"His freshman year, we moved him up," Jinks said. "We saw him running up and down the field (in practice) and we knew we had something. The topic in the office quickly became: Do you play a freshman at a big time 4A or 5A program?"
The answer, Jinks soon discovered, depended on whether the freshman was ready. And few were as ready as Brown was. He was called up in the playoffs when Steele was ravaged by injuries, and quickly made an impact.
"His second play, the first time he touched the ball, he took it 70 for a touchdown," Jinks said. "In three playoff games, he ran for 500 yards. And the yards didn't come easily. We weren't as good of a football team as we are now.
"We just had a bunch of babies," Jinks said. "Malcolm, (now-Oklahoma State linebacker) Ryan Simmons, all those guys were freshmen, and we played them all. We knew that if not their junior year, then by their senior year we would have a chance to win it all."
Brown wasn't built like a typical high school freshman, weighing nearly 200 pounds.
"He looked like he does now, until he took his helmet off," Jinks said. "Then he looked like a little kid. But in the uniform, he looked big."
As time went on, Jinks said the staff learned that Brown had an even bigger heart.
"That's what we didn't know. That was the surprise," Jinks said. "That was the reward. He's a phenomenal person and a great leader, just in his actions and things that he does. But it might be even more in the things that he doesn't do. He doesn't bring attention to himself. He doesn't show up late. He never missed practice. He allowed us to coach him hard. And all of that helped us set the foundation for what we're doing here now."
So when did Jinks know that he had a player all the schools would be interested in? Jinks said it happened his sophomore year against New Braunfels Canyon.
"He just ran through the safety, a big 6-3, 220 pound kid to score the game winning touchdown," Jinks said. "We knew we had something. We thought: 'this guy is something phenomenal.'"
But Brown wound up breaking his foot, an injury that Jinks said came from overuse. Ironically, Jinks said the injury occurred just as the staff was going to reduce his touches.
Of course, from there Brown went on to establish himself as the state's top back as a junior and senior, leading Steele to the Texas Class 5A State Championship in his final season.
So is Jinks surprised that Brown has made an impact so quickly?
"I'm not surprised at all," Jinks said. "You watch the way the guys rally around him, and that's not fake. It's only going to grow.
"There's that something special about him, and the way people relate to him," Jinks said. "With him being the young man that he is, it's going to be contagious to that football program."