Kentucky kept a prized prospect in his home state Monday when Eli Brown pledged to the Wildcats. He made things official with an announcement on Twitter:
Guess its time to get the word out i am now committed to University of Kentucky!! #bbn— Eli Brown (@32_brown) April 22, 2014
The 4-star prospect from Bowling Green had several schools to choose from when it came down to a collegiate decision. Brown initially committed to Vanderbilt last June but backed off that pledge prior to the conclusion of his junior campaign.
He holds offers from Ohio State, USC, Ole Miss and Penn State, per Rivals.com.
Brown, a 6'2", 195-pound prospect, plays at Warren East High School. He starred throughout the 2013 season until a serious knee injury sidelined him in early November.
Brown is rehabbing his way back from a torn ACL, per WBKO News. He posted impressive statistics last fall despite missing the team's last few games.
He was second on the Raiders in rushing and receiving with 1,186 yards and 144 yards, respectively, and he led the team with 15 touchdowns on the ground, per MaxPreps. Brown also impressed on defense, tallying 50 tackles and two interceptions.
Kentucky picks up an in-state player it's targeted for quite some time. Head coach Mark Stoops and his staff hosted Brown on campus earlier this month, just a week after he spent time at Ole Miss.
Brown has been a frequent visitor in Lexington this year, including a February junior day event. While he offers options on both sides of the ball, it appears Brown is destined for a career on defense.
“All the offers I have got are at linebacker,” he told Larry Vaught of VaughtsViews.com in February. “They all like my versatility and love that I can play both sides of the ball. They do tell me how good I look on offense, but they all say I am great on defense."
Brown is rated No. 18 nationally among outside linebackers in 247Sports' composite rankings, which also lists him No. 2 overall in Kentucky.
LB Eli Brown picked Kentucky over Ohio State and USC....he is a HUGE get and one of best in-state players for UK in years— Matt Jones (@KySportsRadio) April 22, 2014
Both players had plenty of opportunities beyond state borders but stayed home to build with the Wildcats. Brown is the latest recruit to take the same approach.
Kentucky currently holds five commitments in its 2015 class. Brown is the first consensus 4-star prospect in the bunch, but Stoops remains in pursuit of several in-state standouts.
Damien Harris (Berea, Ky.) is the nation's No. 1 running back recruit and decommitted from Michigan during the winter. Linebacker Emmitt Smith, another Bowling Green product, may also enter the equation as a key target for the Wildcats.
Brown's commitment provides another strong signal that Kentucky is taking care of business on its home turf.
Recruit rankings via 247Sports unless otherwise noted.