Brown Puts Perrilloux's Choice In Perspective

NCAA statutes prohibit coaches from commenting on players who did not sign with their respective programs. That's why Texas coach Mack Brown could not comment on QB Ryan Perrilloux's last-minute decision to commit to LSU -- at least not directly.

"If somebody looks you right in the face and they tell you something and you believe him and it's not true," Brown said, "then you're probably better off if he went somewhere else."

Hypothetically, of course.

"For seven years we've had very few people tell us they were coming and then change their mind," Brown said. "When it does happen here, everybody acts like it's a tragedy. But it happens every day. It's all over the country."

Perrilloux verbally committed to Texas last July but announced his decision to attend LSU early Wednesday morning, the first day players submitted their Letters of Intent to colleges.

"I have no disappointment in guys that don't come because there's a reason they didn't come," Brown said. "And the ones who want to come here will come here. Lou Holtz said a long time ago, 'If we play against one who told us they were coming but didn't come, if we play against the team he goes to four times, and he starts, and plays every play, we'll see him for four days for the rest of our lives. But the ones who come here are the ones we see 365 days for five years.' So we better worry about the ones who come than the ones who didn't."

Added Brown: "Things have a way of working out and guys go to the places they need to go to, for whatever reason. That's their right to do that. We're excited about what we've got."

The 14 players that Texas inked, plus 2004 commit OL Adam Ulatoski who sat out the season rehabbing a back injury, represents "the best class per player that we've ever signed," Brown insisted.

"If you look at the recruiting services evaluations, so much of what they do is based on the numbers the school signs," Brown noted. "So if you sign 30, you'll be number one. Some of the years we were up there, we signed 25-to-27. If I was looking at a recruiting service, even if I believed they were proper in their evaluations, I would look at the weight they evaluated each player and not the overall evaluation. If you look at per-player, our guys have been evaluated very high."

Signing Day decisions never come as a personal surprise, Brown insisted. Not even this one. It's just that the NCAA prohibits coaches from speaking about players unless their LOIs are signed, sealed and delivered. One of the results is that Brown, for example, cannot comment when a recruit begins to renege on his verbal.

"(Coaches are) at a real disadvantage because a kid can say anything, the recruiting services and newspapers can say anything publicly, the radio can say anything publicly, but the coaches are the only ones who can't clear up something that's not true," Brown said. "So, if it popped up that it looked like that we knew we were going to get a recruit and we lost him the last day, I probably knew that a month or two ago. But I'm not going to tell (media) because it's illegal. So, if you asked me if I was surprised that someone changed his mind, then I'm not."

Brown is convinced signee Colt McCoy, a two-time Associated Press 2A Offensive MVP, was overshadowed because he played in small town Tuscola, Texas. McCoy's 9,344 career yards (on 536-of-849 attempts) makes him the all-time passing leader in Texas 2A history and fourth overall in the Lone Star State.

"He did everything he possibly could at his level to be successful," Brown said. "I think he's got a chance to be really good. We'll have to look at playing him next year. And then next year we'll try to sign two quarterbacks again."

McCoy represents the first QB that Brown has inked since Rose Bowl MVP Vince Young set foot on campus three seasons ago. It's the VY factor, and the fact that he has two remaining years of eligibility, that has discouraged prep stars who don't want to redshirt as freshmen, Brown believes.

"We all know that, on certain days, Vince has had his throwing problems," Brown said. "Let me assure you that he threw his best when young (prospective) quarterbacks were in here watching him. I'd turn to Greg Davis and say, 'You know, we need to bring them in for games.'"

Probably, the thing that's most unsettling about Texas' not signing Perrilloux, or TE Martellus Bennett, is that it marks the second year in a row that Brown did not land the state's top-rated offensive player. The state's top defensive player (according to most rankings) Dallas Kimball DT DeMarcus Granger is taking his services to Oklahoma. It begs the question: does two years a trend make? Brown undoubtedly spoiled a lot of Orangebloods with his early success with larger recruiting classes to the extent that everyone now annually expects a Top Five class. At the same time, upper-echelon athletes generally want to sign with programs that are a) on the rise; b) win conference titles; or c) offer them the chance to play right away.

Perrilloux just wasn't going to supplant VY this season. Bennett wasn't going to nudge two-year starting TE David Thomas. There are obviously other factors why Perrilloux reneged; that horse; frankly, has been beaten enough. Another way to look at it is that next year's seniors were listed as the nation's No. 1 class when signed in 2002. Meanwhile, Texas landed four quality RBs in the area that was most critical to this year's class. And it landed a small town signal caller who, initially, will be an instant hero in Austin no so much for who he is but for he isn't.

"I've gone from 'Mister February' to 'Can't Recruit in three years," Brown quipped. "So, the perception is really interesting. And the worse we've done in recruiting, the more games we've won. So, we're probably doing it right. I must be coaching them better and evaluating them worse."

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