Lebanon junior linebacker Keith Brown knew where he wanted to play college football and he was ready to tell the world.
So on Saturday evening, after Oregon's 24-10 victory over Oregon State at Autzen Stadium in Eugene, Brown announced his decision: He will be a Duck in 2021.
"I’ve just known for a long time that Oregon was where I wanted to go," Brown said in a phone interview on Sunday. "I went on visits all over the West Coast and I don’t really see myself being an East Coast, southern kid. For me, it just made sense. I might as well not prolong it and make my decision now."
Brown attended the annual rivalry game and announced his decision in the Oregon players' lounge while surrounded by coaches, fellow recruits and their families. It wasn't how he had always envisioned making his announcement, but it felt right and he enjoyed sharing the news with his fellow Ducks.
"In my mind, I always thought I'd make a long recruitment video, put all the hats up, but when the time is right, you just know. For me, that was very special," Brown said.
Brown has been identified as one of the top prep linebackers in the country by the national recruiting services, with one service naming him the top middle linebacker in his class. He was being heavily recruited by Pac-12 coaches and had received offers from the Southeastern Conference as well, including Tennessee.
He said the conversations he has had with Oregon's coaches over the past year made his decision an easy one.
"It’s the staff, from the GA's (graduate assistants) to the head coach. Everyone is so genuine. They treat you with the utmost respect," Brown said. "It's how genuine and at home they make you feel. We’ve been talking since they offered me about a year ago. It’s literally like family there."
Brown's plan is to graduate from high school after the first semester of his senior year. He is on path to do that if he takes a class or two over the summer.
That will allow him to take part in spring football as an Oregon freshman in 2021. But his primary motivation to follow this plan isn't on the field, it's in the classroom. By getting an early start, Brown hopes to earn both his bachelor's and master's degrees while on scholarship.
He has not settled on a major, but is interested in sports marketing, sports medicine or broadcast media.
"For me, I think about it more in an education sense, how I can get my master’s degree on scholarship," Brown said. "That would be great, that way I can leave school with zero dollars in student loans and a master’s degree."
On the field, he said he has not discussed the possibility of redshirting with the Oregon coaches. He can see both advantages and disadvantages, but if he is ready to play and there is playing time available, he would like to play as a freshman.
"We’ll play it however it goes. If redshirting is what they think is best and I think is best, then that’s what I’ll do," Brown said. "