I have been following college football recruiting for many years now, and the one story that stands out to me is that of blue chipper and consensus #1 overall recruit RB Bryce Brown. This is a guy who just found it extremely difficult to make up his mind about what was best. With the pressures that he faced from mass media outlets, it was nearly impossible for him to follow his heart. Even when he did so, it was not permanent as people continued to ask questions about his future, and whether or not he will continue to shop around at other schools. Like I’ve said, with the media outlets that follow player’s every step, to radio shows like the Jeff Cameron Show, which not only reports the news, but gives opinions on these steps, it must be very difficult for a 17 year old kid to keep his head on straight. Is it morally wrong for the media to pry into these kids’ lives? Maybe, but there is a demand for this information, so we can consider the opinion that the media is just doing their job. I’ll let you decide.
With the reach of technology these days, it must be more difficult to sincerely choose the school of best fit today than it was for someone like Marcus Dupree 30 years ago. Because kids from Miami are able to learn so much about schools in California or Oregon and vice versa. Marcus Dupree probably had a much vaguer feel for schools that were far far away. In the case of Brown’s recruitment, he did take advantage of visits as well as the good will of coaches. Maybe because he was confused, maybe because he was advised to do so, or maybe because he wanted his face on the front page of websites and magazines and newspapers.
Brown committed to his older brother‘s school, the University of Miami early his senior year of high school, but that was far from the end of the story. Like Dupree, Brown had an advisor, and nobody really knew why this was, or who this man was. The advisor Brian Butler, who was a former felon and rapper, and Butler acted as Brown’s representative to the media. Butler sold updates of Brown’s recruitment on a website, announced at one point that Brown was considering joining the CFL, and eventually pushed Brown’s commitment date to March 16, over a month past National Signing Day.
Brown wavered in his commitment, taking visits to Oregon, Clemson, and Tennessee, as well as fielding interest from LSU and Missouri, all while remaining ‘committed’ to Miami, whatever that means. Eventually the University of Miami did what I would do (I never thought I’d say that), and told Brown to take a hike. Brown committed to the University of Tennessee.
At Tennessee, Brown claimed he had trouble finding common ground with his teammates, and found it difficult to find the field behind future NFL back Montario Hardesty. He eventually left Tennessee to enroll at Kansas State, which is where Brown was originally from. Brown has yet to play for K State as he must sit out a year before suiting up. Oh, if only we knew where Brown really wanted to go from the beginning…