3-star running back Frank Brown Jr. pledged his commitment to Arizona earlier this week, becoming the 17th member of the 2020 recruiting class.
The staff had been courting Brown for quite a few months, competing with Arkansas and Houston for his services. Michigan State entered the scene just a few days before early signing period, which pushed back Brown’s commitment date and caused some concern for Arizona.
Now we break down Brown’s commitment, who is now Arizona’s second highest ranked prospect of the 2020 class.
Height/Weight: 6-foot, 180-pounds
School/Hometown: Sterling High School (Houston, Texas)
Offers: Arkansas, Boise State, Colorado, Colorado State, Fresno State, Houston, Kansas, Louisiana Tech, Michigan State, Missouri, Nebraska, North Texas, Northern Colorado, SMU, Southern Miss, Texas Southern, Texas Tech, Tulsa, UNLV, Utah, Utah State
2019 Stats: 62 carries, 848 rushing yards, 15 rushing touchdowns; 42 receptions, 1,104 receiving yards, 15 TD
Rankings (via 247Sports): No. 694 player nationally, No. 12 all-purpose back, No. 91 player in Texas
Gabe Encinas: Arizona desperately needed to win a recruiting battle as we approach National Signing Day and with Frank Brown Jr. they land another top-notch running back to pair with Jalen John. 247Sports ranks him as a top 400 player and his offer list is deep with Power Five programs.
At Sterling he was an ultra-productive prospect, racking up over 5,200 total yards in his four years and averaging over nine yards a carry and 24 yards a catch. Simply put, Arizona gets a big time play maker.
Brown is an explosive player. He has effortless speed to go with great vision that allows him to weave between defenders and go the distance. He also shows great balance to stay up after contact. But what makes Brown even more appealing is his pass-catching abilities. He has the skill set to line up at receiver or catch out of the backfield, which bodes well for his playing time opportunities at Arizona.
The running back room is absolutely loaded with talent for 2020. Gary Brightwell headlines the group, Nathan Tilford started to earn more reps, Darrius Smith has proven he is capable of taking on a big workload and Michael Wiley made some nice plays as a true freshman. Despite the current talent, alongside the signing of Jalen John in the early signing period, the staff put an emphasis on adding a second back to the class.
I believe John has the potential to be one of the top three running backs of the last decade at Arizona with his blend of size and power. And while Brown has a similar skill set to both Smith and Wiley, I think he can easily work his way up the depth chart.
I have Brown as the No. 3 prospect for this class and rank him just outside the top 500.
Brandon Combs: There is no other way to put it...landing Brown is a huge win for the Wildcats. The ‘Cats already have a big-time playmaker in the 2020 class with Oregon native Jalen John, and Brown just adds to an already strong backfield.
Brown was a guy that Gabe and I were very high on from the moment that Arizona offered him and he was always at the top of the board for us. There was a point in time where we weren’t sure where Arizona had him, but as soon as he took his official, we had no doubts.
Brown will need to add more muscle and strength, but don’t let that dissuade you. He is a straight baller. He is a very smooth, effortless runner and has amazing speed. It is very impressive to just watch him pull away from everyone on the field and glide into the end zone. Let’s also not forget that he can reach his top speed in a blink of the eye.
Not only is he a dynamic runner, but he is also extremely productive as a pass catcher. Brown has the versatility to play in the backfield or split out wide in the slot...and he is really good in the slot.
With a backfield of Brightwell, Smith, Wiley, Tilford, John and Brown, Arizona’s backfield is in good hands for the forseeable future.