Top prospect Brown may keep Hurricanes, others waiting
Bryce Brown, Rivals.com's No. 1 high school player, may not sign on Feb. 4
Last year, top prospect Terrelle Pryor delayed his decision until after Signing Day
Brown committed to Miami, but is now considering Oregon, USC and more
For the second consecutive year, the nation's No. 1 high school football prospect might not choose a school until after National Signing Day.
Last year, Terrelle Pryor opted to delay the process for a few weeks before deciding to attend Ohio State. This year, Wichita (Kan.) East running back Bryce Brown could wait a while to make his choice.
Ohio State was always Pryor's leader, but he didn't commit to the Buckeyes before signing with them in March and delayed his decision because of family issues. Brown has been committed to Miami since before Pryor made his decision (Brown committed in February 2008), but there are other factors at work.
Brown's mentor, Brian Butler, recently said "there is a very low chance" Brown will sign anywhere Feb. 4. Why? There are many reasons.
The first is Miami doesn't have an offensive coordinator, and Brown wants to see who the Hurricanes hire. While Brown can play in any offense, it's doubtful he'd prefer to play in a spread because his talents are better-suited for a pro-style offense. His relationship with the new hire will be even more important and could take some time to develop, perhaps delaying Brown's decision. Brown is talented enough to influence Miami coach Randy Shannon's hire. Shannon would do well to find a coordinator who likes to use the run to set up the pass and wants to feed his feature back the football.
Another reason Brown is waiting is that he has two official visits left -- and is likely to take both. Kansas State has pushed hard for Brown since Bill Snyder returned, but Brown has been to K-State so many times he might not feel he needs to make an official trip. USC and Tennessee are the more likely candidates, although Auburn and Nebraska have also been mentioned. USC is loaded at running back, but Brown isn't afraid of competition. New Vols coach Lane Kiffin is selling Tennessee as "USC East" and wants to build his offense around Brown.
Brown could also take one of his official visits to Miami, and he has a tentative date set for Jan. 23. But that could get pushed back if the Hurricanes still don't have an offensive coordinator at that point.
Oregon, though, could be the real threat to Miami. Offensive coordinator/coach-in-waiting Chip Kelly has done an impressive job selling the Ducks' offense, and Brown has even gone as far as saying the Ducks are his favorite despite his commitment to Miami.
Brown has taken official visits to Missouri and Clemson, but neither is considered a major player.
Another factor could be Brown's brother, former five-star linebacker Arthur Brown, who signed with Miami last year but saw limited time as a true freshman. I reported a few weeks back that Brown was considering a transfer, but those rumors have died down and sources say he will be a 'Cane next season for sure. While Bryce won't go to Miami simply to follow his brother, the 'Canes still are the team to beat. But watch out for those Ducks -- and perhaps a delayed decision in February.
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