It’s hard to believe there could be two more intriguing, talented and sophisticated student-athletes than brothers Osiris and Amon-ra St. Brown of Santa Ana Mater Dei High.
Sitting on a bench at the Mater Dei practice field, they engage in a conversation — speaking German. Then they switch to French, and then to English.
Each has a report card filled with As. Each has a football scholarship offer from Stanford, and dozens of others.
When Mater Dei Coach Bruce Rollinson heard the St. Brown boys had taken the SAT in multiple languages, he said, “I was in shock.”
Strength and conditioning instructor Greg Vandermade watches the St. Browns work out and marvels that they are as strong as some of his biggest pupils.
“Pound to pound, they’re probably the strongest we have,” he said. “You don’t really see the pretty boys” — the skill position players — “do that. They’re amazing and have a great work ethic.”
It’s all part of the St. Brown family tradition to excel in academics and athletics. Oldest brother Equanimeous is expected to be a starting receiver at Notre Dame this season as a sophomore. Osiris committed to Stanford earlier this month.
Their father, John, grew up in Compton and became a body builder, winning Mr. Universe in 1981 and 1982. Each of his boys began lifting weights by the time they entered kindergarten. He has trained them and puts together workouts that are not easy.
When young friends would ask the boys, “How do you do this every day?” Osiris would respond, “We’ve been doing it all our whole lives. It’s kind of normal for us. It’s kind of my daily life.”
Said Amon-ra: “My dad is on us, pushing us every day. It’s hard, but after a while you get used to it.”
Then there’s their mom, Miriam, who’s from Germany and has spoken German to them since the day her boys were born. She pushes academics. The boys lived in France for a brief period, attending a French elementary school. They have friends around the world. They have dual German citizenship and played in an all-star football game in Germany last summer.
Amon-ra took the SAT in German and French. Osiris took the SAT in English, German and French.
As athletes, Rollinson said, “Both boys put a speed factor on the field we haven’t seen around here in a long time. They have tremendous athletic ability. Both have the ability to make a play after a catch.”
Osiris, 18, is a senior who has a touch of bleach blond hair on the top of his head and is 6 feet 2, 185 pounds. He caught 43 passes and 12 touchdowns as a junior.
Amon-ra, 16, is a 6-foot, 190-pound junior who started playing receiver last season and could end up being the best of the St. Brown brothers because of his great hands and bulldog mentality.
Osiris is more deceptive, but both have the skills to catch balls in traffic. Each embraces the idea of being more than just an athlete. Osiris is teaching himself how to play piano. Amon-ra, who listens to hip-hop and rap among his many music interests, is looking to major in business in college.
“We have friends in other countries,” Osiris said. “Knowing them and talking to them and knowing their lifestyle, it definitely opens up your brain. Some of my friends haven’t been outside the country. That’s mind-boggling to me.”
Amon-ra said that the fact that a school with the academic and athletic tradition of Stanford offered scholarships to all three St. Brown boys is “a testament to how hard we work. We worked really hard for this. It didn’t just fall into our lap. And we just have to keep working.”