Recruiting: 'It just felt right' -- Tarell Brown

Pop the cork and bust out the champagne. Or better yet, send Mack Brown and his staff a congratulatory email for landing the 5-11, 185-pound ball-hawk from North Mesquite. What started with several of the elite programs in the country vying for <B>Tarell Browns'</b> commitment eventually became a two-team battle between Texas and FSU. In the end, Mack prevailed again, continuing his mastery over <B>Bobby Bowden</b> in securing top-ranked Texas kids when battling head-to-head.

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"Monday night, I was driving home from work," Brown said. "It's kind of a long drive, about 30 minutes, I guess. And I just started thinkin' about everything... debatin' about where I really wanted to go. Originally, I was planning on announcing my decision around Christmas, but I was thinking about where I really wanted to go, you know, thinkin' about making my decision earlier instead of waiting. When I got home, my parents said, 'Go to Texas!' So, that really got me thinkin' about it. Then, the phone rang. And wouldn't you know, it was Coach (Hardee) McCrary. Just too many coincidences and all at the same time, so I knew it had to be right. I told Coach McCrary I wanted to be a Longhorn."

Of course, McCrary agreed that it had to be right with so many factors at play and told Brown that was the best news he had heard all day.

What had to be pure jubilation for Mack and Co. had to be absolute heartbreak the tomahawk-chopping Seminole gang when the nation's No. 2-rated corner broke the news of his verbal to The University over FSU.

"They weren't real happy about it," said the 5-star blue-chip corner. "I talked to them on Tuesday and they told me that I had to do what I thought was best for me. They asked me if I still wanted them to recruit me, you know, if I wasn't 100 percent sure... and I told them 'No,' that I had made my decision already and that I was firm to Texas."

What a tough decision to make for a kid whose lifelong dream to play for Florida State was in fact terminated by his own choice to play elsewhere.

"It was hard, very hard," the state's top cover corner told IT. "It was like turning down my dreams of playing for my favorite team. You know, ever since I was a freshman in high school, I said I would go to FSU if the opportunity was there."

According to Brown there were a few reasons he selected the Longhorns over virtually everyone in the nation. The first reason does not apply to the teams previously making up his top five.

No. 1, he said negative recruiting backfired on the coaches electing to dole it out. Brown also said that stories about teams promising a starting position as a recruiting ploy -- a practice, it is increasingly clear, that Mack Brown simply refuses to adopt -- were especially true in his case, but obviously did not work.

"When a coach told me that I was going to start from day one, he eliminated himself from contention," said Brown. "Nothing's guaranteed. In life, nothing's ever just given to you. You have to work hard for everything you get. If you or I want something, then we better start working harder than the next guy. We better work 10 times as hard if we want to be better than the next guy. That's just how it is."

Brown continued, "A lot of people, and I'm not going to name any names, were telling me not to go to Texas. And what they didn't realize was they were making me want to go to Texas. The more I heard that, the more I wanted to go to Texas."

"People have this perception that Texas is stacked. The coaches at Texas were honest with me. I know what they have. But I kept getting all of this negative stuff about how Texas was so much more stacked than everyone else. And they were asking me why I wanted to go and sit on the bench for three years, like I wasn't good enough to play for Texas. Telling me I can't play with the guys Texas has. One coach said, 'Texas has four DBs, why do you want to go there?' Another one said, 'I only have two DBs, so I know you can play for me', like I couldn't play for Texas. What I couldn't understand is how they thought they were bad-mouthing Texas, when what they were really doing was bad-mouthing me and their own program. I feel like I'm one of the best players in the state of Texas. I feel as if I can play for anybody. If I'm not good enough to play for Texas, but I'm good enough to play for their school, then what does that say about their program? I want to win national championships, so I'm definitely not going to go play for a coach who thinks I can't play for Texas, but can definitely play for his team."

No. 2, contrary to the blather spread with regard to Texas' depth-chart being loaded, opposing coaches failed to acknowledge, flat-out ignored and/or refused to convey was the imminent departure of senior corner Rod Babers (recently named 3rd-team All American by the AP). Tarell Brown has the utmost confidence in his abilities to come in, compete for and win the cornerback position vacated by Babers. Even if everyone else moves up, he said he has a shot at beating out the nickel back or grabbing the vacant dime slot. During the 2002 season, there were times when Reese wasn't even able to employ his dime packages because he lacked six solid corners.

Another fact not lost on Tarell is the exodus of both corner Nathan Vasher and free safety Dakarai Pearson after the '03 season.

Also, Duane Akina playing the top four DBs giving Brown a chance to crack the lineup as a safety/cornerback means a lot to the ultra-competitive DB ranked as the 20th-best overall player nationwide.

"Coach Akina showed me the depth chart and the different schemes they like to run," said Brown. "He showed me exactly how stacked they really were. I could see that there wasn't a whole lot of depth. But the thing I liked the best was that he told me I would have a shot to come in and play early, that redshirting was strictly up to me. And if I go in there giving it 110 percent... you know, handle my business, I'll get a chance to play. He said the best players will play, regardless."

No. 3, Brown cited the overall feel, or "fit," of the Texas program.

"It just felt right," said the speedster who clocked a blistering 4.28 forty and posted a 37-inch vertical leap at the Nike Camp in Texas. "I felt like I fit in better at Texas than at FSU or any other school. Plus, I really like the coaches and the players they have. My parents really loved the coaching staff too. And Mack Brown made my parents smile; that really got to me."

Tarell Brown cements what was already an excellent class of defensive backs. Representing the Longhorns' 16th-commitment for the Class of 2003, Brown may in fact be the best overall prospect thus far in a class full of outstanding prospects.

More on Tarell Brown coming in this week's edition of the Inside Texas Inside Scoop!

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