I recently posted up my final mock draft of the season, one of the selections focused on former Tenneessee and Kansas State running back Bryce Brown. A highly regarded recruit that has been forgotten and recycled like yesterdays newspapers.
I think every football fan likes a good story and with Bryce Brown, there is a story and a half. First and foremost he is a prospect for the 2012 NFL draft, he likely will be selected in the 6th or 7th round if at all. He has bagage and he is a complete mystery.
He could be a complete waste, or he could make one General Manager look like an absolute genius. So lets go back to the start and focus on how we got here.
Bryce Brown was and still is one of the most heralded high school football players in history. He finished his high school career with 7,209 yards inclusing a 2,000+ Sophmore campaign. He won the 2008 Hall Trophy award which is pretty much the high school equivalent of the Heisman trophy. He was highly regarded as the best running back to come out of Kansas since Barry Sanders.
However this is where it all starts to unravel. Bryce's recruiting was an absolute farce; anyone who follows college recruiting closely will remember this as 'The Decision', before LeBron James and ESPN ever thought up the ridiculous idea. He had what you can only describe as a manager in Brian Butler, who sold news in relation to his workouts and the recruiting process on his own personal website for montly or yearly subscriptions.
This led to the NCAA launching an investigation into Bryce's amateur status as a student athlete in High School Bryce verbally committed to the University of Miami but continued to take visits and hesitated to sign his letter of intention. He was a Diva, he wanted the attention. He said he would not sign a letter of intent on National Signing day and would instead hold a separate announcement on the 16th of March 2009.
The problem was that Miami's scholarship offer expired on February 18th, and they would not re-issue another letter. Miami is a proud school who I believe didn't want to pander to the ego of a high school senior who seemed to be played by the puppet master Brian Butler. Eventually after much hype and much criticism, Bryce signed with Lane Kiffin and the Volunteers.
In 2009 Bryce started to show why he was one of the most heralded high school recruits of the last decade. He had 4.3 speed with power in his 200+lb frame. He had the patience, the ability to catch out of the backfield and by all accounts the work ethic on the practise field to improve. He finished the season with 460 yards on 101 carries for a 4.6 yard average per carry and three touchdowns. He also caught 10 passes for 137 yards for 13.7 yards a catch and the single score.
At the end of the 2009 season, Lane Kiffin bolted for USC and Derek Dooley took over the reigns at Tennessee. Brown managed the whole off-season program however left practise on the first day of Spring. He remained enrolled through the whole Spring semester before transferring to Kansas State in August to join his Brother Arthur who had transferred to Kansas State from Miami. Tennessee refused to release him from his scholarship so he had to support himself for the entire 2010 season which he sat out in accordance with NCAA rules.
In a Yahoo sports exclusive in 2011, Bryce Brown was one of a number of players named in a report alleging student athletes received benefits which violated NCAA rules from booster Nevin Shapiro. Shapiro is currently imprisoned for orchestrating a $930 million Ponzi Scheme.
After just three carries at Kansas State, Bryce Brown left the Kansas State football team. With two years of eligibality remaining, Bryce has decided to enter the 2012 draft early. I've always been impressed with Bryce when he is just playing football. The problem is that he has never just been able to play football. He's always had some form of distraction.
Bryce is 20 years old and as I mentioned at the start. He will either fall off the face of the football planet or make a GM look like a genius.