Camps are just underway and this is typically when news starts to heat up. Every once in a while, there’s a blip we just can’t ignore. Bryce Brown has been on our radar for quite a while and his story is so interesting we feel we have to something out there to answer a very important question.
Who is Bryce Brown?
There are many adjectives you could use to describe Brown’s path to the NFL, but frankly, none of them would be very flattering. His story is one filled with feelings of entitlement, bouts of immaturity and untapped potential.
Let’s go back to the beginning.
As a high school football player in Kansas, Brown won the Hall Trophy as the best high school player in the country and was the #1 player on the Rivals.com recruiting list – the first running back to achieve that designation since Adrian Peterson back in 2004. He was also ranked ahead of Trent Richardson and Matt Barkley in the recruiting class, which is obviously no small achievement.
This is where it gets interesting.
His recruitment was a total circus as he was guided by a pseudo-agent who sold his recruitment tapes, putting Brown’s collegiate eligibility in question. At one point, Brown attempted to enter the NFL straight out of high school and when denied, threatened to go straight to the CFL instead. The NCAA eventually cleared Brown to play in college and he gave an oral commitment to Randy Shannon and the University of Miami.
On signing day, Brown threw another curveball and opted against actually signing with the Hurricanes and instead named five other finalists for his services and announcing his own personal signing day a week later, thus doing nothing to dispel the idea his talent was making him delusional. Shockingly, Miami wasn’t even on the list of finalists. After making more visits, he finally opted to sign with Tennessee, citing the fact they’d prepare him best for the next level, something that was seemingly never off his mind.
Brown’s Freshman year was a bit of a disappointment as he played behind Montario Hardesty and gained just 460 yards with three touchdowns. After the season, he again changed his mind on where he wanted to play football and opted to transfer to Kansas State to join his brother, Arthur. Tennessee opted to not let him out of his scholarship, thus making him sit out the entire 2010 season.
After barely playing in 2011, Brown chose against returning to school for his remaining two years and opted to enter the NFL Draft to pursue what he’s always felt was rightfully his – an NFL career. He finished his collegiate career with just 476 rushing yards.
Brown is a kid who has been incredibly misguided and has obviously bought into his own hype at a ridiculous level. Amazingly, he has been part of at least three different NCAA investigations regarding possible rules violations, including the famous Miami investigation involving booster Nevin Shapiro.
While the handling of Brown reminds you clearly of the sad tale of Marcus Dupree, you have to hope this has a better ending. Brown is getting his chance now after being drafted in the seventh round of the 2012 NFL Draft by the Philadelphia Eagles.
At this point, he’s making the most of it.
Reports on Brown’s camp performance thus far have been glowing. He’s a big kid at 6’0 and 223 pounds, but has shown elusive ability and great speed, especially for a player with his size. There are many things he has to learn (albeit, he needs to accept that fact), including pass protection and offensive schemes. However, his talent has never been in question. He certainly doesn’t lack confidence.
Brown is currently in a battle with Chris Polk and Dion Lewis for the backup job to LeSean McCoy. At this point, it looks like he has a leg up on Polk and is nipping at the heels of Lewis. Running backs coach Ted Williams seems to be heaping praise on him every day. While he has no chance of ever unseating McCoy, Brown is an intriguing player to monitor during training camp and in the preseason as a long-term dynasty stash. He may flame out or he may finally play up to his potential – nobody knows. He’s a major project both on and off the field, but one with a massive amount of intrigue at the moment.