Why Bryce Brown Will Be Running for the Kansas State Wildcats in 2011

Kimberley Nash@sambrooklynSenior Writer IMarch 22, 2010

TUSCALOOSA, AL - OCTOBER 24:  Bryce Brown #11 of the Tennessee Volunteers against the Alabama Crimson Tide at Bryant-Denny Stadium on October 24, 2009 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Here are the two facts that you already know: 1) Bryce Brown is no longer a Tennessee Volunteer and 2) Bryce Brown will be playing somewhere else in 2011. What we don’t know for sure is why ?

Was he homesick or sick of not “being the man” in Knoxville? After all, coming out of high school in 2009, he was the nation’s most sought-after running back prospect—according to Rivals. His commitment to the Miami Hurricanes didn’t hold water and he ended up at Tennessee under a cloud of suspicion. Once he got there, he got lost behind the hurricane that was Monterio Hardesty and struggled to find his groove as a freshman back.

However, 2010 might have brought bigger and better things for the young phenom as he was likely to be the heir apparent to the Hardesty Throne. He would also have been the benefactor of an offense that was switching to a new system and breaking in a new quarterback—translation—more runs, less passes.

His leaving has been made even more curious by the fact that his older brother, Arthur Brown, transferred from the Miami Hurricanes program. The two actions happened too close—there were 16 days between Arthur and Bryce’s announcements—in nature to be coincidence.

Some might say that it’s gross speculation to assume that Bryce will end up at Kansas State—considering the fact that he ditched Randy Shannon, his brother, and the Mighty "U," to go play for Lane Kiffin at Tennessee in 2009. By all accounts, it seems just as likely that he will go to USC and take over the featured back reigns for a USC team that is in need of a starter but I wouldn’t be too sure.

Kiffin had a front-row seat to what Brown could do while he was the head man at Tennessee, yet, he never saw fit to dole out more carries—despite his 104-yard performance in 2009’s season opener. Kiffin may be desperate for a back with experience at USC but USC is hardly desperate for a back.

Both Dillon Baxter and D.J. Morgan come in with just as much pomp and circumstance as Brown did in 2009. If either one of them becomes the back that they are expected to be, Brown won’t be any better off there in 2011 as he would have been in 2010 at Tennessee—he’d be worse.

On the flip side, if he were to head to Kansas State, and sit out a year, he would potentially be the featured back in 2011.

The reasons being, 1) The Wildcats are due to lose Daniel Thomas at the end of the 2010 season, 2) His brother will be there, sitting out the season with him, and they can give each other the mutual admiration and motivation needed to come back stronger in 2011, and 3) he’s a local product—there’s simply no place like home. Kansas State just makes sense for Bryce Brown.

As for why he left Tennessee, there is some indication that it may have had to do with the coaching changes. Brown stated that a big part of the reason he chose to attend the University of Tennessee was the presence of NFL level coaches on the staff. He liked that there were guys there who would be able to prepare him for the pros. Those coaches are now gone.

Even more, “personal issues” dominated his reason for ending up in Knoxville. They now are the reason for his leaving. It’s possible that he wants to be closer to his brother. In 2009, Miami eased up on their recruitment while Tennessee picked it up. Despite the fact that Oregon, Kansas State, and LSU were all equally interested, Knoxville is closer to Miami than those other schools.

Now, he may actually get what he wants. He can play with his brother at a school that wants him—Miami no longer truly wanted Brown due to his dealings with adviser Brian Butler—and be within a few hours of home.

USC may look like the sure option for Brown but, in the end, it isn’t the best one.


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