Commentary

Knoxville a good fit for Brown

Originally Published: March 16, 2009
By Tom Luginbill | Scouts Inc.

In choosing to sign with the University of Tennessee, Bryce Brown will play in an offense that perfectly fits with his skill set. The 6-foot, 215-pound running back will be a key contributor in an offense that will rely on a downhill running game to move the chains.

Brown is a nice blend of speed and power. He has the ability to run inside and outside, but thrives most when he's between the tackles. That's not to say Brown doesn't have breakaway speed. During his career at Wichita East High School he showed an ability to bounce outside, turn the corner and go the distance. Still, Brown's skills seem more suited for Tennessee's system than they were for the spread run by many of the teams he was considering.

Brown played against mediocre high school competition in central Kansas. During his brother Arthur's freshman season at Miami, the older Brown struggled at times and didn't see the field much outside of special teams duty. It will be interesting to see if Bryce is able to hit the ground running in Knoxville.

Much was made of the fact Tennessee is setting a new bar for assistant coach salaries. Thus far, that investment in a coaching staff littered with big names has paid off.

The Vols closed strongly in 2009, adding wideout Nu'Keese Richardson and DB Janzen Jackson on signing day and Brown and running back David Oku in the weeks after it. Brown is Tennessee's 21st 2009 commitment. The Vols' class was ranked 15th by Scouts Inc. on signing day, but with the late additions of Oku and Brown it could be top-10 caliber.

Brown, one of six UT commits in the ESPNU 150, figures to be in a running back rotation that also includes Oku, junior Lennon Creer and senior Montario Hardesty.

Getting Brown to Knoxville hardly solves all of Tennessee's problems -- the Vols still need a quarterback. But it does give Kiffin another impact player on the offensive side of the ball.

Although losing out on Brown may not hurt the LSUs of the world, Miami could have used his services. I applaud the Hurricanes for taking a hard-line stance with Brown. Miami gave him a date by which he had to make a decision. When he failed to decide by that date, the Hurricanes and coach Randy Shannon retracted their scholarship offer.

If there's a loser here, it's the process. Brown dragged his recruiting on much longer than necessary. (Terrelle Pryor didn't make a decision until late in the game last year, but he was playing basketball.) Brown's advisor and mentor Brian Butler seemed to relish his moment in the spotlight, to the detriment of Brown's reputation. That was evident when Butler created a for-profit Web site that discussed Brown's recruitment. I hope that this situation serves as a cautionary tale rather than a precedent for future prospects.

Tom Luginbill is the National Recruiting Director for ESPN's Scouts Inc.