"Coaching is just a business" 

January, 26, 2010

Last spring I wrote an ESPN Magazine story (read it here) in which we set out to detail not only the boom of Texas-bred college QB standouts -- but also focus on how tricky the recruiting process can be to navigate for high school QB recruits. In the initial story pitch, we had discussed the story as "Searching for the next Drew Brees" or "the next Todd Reesing." I spoke to some college coaches as well as some recruiting analysts before heading down to Fort Worth, Texas, for an Elite 11 regional workout at TCU.

The QB who fit our profile best -- and who also outperformed every other quarterback prospect there -- was a 6-foot, 175-pound kid named Matt Brown. The Nebraska Cornhuskers and a handful of other BCS programs had already offered him scholarships; he and his family were trying to sort out his options. Right before the story went to print, Brown committed to the Arizona Wildcats and Mike Stoops. This seemed like a great fit. Brown went on to have a great senior season, throwing for more than 2,400 yards and rushing for almost 1,200 more. His TD-INT ratio was 24-2.

I have to say I was pretty stunned when I saw something pop up on my Twitter feed via ESPN_OntheTrail saying Brown had decommited and was now committed to the TCU Horned Frogs. I spoke to Brown last night. His story illustrates just how nerve-wracking the recruiting process can be for recruits and their families, especially when you think everything is all taken care of and your college future is set.

Feldman: You just switched to TCU? How did all of this happen -- when [former Arizona offensive coordinator] Sonny [Dykes] took the La. Tech head coaching job?

Brown: Yeah, it was crazy. Coach Dykes and Coach [Mike] Stoops came by for their home visit on last Tuesday, and they didn't say anything about anything. I had no idea something might be happening. It seemed like a normal day, and they were just stopping by. But then Coach Dykes takes the job the next day. So I'm sitting there, thinking "What the heck?" I didn't know what to think about it. I didn't know what was going to happen. I mean this was the guy who was recruiting me since I was a sophomore. He was always there. He gave me my second offer. And when he left, I didn't know what to do. I didn't want to put all of my eggs in one basket with Coach Dykes and Arizona.

I went right back to our athletic facility [at Allen High in Allen, Texas] and [my high school coach] said he would call a couple of schools. And he did. One of the schools was TCU and they were still looking for a quarterback and they wanted me.