COPPELL, Texas -- After a year spent working in the weight room, Kennedal linebacker Baron Browning earned a trip to The Opening Finals this summer with an impressive performance in the Dallas The Opening Regional camp on Sunday at Coppell High School by excelling in the individual and team portions of the event.
In an interview with Burnt Orange Nation, the 6'4, 229-pounder spoke about his recent Junior Day visit to see the Texas Longhorns and the overall state of his recruitment.
"Just how coach Strong had an overview of his program and the academic advisors, how they had all the resources set up for players to do well during football season," Browning said. "They make it easy to know what classes to take and what classes not to take, just helping the players and trying to make them be successful in the best way that they can."
Browning tentatively wants to major in computer science in college, but also wants to have a back-up plan in place. At Texas and Texas A&M, he's already met with computer science faculty members to discuss his possible academic future at both schools, with his meeting at Texas stretching for an hour and a half.
While on the Junior Day visit at Texas, Browning took some Periscope video that heavily featured consensus five-star safety Jeffrey Okudah and a brief cameo appearance from No. 2 inside linebacker Anthony Hines. Browning has already had conversations with both about playing together in college.
One potential destination for Browning and Okudah is Ohio State, the school that has been a leader for the hard-hitting safety for some time. Browning said that he doesn't currently have a leader at this time, but he did say that the Buckeyes are near the top of the list. While a visit to Columbus hasn't happened yet, it is in the works and the two highly-touted prospects could end up taking the trip together.
Don't expect a commitment on that trip, though, as the Kennedale linebacker has decided to slow things down after committing early to Baylor and then deciding to re-open his recruitment in the middle of February.
"I would say that biggest thing I learned is to take my time with the recruiting process," he said. "I control it, so I don't have to rush for anybody. I'm not signed to any school, so they can't tell me what to do as far as where I can visit. So I'm just going to take my time and really weigh my options going into my senior year."
As he goes through the process, he knows what will help him make his final choice.
"I'm looking for a school that can help me develop as a man for life after football and give me networking opportunities," Browning said. "Just develop me. I want to become a better player and a better person."
Sounds like the type of prospect that head coach Charlie Strong would have a great chance of swaying on an in-home visit late in the recruiting prospect, does he not?
Browning also said that he did take notice of the excellent finish for the Longhorns in the 2016 recruiting class.
"I feel like coach Strong is getting the recruits that he needs to be successful in the next few years, so I'm interested to watch to see how it all translates on the field," he said.
In his efforts to recruit Browning, Strong could receive some help from 2016 signees because although Browning said he doesn't know Malik Jefferson, he is close with linebacker Jeffrey McCulloch and defensive tackle Jordan Elliott, two high-profile signees for the Longhorns in the last cycle. Right now, however, both are taking a low-pressure approach and telling Browning to follow his heart.
There's currently no timetable for a decision as Browning goes through the process, but it is likely that he will take his official visits during the fall.
And when it comes time to make a final choice, Texas should be in the mix and currently holds the last four 247Sports Crystal Ball predictions for the nation's No. 2 outside linebacker.