Derek Brown, who set Orange County’s single-season rushing record while at Servite High School, said Thursday he will attend the University of Nebraska this fall but will sit out his freshman year because he failed to meet academic standards under Proposition 48.
Brown, 5-feet-11 and 180 pounds, said he didn’t score the required 700 points on his Scholastic Aptitude Test. He said he didn’t remember what his score was.
Under National Collegiate Athletic Assn. rules, Brown will lose one year of eligibility. The NCAA requires incoming freshmen to have a 2.0 grade-point average and score at least 700 on the SAT or 15 on the American College Test.
“I guess I’ll just study,” said Brown, who’s practicing with the South team for the Shrine All-Star Game July 29 in the Rose Bowl. “It’s OK. I was a little disappointed at first, but it came out for the good. This way I can study and get a good jump on my grades. I’ll still work out and get ready for next year.”
Nebraska Coach Tom Osborne said Brown will remain on scholarship.
“The test scores are a matter of the player’s,” he said. “That’s a private matter and I can’t comment on it. But he has signed a letter of intent with us, and it’s our intent (to keep him) with the scholarship.
“We’ve had two Prop. 48s in the last three years. That’s not very many. If we do have a Prop. 48, we go ahead and put him on scholarship.”
Brown said he will leave for Lincoln, Neb., Aug. 15 and enroll in classes. Nebraska freshmen start football practice on Aug. 11.
Brown said Nebraska coaches told him he might get a chance to play on the varsity as a freshman, a rarity at the school.
“It would have been nice to play as a freshman,” he said. “But it’s no big deal. This has worked out better.”
Last season, Brown was named the top high school football player in Southern California after rushing for 2,301 yards in 13 games, establishing an Orange County single-season rushing mark. He scored 30 touchdowns and averaged 8.5 yards per carry.
He finished his three-year career with 4,663 yards rushing, second on the county’s all-time list to Valencia’s Ray Pallares (5,398 yards).
Brown had considered sitting out the Orange County All-Star game in June to go to Nebraska to work and train. He changed his mind after attending a banquet for the players, then rushed for 121 yards on 27 carries and returned a kickoff 97 yards for a touchdown.
Osborne said Brown was among the best high school running backs Nebraska recruiters saw this year.
“Derek’s a great player,” the coach said. “We rated him high nationally. But it’s hard to compare him to someone like a (Mike) Rozier or a (Roger) Craig because he hasn’t played one down of college football yet.”