"Have to take the Fifth Amendment on that one," says Elbert, who later concedes: "If Tim does go out of state, we'll have to move out of state."
Wherever Couch goes, if he plays basketball at all in college, it will be as an afterthought to football, and a great many disappointed people will be left in his wake. "It's hard for an 18-year-old kid to tell a coach whom he's grown up adoring that he isn't going to play for him," says Tim, who is still considering Auburn, Florida, Kentucky, Notre Dame, Ohio State and (sigh) Tennessee. "I'm thinking about it all the time," he says of his impending decision. "Even if I'm just lying in bed, it never leaves my mind."
He has made certain of that. Taped above the light switch in his bedroom is a two-sentence note from a football assistant at Northwestern. "Your talent is God's gift to you," it reads. "What you do with your talent is your gift back to God."
It is the last thing that Tim sees each night when he turns out the lights.