You have Willie Taggart, who finished his career at Western Kentucky in 1998 as the all-time leading rusher for quarterbacks in Division 1-AA, toting the ball for a whopping 3,957 yards.
Then there's Tommie Frazier, who is literally synonymous with greatness at Nebraska as he led his Huskers to back-to-back national titles, and he set what was at the time a rushing record of his own, reeling off 199 yards in the national title game versus the No. 2 Florida Gators.
Both are Manatee legends, but as a coach who was there at Manatee when Frazier was there, Frazier had his own way. "Tommie wasn't necessarily the guy who was really popular amongst his own players, but he was the one everyone wanted to play with, because he just had this attitude that he wasn't going to lose," said Manatee QB Coach Chris Conboy. "What was kind of ironic about that was that Tommie never did get a state title, but Taggart did.
What Frazier didn't get at the prep level he obviously more than made up for once he hit college. Over 30 wins as a starter to just three losses during his stellar career. While Brion Carnes, going into his senior year at Manatee now and a cousin to Tommie Frazier, wasn't fully aware of what he was accomplishing while at Nebraska, he certainly knows all about it now. "He's still a legend around here. He's one of the guys that if you play quarterback, he's the type of player you want to be like."
That can be both bad and good, as Frazier has said himself and Conboy reiterated, Frazier had one thing on his mind: Winning, and if you weren't on board in doing everything to do just that, Frazier didn't have a lot of patience with you. Well, he probably had none. Carnes said of any similarities with their personalities he has perhaps a few. "Well, I want to win. I know that. I don't think I like losing anymore than anyone else. But I also want to be able to lead my team," he said. "You have to be a leader. You have to be in control, or it's going to be hard to win games."
Conboy looks at Carnes as basically the complete package. From the display of his arm strength, where he's stood with both toes on the 50-yard line and just twisted his body and threw the ball through the goal posts, to the laser-timed
|Tommie Frazier ranks as one of the best college|
football quarterbacks of all time.
Conboy said that his progression during his own growth and the changes in the offense, has been impressive. "As a freshman he was completing maybe 55 percent of his balls, which, when you are that young and inexperienced, that isn't that bad," he said. "Now he's completing well over 60, and this last season he threw 13 touchdown passes to only three interceptions. He's got the ability, but he also makes good decisions."
Combine that with this five touchdowns and just under 300-yards rushing, you start to get the kind of versatility this 6-1 1/4 , 180 lbs. standout has.
He was impressive enough that he got an offer from Head Coach Jim Leavitt from South Florida some time ago. Months, actually. It was an offer that Brion thought a lot of, because it was a school he knew a lot about due to its proximity. "It's close to home, and I have been there a bunch of times, so there's really nothing I don't know about the place," Carnes said. "When I committed I thought it just made the most sense."
Not to Conboy, who said that from a conversation he had with Carnes himself before he had pledged to USF, he thought the budding QB would be testing the waters a little more. "He told me he was going to take all his visits, and then he comes in one day and says he committed to Southern Florida. So, that caught a lot of people off guard," Conboy said. "I mean, I know his mom has said she would like him to be closer to home, which that place is. But she's also told me that she just wants her kid to go to the best place for him."
While Carnes has been committed, the attention hasn't stopped, his QB Coach saying that Clemson has offered along with Louisville. And with the Frazier connection, you'd think that Nebraska would have to be in there to some degree, especially since Carnes seems to fit the mold of the athletic type throwers they had in Joe Ganz and should have this year in Zac Lee. "I know that Coach (Tim) Beck has talked to Brion a couple of times. I think Brion has called him from time to time," Conboy said. "So, it seems that he's still looking around."
Carnes had to agree. "I am still thinking of taking all my visits. I guess I don't want to shut the door on any opportunities, because you never know what's out there until you look," he said. "I committed to South Florida, because I love the place, though. And even if I did take visits, it would take something special to change my mind."
Conboy said that he did think that Carnes was very serious about his pledge to USF, because it fit everything he wanted, and it was as close to his mother as he could hope to be. And like Carnes he said that even if Brion did take more visits, he still thinks USF might be hard to beat. But to not take any, and truly test the water to see what kind of opportunities exist, he might not be giving himself at least the chance to choose from a number of potentially solid situations.
"Brion is a great kid, and he's a bit of a people pleaser sometimes, which may mean it's hard to say "no". He's such a likeable kid, very similar to Latravis who I coached at Bayshore. If USF is the place for him I think that's great, because it's a good school with a solid staff.
"But if Brion took a trip to Michigan, who has shown him interest recently or a trip to Nebraska, who Brion knows a little more about, would he think of USF the same way?
"I don't know. He might. But he should probably give himself at least the chance to make that choice."
Conboy said that of Brion's situation that he feels this young man whose start has started to rise, is only going to rise a lot more. There will be more letters from more schools and yes, more offers. Brion himself won't admit to knowing that's true, but he feels similar in that the attention he's getting despite being a commit, probably isn't going to cease. He's just trying to keep it in perspective.
"It's great, and I appreciate all the interest other schools have shown. It's a real honor," he said. "I know I'm committed to USF, but I can't really know for sure what's going to happen in the future. I want to do what's best for me, and I really think that USF fits that. Will I feel that way in a few months? I don't know. I guess we'll see."