While brother decides, Arthur Brown aims to play

Updated: February 28, 2009, 3:44 PM ET
Associated Press

CORAL GABLES, Fla. -- A couple years ago, sharing a bedroom in a small Kansas home, two talented football-playing brothers hatched a simple plan.

The older one would pick a college.

The other would follow a year later.

So when Arthur Brown decided to take his copious skills at linebacker to Miami a year ago, it was widely expected that standout running back Bryce Brown would follow as planned and start playing for the Hurricanes this coming fall.

It sounded easy. Of course, it wasn't.

Bryce Brown committed to Miami a year ago but chose not to accept the school's scholarship offer before it expired on Feb. 18, and the exasperated Hurricanes will not issue another. Meanwhile, Arthur Brown presses on, now spending Miami's spring football season trying to win a job at middle linebacker -- and not seeming distressed by his brother's saga whatsoever.

"I'm going to support whatever decision he makes," Arthur Brown said Saturday, as the Hurricanes wrapped up their first week of spring ball. "That's my feeling on it."

Arthur Brown doesn't want to say much more than that when it comes to his brother's fractured relationship with Miami. That might be for the best. Coaches are prohibited from commenting on unsigned recruits, but a person involved in wooing Bryce Brown to join his brother in Coral Gables told The Associated Press more than two weeks ago that the situation had gone too far.

The message that day was simple: It's over for Bryce Brown at Miami.

Arthur Brown might just be getting started.

When he played last season, it was primarily on special teams, and he showed plenty of promise. But -- just like his younger brother is the No. 1 overall recruit in 2009 -- Arthur Brown was ranked as the nation's No. 1 linebacker coming out of high school by some scouting services, so there was plenty of pressure to live up to right away.

"The guys that come in with all the ESPN ratings and all that, a lot of people look at them and say, 'You've got to come out and start now," Miami coach Randy Shannon said. "I think that weighed on him a little bit. But he was a great special-teams player for us this past year. He helped us win some games. And now he's taking the next step."

He's doing so while waiting to see what his brother's next step is.

Bryce Brown's adviser, Brian Butler, has said often in recent weeks that the running back is still committed to Miami. Bryce Brown will not sign his letter of intent until March 16, Butler said, because he and the family decided that an extended decision period, some more college visits, and a week of fasting and prayer were necessary before making the final decision.

So why commit a year ago but not sign along with nearly every other recruit on Feb. 4?

"There's been a lot of change at Miami," Butler said. "The offensive coordinator was fired, there's a new defensive coordinator. Bryce needs to evaluate all that and wants to see what God's plan is for him."

True, Miami does have new coordinators on each side of the football this spring. But that didn't keep any other committed players from signing letters of intent with the Hurricanes.

Bryce Brown rushed for nearly 1,900 yards in nine games this season at Wichita East High, and was offered scholarships by dozens of the nation's major college programs.

"If Bryce is supposed to be at Miami, then we'll see if there's an offer for him on March 16," Butler said.

Butler advised Arthur Brown as well during his recruiting process. Butler is almost looked at as an extended member of the Brown family in many regards, but several people who know both Arthur and Bryce say the two teens have considerably different personalities.

In other words, what Arthur's thinking isn't necessarily what Bryce thinks.

"It's a challenge. There's a lot of challenges when you're going through this process," Arthur Brown said.

Even if Bryce Brown isn't at Miami next year, Arthur Brown insists that he won't leave the Hurricanes.

"He's fine. No problems. Happy to be here, excited, ready to go," Shannon said.

One thing Bryce Brown will avoid by not coming to Miami is this: His brother can hit.

During a live-hitting drill Saturday morning, Arthur Brown was lining up at middle linebacker, the position the Hurricanes want to see if he can play. The ball was snapped and two linemen immediately got in his way as freshman running back Mike James -- a strong 210-pounder -- took a handoff and darted through the left side of the line of scrimmage, plenty of space in front of him.

In a flash, Brown slipped off the blockers, grabbed James with one arm and drove him to the turf with relative ease.

"I'm learning how to adapt and accept change," Arthur Brown said. "It helped me out last year and I'm catching on faster this year."


Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press

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