drooling over his upside at the collegiate level and beyond.
Players with Browning’s ability and skillset are very uncommon and that is why I have him tabbed as the top player in the state of Texas in the 2017 class. Like Malik Jefferson before him, I think he has the ability to make his presence felt the moment he steps onto the campus of his choosing. It may be an unpopular opinion, but I think Browning could have even more upside than Jefferson, and that is scary to think about. Aside from a state championship, Browning has ambitions of taking home the Butkus award this year, and I think he is primed for a big senior year. If he stays the course, he’ll make a run at it in the fall.