Pope John XXIII (Sparta, N.J.) has had a terrific season so far this year. They just won the district title last weekend with a victory over Mount Olive, 35-28, and went on to finish the regular season with a 7-1 record going into the playoffs, but that one loss is always on the mind of one of their top players, 2014 athlete Noah Brown.
“To work so hard over the summer and come out and have the first game of the season be a loss. You never want to feel that feeling again,” explained Brown. “We’ve come out and worked hard every practice since then, so we never have to experience that again.”
The 6-foot-2, 205-pound prospect has become a leader, both on and off the field, and has really progressed in fine tuning his game and leading by example. His metamorphosis into a Division I talent has caught the attention of a number of quality college programs.
"I'm very aggressive and play hard and fast on every play," claimed the New Jersey prospect. "When I'm playing wide receiver, I concentrate on running good routes and try to catch everything that comes my way. When I'm out running back, I feel my best quality is my field vision and patience. I'm someone who can be effective on the field and get the job done.
“I have three offers right now from Rutgers, Boston College and Temple. Some of the other schools showing me interest are N.C. State, Michigan State, Ohio State, Maryland, Miami (FL), Pittsburgh, Notre Dame and some others.”
The attention he's starting to receive from the Irish is welcomed and he hopes that correspondence keeps progressing into open communication between the Notre Dame coaches and himself.
“Right now, Notre Dame's just sending me a lot of mail and game invites so far,” he said. “I haven't been able to talk to the coaches on the phone or anything like that, but I'm looking forward to doing so.
“Notre Dame's definitely a school I'd be interested in. They're a Catholic school and I go to a Catholic school. A lot of my teachers are alumni of Notre Dame and they've told me about the campus there. It's definitely a school I'm interested in."
Brown has had a chance to see the Irish offensive in action and really likes the dynamics. He knows that Notre Dame likes to open things up and utilizes their weapons very well and he could see himself fitting perfectly with that type of attack.
"We run the spread offense here at Pope John and I'm very comfortable in that system," added Brown. "I think that definitely plays to my benefit. Most of these colleges are recruiting me at wide receiver, but it doesn't matter to me what position I play in college as long as I progress as a player."
Being able to play football at the next level has always been a dream for the talented junior, but he also knows that it's not all about athletics.
“That's one of the reasons I go to the school like Pope John and that's because they prepare me to be successful in college,” he stated emphatically. "You have to have the mindset that football isn't life and it can't get you everywhere in life. You have to realize that what you do on the football field won't necessarily get you into a good college, so you have to be strong academically.
"I'm looking for a place where I can see myself fitting in and being happy. Wherever I go, I want to be productive. I don't really want to go too far away for school, but I just want to find some place I fit in. Distance will play somewhat of a factor, but if I find a place I really like, and feel like I fit in that atmosphere, it really isn't going to matter where it's at."
The Pope John XXIII standout hasn't really been able to check out any of the college programs that have been showing him interest because of other obligations, but recently he has started to schedule a few visits, including ones to Ohio State on November 24 and to Rutgers on November 29.
He's also hoping to fit in a trip to South Bend in the near future.
"I've never been there, but it's definitely a place I want to go visit," stated Brown. "I haven't really been able to go anywhere really because a number of my games are on Saturdays. Now that the seasons starting to wind down, I definitely want to start taking some visits and that's one of the places I want to go check out."