For Simeon’s Alante Brown, new college decision must be made quickly

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Simeon’s Alante Brown (3) breaks a long run for a touchdown. Allen Cunningham/For the Sun-Times.

Alante Brown learned a lesson from Simeon’s controversial season-ending loss to Nazareth: even when things in life go unfortunately awry, one must move on with a positive attitude.

So when Michigan State announced earlier this month that receivers coach Terrence Samuel and defensive backs coach Don Treadwell were switching positions, Brown made the decision to decommit from the Spartans — a program he still describes as his “dream school” — and reopen his recruitment.

“I built a good relationship with coach Samuel, and he was demoted to defensive backs coach and he got moved off the field, so that was a big change for me because I wanted to be coached by him,” Brown told the Sun-Times on Tuesday. “It’s a little tough … but I’m just real excited about the opportunity that I have in front of me.”

The Simeon star, projected to be a wideout in college, will need to move quickly to commit to a new school before National Signing Day next Wednesday, Feb. 6. He released a new top five on Tuesday, consisting of Florida State, Pitt, Iowa State, Texas Tech and Tennessee.

Brown was on an official visit to Florida State on Saturday when he announced his Michigan State decommitment on Twitter, and he speaks highly of the Seminoles.

“I met a lot of guys, some of the top players in the country,” he said. “They made me feel comfortable — I feel like I could fit in. It was a great experience being able to go down to a school like Florida State and see the culture and everything, being from Chicago.”

He can take one more official visit this coming weekend and said he’s still deciding which of the four other schools to scope out in person. He hopes to major in either electrical or constructional engineering in college and said he’s also looking for a good academic fit in that regard.

Simeon’s Alante Brown (3) and Rashon Palmer (7). Allen Cunningham/For the Sun-Times.

Simeon’s Alante Brown (3) after a Wolverines win this past season. Allen Cunningham/For the Sun-Times.

Brown initially committed to Miami-Ohio in April, then decommitted in June, then committed to Michigan State a few weeks after that.

He raised eyebrows on Dec. 19, the first day of the early signing period, when he was one of only two players in the Spartans’ recruiting class to not send in a national letter of intent. But he insisted that he still planned at the time to enroll, and was waiting solely to improve his test grades first. Not until Jan. 10, when news of Spartans’ coaching staff reshuffling broke, did he begin to reconsider.

Since then, however, the process has become exceedingly hectic.

“A lot of people, they’ve been coming at me all at once,” Brown said. “But being in this situation before and being able to handle pressure, I’m like, ‘Ok, I know what they really mean when they say this.’ I have a lot of knowledge because of the people that surround me — I have a lot of mentors that tell me how the game works.”

At Simeon, Brown was a three-year starter at quarterback and led a masterful 2018 season, guiding the Wolverines into the Class 7A state quarterfinals in November with a perfect 11-0 record.

But Simeon fell to Nazareth, 34-27, after Brown was marked down at the 2-yard line in the final seconds. A group of Simeon alumni and parents filed a lawsuit afterwards alleging that a Nazareth father, dressed as an official on the sidelines, influenced calls and tampered with the game’s outcome, but an attempt to have the lawsuit heard before the championship game two weeks later was not granted.

In moving on from that heartbreaking conclusion to his high school career, Brown said he developed a fresh attitude that has been helpful in all aspects of life.

“It happened, I was upset, but life goes on,” he said. “A lot of things just don’t go our way, but a better opportunity always comes through, because we’re still in the beginning stages of our life.”

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