Derrick Brown, the No. 9 overall prospect and the No. 4 defensive tackle in the class of 2016, according to Scout.com, has committed to Auburn.
The five-star recruit picked the Tigers over Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi State and Tennessee, and he immediately provides a boost to coach Gus Malzahn's incoming haul. Brown, a 6’ 4”, 322-pound standout from Lanier (Ga.) High who was recently named the MaxPreps.com National Player of the Year, tallied 106 tackles, including 42 for loss with 13 sacks, as a senior.
Here’s how Scout.com describes Brown’s game: “Brown has the frame of a true defensive tackle, but he is athletic enough to play some strongside end on the next level, too. [He is] quick off the ball and gets consistent penetration. [He] has improved pad level, but can still play with better leverage in the trenches.”
Brown could develop into an immediate contributor for a Tigers’ defense that was vulnerable both through the air and on the ground last season. Auburn ranked 63rd nationally in passing defense (222.6 yards per game) and 80th in rushing defense (182.5), respectively. Malzahn’s crew looked especially shaky in a 45–21 loss at LSU on Sept. 19 and in a 54–46 quadruple-overtime loss at Arkansas on Oct. 24.
Still, Auburn brings back some intriguing pieces next fall—ultra-talented but injury-prone defensive lineman Carl Lawson chief among them—and could emerge as a candidate to return to contention after a disappointing 2015 campaign. Brown, with his pedigree of production, may well play a large role in that.
Brown becomes the 21st commit to Auburn's recruiting class, which ranked No. 12 in the country prior to his pledge, per Scout.com.
For coverage and analysis of all the latest commitments on National Signing Day, check out Signing Day Central.