Nate Brown hails from Georgia. He received offers from Georgia, Georgia Tech and South Carolina. But rather than stay close to come, the three-star wide receiver chose to stick with his original commitment and sign with Missouri, the reigning SEC East champ.
We caught up with the Peach State native to ask him why he chose Missouri and what his impact will be this season with Dorial Green-Beckham no longer on the team.
When you committed to Missouri, it was before they had emerged as the favorite in the SEC East. What made you go ahead and pull the trigger?
Brown: I took an unofficial visit up there over the summer and just worked, ran some routes, that sort of thing. Everybody up there was just really personable. It felt welcoming, and it wasn't anything fake. It was genuine. Also, how they use their receivers. I feel like that's the best fit for me, the offense that they run -- trying to get the ball to multiple guys and spreading their big targets out wide. Also, the academics. After I was there talking with some of the professors and academic advisers, they definitely take their academics seriously and that's a big thing for me in the house that I was raised in.
Were you surprised they made the run that they did last year?
Brown: Honestly, no. When I went up there, I saw how they worked. And Coach [Gary] Pinkel -- just talking with him -- he seems like he really knows the game, and I think he's proven it on the field. Just talking to some of the guys and seeing how they work, how they work together, it was really a team-based atmosphere. Everybody's just trying to get the next person up to par, and that's what it takes. I saw them progressing as the season went on, and when they finally did face a big opponent, they delivered.
Georgia entered the mix late. You're a Georgia guy. Was that tempting?
Brown: It was tempting a little bit. After I went [to Georgia], I took an unofficial visit to South Carolina also, and I didn't really get that same feel as I did with the Missouri coaching staff and the atmosphere at Missouri. Just talking to other coaches, I kind of got the same vibe from Georgia, South Carolina and these other schools, but Missouri really stood apart. Once I committed, I couldn't find any better. I felt like that was the place for me.
What were your thoughts when you heard that Green-Beckham had been dismissed from the team?
Brown: I got a text from Maty [Mauk] and Eddie [Printz], just saying that I need to be ready. You can't predict the future. Things come up, situations like that, and the next guy just has to be ready to step in line. That's motivated me more.
How does that loss change the outlook for this team?
Brown: To me, nothing's really changed. He was definitely a big factor, but I don't see the whole team falling apart or anything like that. They're just going to build around the guys they have there and not look back.
You mentioned getting a text from Maty Mauk. What do you expect from him this season as he takes over at quarterback?
Brown: They have a lot of weapons at quarterback this year, including Maty. I feel like going back and watching some of the games they played, he definitely knows how to be a leader, on and off the field. I just look forward to playing with him.
How about for you? What are your goals or expectations for your first year?
Brown: Just to contribute to the team. I'm going to go in with the mindset to try and earn a spot, and I'm going to work as hard as I can to get that spot. That's my main goal right now, just to work and contribute to the team in any way possible.
And what are you working on now to help get you ready for next fall?
Brown: I lift every morning. We have a weight training class, and then after school, I try to work on a lot of speed, footwork stuff. In between that time, I might go out and catch [balls] a couple days, but my main focus right now is just getting my speed up because I know the level of the game is night and day. It's so much faster in college than it is in high school. I want to get my speed up and get my hands ready for that type of atmosphere.