Brown to Big Orange?

Depending on your source, marquee tailback Bryce Brown is either itching to sign with Tennessee, totally unconvinced the Vols' offensive system can operate as intended with the personnel available, or that he will bypass college football altogether, opting instead for the cold hard cash of the Canadian Football League.

Then there's his commitment to Miami (Fla.) where the weather is better than Canada but the pay isn't as good. He has also been rumored to be bound for LSU, USC, Oregon, Clemson and Kansas State.

He did recently and publicly state he had a very good visit to Tennessee last weekend, one in which he was given a lot of personal attention from head coach Lane Kiffin, who illustrated how Brown would be used in UT's pro-style system. He probably liked Kiffin's plan, his youthful personality and straight on approach. He may have been impressed with UT's facilities and charmed by its fan, but he seems too pragmatic to hitch his star to a horse less wagon and questions about UT's offensive line, wide receivers, quarterbacks and tight ends mitigate against the Vols.

Call me a cynic but it just doesn't figure that a 17 year-old with a personal manager, pay web site and orchestrated press releases would make an emotional decision about where he will play football the next three years.

He has also stated on more than one occasion that he wasn't interested in being a savior or in playing the role of Atlas. Anywhere he goes expectations will be high by virtue of his status as the nation's consensus 2009 top prospect, so he might as well go where he'll get the most offensive support even if the starting job is occupied. Ultimately playing time doesn't figure to be a problem and he would probably prefer to play for a program that will distribute the workload.

Kiffin's plan to use both a big back and a big-play back i.e. the thunder-and lightning-combos used at USC — LenDale White and Reggie Bush — is probably more appealing to Brown than one which requires a tailback to carry the ball 300 times a season. But if that's the case why not go to USC? The system is established, the coffers are full and the weather is warm, even if the air quality is abysmal and earthquakes a perpetual threat.

Miami's ace in the hole is Brown's brother Arthur Brown, a freshman linebacker for the Canes, and a stellar talent in his own right. The brothers have always been close and the opportunity to play three seasons on the same team is one no other program can offer. However when Arthur committed to Miami in Dec. of 2007 his mother stated Bryce would probably move to south Florida to play his senior season. When it didn't happen, Bryce was seen as less than the Hurricane lock most experts figured.

The X-factor in any speculative analysis concerning Bryce Brown is his manager/trainer Brian Butler, who also serves in the same capacity for Arthur. Part of his self-assigned duties are to control access to Bryce, oversee his workouts and handles all media and recruiting requests.

Butler provides the same type of services to some 30 other prospects throughout Kansas and other parts of the midwest. He also solicits donations to cover travel expenses for his prospects to take summer visits to college campuses. Some high school coaches think his involvement is intrusive, while others view him as a benevolent benefactor with the prospects' best interests at heart. There is little middle ground where this polarizing personality is concerned.

For all the many positives the 6-0, 210-pound, Brown would bring to any program as a running back, he could also bring the type of individualism that is death to the team concept. That's something worth remembering no matter where Byrce Brown decides to next play football.


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