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February 18, 2009

Miami set to pull out of Brown sweepstakes?

MORE: Final 2009 Rivals250 | Team recruiting rankings | Rivals.com Scouting the Nation

Bryce Brown's recruitment continues to take on almost-mythical proportions, as now comes word that one school may pull out of the sweepstakes.

Brown, a running back from Wichita (Kan.) East who is the nation's No. 1 player, has maintained that he is a Miami commitment despite looking at other schools. He already has taken visits to Clemson, Oregon, Tennessee, Kansas State and Missouri, is scheduled to take an unofficial visit to LSU on Feb. 27 and was planning to take his final official visit to Miami on March 3. Brown then was to make public his decision March 12.

But news surfaced Tuesday that if Brown doesn't sign his national letter-of-intent with the Hurricanes today, Miami likely will cease its recruitment of him. The letter-of-intent Brown was offered by Miami expires at midnight Thursday, and a person involved in recruiting the running back says UM will not re-issue the scholarship offer.

"Everything that Coach [Randy] Shannon is doing here is about team," a high-ranking source in the athletic department told CaneSport.com, a Rivals.com Web site. "There is always going to be concern about a player or a prospective player who isolates himself as an individual.

"There is a strong chance that a new letter-of-intent will not be offered if he doesn't sign by Wednesday night."

Brian Butler, who is handling Brown's recruiting, told Rivals.com Wednesday that neither he nor anyone in Brown's family has spoken with Miami since the report surfaced. But Butler feels confident Miami remains a viable option.

"We talked to them right before this all broke," Butler said. "Bryce talked with Randy Shannon, and Coach Shannon talked to Mr. Brown as well. I guess there was some guy from The AP that talked to somebody from the school and the information was that they were considering dropping Bryce.

I trust Coach [Randy] Shannon and his word more than an AP reporter. Mr. Brown and Bryce talked to Coach Shannon on Monday and he knows what the situation is, and we've not heard anything to change our status with them.
- Bryce Brown's mentor Brian Butler
"Whether that is true or not, I don't know. Bryce and Mr. Brown talked to the head coach. I trust Coach Shannon and his word more than an AP reporter. Mr. Brown and Bryce talked to Coach Shannon on Monday and he knows what the situation is, and we've not heard anything to change our status with them."

The letter-of-intent drama was just part of the buzz about Brown on Tuesday. The story took another twist when Brown announced on Butler's Web site that his final two visits would be to LSU on Feb. 27 and to Miami on March 3. Brown, who uses the Web site as his preferred way of making recruiting-related announcements, also talked about his official visit to Tennessee.

"At LSU, I want to see the offensive game plan, meet the people and get a feel for the city of Baton Rouge," Brown said in the statement. "[Miami will be] in spring ball, so I want to see how the coaches interact with the players at practice and look at how the new offense is coming along.

"The players and the coaches at Tennessee are fired up down there. I could tell that they are working hard to battle for the SEC title. We talked about how they are going to block different run plays. We also talked about the impact that Coach [Lane] Kiffin had with the Oakland Raiders over the past couple of years, as well as his NFL experience with the St. Louis Rams."

Brown said Kiffin, the Vols' new coach, did his best to sway him to sign with Tennessee.

"You can feel the passion that he has to make UT champions again," Brown said. "He already has proven that he is one of the best offensive minds in football. Coach Kiffin made a big impression on me."

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