Make no mistake about it, Notre Dame’s most recent commitment Chris Brown is a fabulous athlete.
“Put it this way, I think he would have won the triple jump in the Big East last year as a junior in high school,” Hanahan High School (Hanahan, S.C.) wide receiver coach Tom Gallus said. “I think he’s eight inches away from breaking the Notre Dame school-record right now.”
But the track star, who was laser-timed at 4.43 in the 40-yard dash this past winter, is also a great wide receiver.
“He’s out-athleting the guys, but he’s a good enough receiver where he’s not just out-athleting the guys,” Gallus said of the 6-foot-2, 175-pounder.
Hanahan had a previous receiver go on to a BCS school who did rely on his physical ability in high school and got a major wakeup call when he arrived at college.
“I don’t think Chris will have that big of a wakeup call because I think he’s more polished as a wide receiver,” Gallus said.
“He’s a freak. He catches the ball, he runs good routes and he’s very fast, everything you want in a receiver. I think he’s got some things he can get better on, definitely. I think he’s going to have to get after it pretty good in the weight room.”
Brown got a close look at what an elite college receiver looks like as Michael Floyd was his host on his official visit to Notre Dame this past weekend.
“He kept telling me how big he was and I was like, ‘Yeah, you’ve got a ways to go,’” Gallus chuckled.
But Brown has already shown the desire to get there. When he was a freshman, Gallus told Brown he could be as good as the receiver who was on his way to big-time college football.
“I was like, ‘I know it might be unfair to you, but you can be that good. You’ve got to put some weight on,’” the wide receiver coach recalled. “He’s probably 175, 180, but he’s put on a good 25 pounds and that’s through getting in the weight room and working out. When he gets to college, it’s going to be another step up that he’s going to have to make in weight room.”
Brown has also shown the desire to learn the finer points of the position early in his high school career when he would visit Gallus during his lunch periods. Gallus' only worry was making sure Brown ate before coming.
“It’s kind of hard for me to tell him to put on weight and then come in at lunch and work,” Gallus laughed. “He would come in and work on different ball drills and stuff like that. I’d throw routes to him. He couldn’t time the jump ball and obviously being the great jumper that he is, he needed to work on that.
“He’s definitely one that responds well to coaching. I think he’ll do well at Notre Dame, I really do. I’m excited.”
For Gallus, who is from Michigan and roots for the Wolverines, that will cause a temporary change of allegiance.
“I’m going to be a Notre Dame fan for four years,” he said. “Hopefully he doesn’t beat up my Wolverines too bad.”
Gallus is happy with Brown’s decision because Brown is happy.
“I always told Chris to go where he wants to go as long as his parents were onboard,” he said. “Don’t let anybody here push you, keep your options open. Obviously he loved it. He’d been to Alabama, Florida, South Carolina and Clemson and he said he didn’t feel what he felt when he went to Notre Dame. He really fell in love with the campus, the fans, all of the football tradition. He really loved it.”
Hanahan has had a rough start to the season, losing its first four games with Brown being out since suffering a broken collarbone in the opener. He’s hoping to return soon and Hanahan would love to add a player who caught 65 passes for 1,105 yards and 16 touchdowns as a junior. He also returned a pair of kickoffs and a punt for scores. Despite the slow start, Brown’s team is still in the hunt for the postseason with regional play still a week away.
Gallus would love to see Brown out on the field again before the wideout heads to South Bend.
“I’ve only been doing this nine years, I haven’t been here forever, but we’ve had some pretty good kids who have come through here and he is head and shoulders above everybody,” the coach said.
“He’s a freak.”