As a three-sport standout at Wilde Lake High School from 2004 to 2007, Zach Brown stood head and shoulders above the competition. As a senior he rushed for more than 1,500 yards and 20 touchdowns, was a state champion sprinter in outdoor track and was an undefeated state champion wrestler.
So it should come as no surprise that Brown is now a Titan.
On Friday night at The Greene Turtle in Columbia, Brown watched with family, friends, former coaches and teammates as his name was called by the Tennessee Titans in the second round, the 52nd pick overall, of the 2012 NFL Draft.
"I like Tennessee. They have a good defense," said the 6-foot-2, 230-pound linebacker who played at the University of North Carolina. "I've always liked their defense so, for me, I'm just ready to get there."
After a senior year at North Carolina in which he led the Tarheels with 105 total tackles, including 13.5 for loss, Brown was projected by many analysts as a sure first-round pick.
So after sitting through Thursday night's first round without getting a phone call, Brown was understandably antsy when dozens of names were called before his during Friday night's second round.
"It was nerve wracking seeing everyone going before you," said Brown, who spent one season at Hargrave Military Academy after high school. "But now my mindset is just getting where I'm going. Everybody that was passing me up, just to make them pay. Because in my head I'm one of the best linebackers."
Dozens of Brown's extended family members made the nearly 10-hour trip from South Carolina on a chartered bus, resulting in a family reunion.
"It's a special moment to share with them," said Brown, who signed autographs and posed for pictures in front of the establishment for almost an hour after being selected. "Now it's time to get going, to keep it moving. To play a career and not just a season."
When asked what he might do with his first NFL paycheck, Brown flashed his trademark smile and said that he would buy a bigger fish tank to house a shark.
And while he tried to keep the atmosphere light, Brown admitted that hearing his name called by an NFL team and seeing his own face appear on the draft board was an overwhelming experience.
"I said I wasn't going to cry but, you know, everybody cries," he said. "You can't hold it in. It's a good moment, a good moment."Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun