Year in and year out, Coach Mickey Thompson and his Stone Bridge program produce D-I talent. In past years, Stone Bridge has produced players such as Virginia Tech's Ed Wang and Duke's Andrew Holoman. This season, Terence Glenn has committed to Rhode Island, Andrew Nuss committed to Notre Dame and, after this weekend, Devon Brown has committed to Wake Forest.
A year ago, the 5'10, 183-pound athlete's future was much more uncertain. He was coming off of his junior season at Bishop O'Connell and had not heard much from colleges. He had no highlight film to send out to coaches and schools had yet to catch on. After declaring his intention to transfer, Stone Bridge High School coach Mickey Thompson went to work.
"It was a matter of me searching and seeing what came out of it," said Coach Thompson, a former football player at the University of Virginia. "He didn't play for me as a junior. He was a phenom, a phenomenal player and I pumped out film wherever I could. But everyone was saying ‘hang with us, we'll try to get him in' but that they had filled their scholarship spots. Wake Forest wanted him in because of their offense and it being wide open. We were pumping the film and Wake Forest loved what they saw."
"It actually all started over the summer," Brown said of his recruitment. "Coach Thompson told me to put together a list of schools I was interested in and Wake was a school on the list. After about five games, he put a midseason tape together and sent it to them. They sent something back and we've been talking since then."
Wake Forest held out on offering Brown until the coaches could host him on campus and visit with Brown in person. "They offered this past weekend," Brown noted. "Actually, it was the last morning I was there. I had a pretty good idea they were going to. My recruiting coach [Tim Billings] had told me they liked me on tape but didn't want to offer me without me meeting their head coach and being around the players. I had to fit in with the guys already there. After meeting their guys and being around them a few days, I had a good idea it'd happen. We clicked well and had a good vibe."
The rest is history. Brown committed to Wake Forest and will play wide receiver in the Demon Deacon program. The visit went really well and I liked everything about it," Brown said. "Meeting the coaches and being around them, they're down to earth people and I was real interested in them and they were real interested in me. Wake was the place for me"
Although relatively unknown in the "recruiting world," coaches who have seen his highlight film have been more than impressed – as has Stone Bridge's head coach Mickey Thompson. "He was a big play running back for us," Coach Thompson recalled. "I think the thing that stands out for me when he came over was his work ethic. He's a great player and great worker."
"I've been telling everybody this going to be a great find and a great thing for Wake Forest," Coach Thompson continued. "Nobody could tackle him and it would take 3-4 guys to take him down in the open field. No one can tackle him one-on-one. He's got great strength and he benches over 300 pounds. He is just phenomenal. This year, he made some moves I've never seen at the high school level and I've been coaching for 25 years."
Brown rushed for 1,744 yards and 29 touchdowns during his sensational senior season, earning him 1st team all-conference, player of the year honors in his conference, the regional offensive player of the year, and 1st team all-state.
Brown has also qualified academically under NCAA standards and will enroll at Wake Forest in the summer. He will sign with the Demon Deacons on February 7th at his school.