February 10, 2009
• Mr. Brown sets a date. Kansas running back Bryce Brown, the nation's top recruit according to Rivals and others, will announce his destination to great fanfare from an enthralled nation on March 12, according to a press release Monday on his handler's Web site. There's still nothing to indicate Brown won't honor his longstanding verbal commitment to follow his brother, Arthur, to Miami, but he'll be visiting Knoxville this weekend -- if anyone can sway a commitment, as we've learned, it's Lane Kiffin, Ed Orgeron and Lance Thompson -- and then either LSU, Miami or Southern Cal on Feb. 26. Word Monday was a visit to USC could be in the works.
Meanwhile, his hander, Brian Butler, would also like recruiting fans to know via the same release that "NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!" Bryce Brown is not considering an immediate jump to pro football in Canada, as reported by a few outlets (including, apparently, ESPN as recently as Monday). Last week's unflattering profile in the New York Times made that pretty clear: There's not enough money in the CFL. Butler responds to that article (kind of) here, although he's less interested in the Times' implication that Butler fabricates scholarship offers out of thin air to drum up interest in his clients than he is in countering a couple quotes therein by the Browns' high school coach. Good luck making it through the whole release.
• A Cap'n stands by his ship. The Dallas Morning News has more on Mike Leach's contract impasse at Texas Tech, specifically regarding the Cap'n's supposedly wandering eye. One of the provisions in the new contract deemed "unacceptable" by Leach is a restriction on his ability to talk to other programs without going through Tech administration for permission. But despite seemingly annual overtures, the e-mail evidence from the coach's marketing agency shows Leach has only interviewed for one other job in nine years at Tech and turned down three different overtures from other schools in the last two seasons (he interviewed with Washington after last season, as reported in December, but turned down the Huskies and Tennessee during the season and UCLA in December 2007; we also learn Leach was never in the picture at Auburn). Contract or no contract, he's on pace to become a Texas Tech lifer.
One note in the Morning News story that might be of more interest to Texas Tech fans: Dallas developer and Tech booster/trustee Jim Sowell has been heavily involved in the negotiations, which good Raider folk won't like much if the school's Feb. 17 deadline passes with no new deal in place.
• Meet your new coordinator, some guy. Randy Shannon appears to have settled on a rather obscure defensive coordinator hire at Miami: John Lovett, late of North Carolina, where he was the special teams coordinator and all-purpose defensive assistant under Butch Davis the last two seasons. This is a promotion, then, and a somewhat surprising one seeing that Lovett was fired from his last two high profile coordinator gigs, at Auburn (1999-2001) and Clemson (2002-04), and had a middling run at Bowling Green (2005-06) before joining Davis at UNC.
Quickly ... Nebraska and Missouri have rescheduled for a Thursday night kickoff on ESPN in October. ... Are some of these wide receiver commitments hoping to play quarterback at Michigan, or what? ... Defensive coordinator Joe Tresey won't be back at Cincinnati despite a good season thanks to "philosophical differences" with head coach Brian Kelly. ... Texas lands a commitment from Colt McCoy's brother, Case, a quarterback prospect for 2010. Unlike his brother, though, Case is likely to spend at least three years hotshot local Garrett Gilbert. ... New Oakland Raiders assistant Jim Michalczik explains why he left Washington after less than two months as Steve Sarkisian's defensive coordinator. ... Talk about a change in culture: Toledo defensive line coach Patrick Graham is leaving to join the New England Patriots after just a month with the Rockets. ... Thorpe Award winner Malcolm Jenkins feels Oklahoma's pain. ... Pahokee High coach Blaze Thompson received a contrite phone call from Lane Kiffin over the weekend, but he's waiting for a public apology. ... Former Illinois defensive tackle Chris Norwell is on the rebound from cancer, according to his sister. ... And the eyes of the world are on Auburn coaches.