University of Alabama

Deonte Brown should help Crimson Tide at guard

ANNISTON, Ala. -- Deonte Brown of Decatur, Ala., has the size, strength and agility to be a top-notch offensive lineman at Alabama, said his high school coach.

"He's massive and strong, but he moves like a smaller player," Austin head coach Jeremy Perkins said.

Brown, 6-foot-4, 350 pounds, announced his commitment to the Crimson Tide on April 29.

He is rated a four-star prospect by 247Sports. Rivals ranks Brown as the nation's No. 15 offensive guard prospect.

Brown played offensive tackle for most of his time at Austin, but Alabama likes him as an offensive guard.

A two-time all-state player, Brown was the Alabama Sports Writers Association's Class 6A Lineman of the Year in 2015.

He played in the Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Game and the Under Armour All-America Game.

He chose Alabama over Mississippi State, Tennessee, Missouri, Clemson and Louisville.

Perkins said Brown has a "high football IQ" and "great feet."

Alabama has 17 commitments in its 2016 class, and Brown and Chris Owens of Lamar High in Arlington, Texas, are the only offensive guards.

On the depth chart for Alabama's 45-40 win over Clemson in the national championship game, there were no seniors among the first- or second-team lineups.

Freshmen Ross Pierschbacher and Dallas Warmack were 1-2 at left guard, but right guard shows some possibilities for a young guard for the future.

Alphonse Taylor, a junior, was first team, and sophomore Bradley Bozeman was second team.

For a young guard who redshirts his first season, there could be a chance for movement in his second or third year on campus.

Even so, Perkins said Brown is a player who could help sooner, if needed.

"He has the potential to play right away" at Alabama, Perkins said. "But he's got to work in order to do that. I mean, we're talking about the defending national champions."

Perkins has been head coach for six years at Austin. An Alabaster native, he coached five years at Hoover -- three under Rush Propst and two under Josh Niblett.

Brown is "a laid-back guy. He gets along with everybody," Perkins said.

Four days after Alabama beat Clemson for the national championship, Nick Saban showed up at Austin High School and met with Perkins and Brown.

Whether Saban knew it was Brown's birthday or not, the player was pleased.

He told The Decatur Daily, "It was pretty cool having Coach Saban stop by on my birthday."

Brown helped Austin reach the state semifinals for the first time since 1983.

He also blocked for two runners who compiled more than 1,000 rushing yards apiece.

-- Wayne Hester is a former sports editor of The Anniston Star and The Birmingham News.