Sports? Entertainment? Cleveland grad headed for UO to find out
Andiel Brown isn't sure what the future holds for him as an athlete or an entertainer, but it probably involves his name on the back of a jersey or on a marquee.
Brown, who earned 12 athletic letters in football, basketball and track at Cleveland High, will try to make the University of Oregon football team as a walk-on, nonscholarship player. He wants to be a walk-on in track as well.
Brown also earned letters in the school choir at Cleveland and gravitates toward unattended microphones.
'I have options,' Brown, 18, says with an infectious grin.
Brown, 5-11 and 175 pounds, hopes to make the Oregon football squad as a running back. He's a sprinter in track.
He ran for 531 yards and seven touchdowns and caught passes for 137 yards and another score last fall, earning a spot on the all-Portland Interscholastic League second team.
Brown, who averaged 8.6 yards per carry, is a growing talent in athletics and as a person, Cleveland track coach Kent Siebold says.
'I wouldn't have thought he would be up to this last year, but he's matured a lot in a year,' Siebold says. 'Oregon is a big move up and is going to be a big challenge for him.
'Whether he succeeds there is going to depend on his desire.'
One of the knocks on Brown at Cleveland was his level of desire Ñ for too many things. He averaged 10 points per game on the basketball team as a senior and finished second in the 100 meters at the PIL district track meet. He also sang the national anthem before several sporting events and auditioned for a teen talent program at Memorial Coliseum, which caused him to miss a track meet.
Last year, Brown says, he tracked down singer Tyrese at his hotel after a Portland show and persuaded the singer to let him audition for him and his manager.
'I sang an Usher song,' Brown says. 'They called me back not too long ago and told me to come into their studio and get something on tape whenever I get to L.A.'
Siebold says Brown's busy schedule challenged the patience of his coaches, but at the PIL Banquet in May, Brown was Cleveland's nominee for boys sportsperson of the year.
'He's a personality guy,' Cleveland Athletic Director Mike Shanahan says. 'That's his strength.'
While Brown was a freshman, he was encouraged to take a leadership role athletically by a senior, Anthony Heckman, who now runs the 800 for USC. But Brown says he didn't start to mature into a leader until his senior year.
'When he left, I stopped being challenged, and I didn't pick it up that much until this year,' Brown says. 'This year I really started to try a lot harder, and I started to try and help the younger kids. That's a cycle that you should be trying to keep going.'
Getting a spot on the Oregon football roster won't be easy, especially because Brown is starting out undersized. Coaches have already told him to gain weight.
'I need to put on 15 pounds just to be average, and 25 pounds if I want to raise some eyebrows,' he says. 'So, I'm cracking down on the weights.'
Brown says qualifying for the state track meet in the 100 was a thrill that helped him decide on Oregon. He didn't qualify for the final, but he did run before a crowd of about 8,000. Autzen Stadium, where the Ducks play football, holds more than 50,000 fans.
'I can see myself playing there,' Brown says. 'But, I can see myself on 'American Idol,' too.'