The split between Mack Brown and Texas has been praised for its amicability, with Jan. 30 even being celebrated as "Mack and Sally Brown Day" in the city of Austin, less than two months after he resigned from the Longhorns head coaching position.
However, Brown may not be as content as he appears. Speaking with KTRK, Houston's ABC affiliate, Texas commit John Bonney said that Brown told him and other commits to "look around" at other schools after resigning on Dec. 15.
Here's a video of the interview:
And here's a useful transcription of Bonney's quote, per Jerry Hinnen of CBS Sports:
I was at my official visit when Mack Brown resigned and he told us to go look around. [He said] he'll even talk to other coaches for you and everything because he really just wanted the best for us as players.
According to Chris Hummer of The Dallas Morning News (subscription required), Brown is reportedly staying on at Texas as a special advisor through 2020, which makes this advice all the more curious. Perhaps he didn't know of that arrangement before speaking with Bonney and telling him to look around?
Also, perhaps Brown just genuinely believes that "looking around" is what's best for prospects coming out of high school. Especially with the Longhorns out of a head coach at the time of the statement, Brown might be sincere in having Bonney's best interest at heart.
A program with no coach is a tough thing to commit to.
The point here is that, while suspicious, Brown didn't necessarily do this out of malice. There is more at play than spite that could have influenced his council.
Still, the Longhorns have struggled to retain recruits in the wake of Brown's departure, most notably losing 4-star linebacker Otaro Alaka to Texas A&M on Jan. 26.
It hurts to think that Brown might have encouraged him to visit elsewhere, and that said visit—Alaka was in College Station on Jan. 17, nine days before flipping—is the reason he will now play for a different Texas school. Former commit Courtney Garnett even signed up to switch sides on the Red River Rivalry.
Bonney is a 4-star safety from Houston who played at Lamar High School and is one of the highest remaining commits in Texas' class.
He did, indeed, take Brown's advice by visiting Auburn and Baylor in January. According to Hinnen, however, he says that he is still a firm commitment to Texas and new head coach Charlie Strong.
We'll see how many of his classmates follow suit.
Follow Brian Leigh on Twitter: @BLeighDAT