That's where Bradenton Manatee quarterback Brion Carnes was committed to since early last year.
That's where he wanted to go, even though schools like Nebraska were recruiting him not long after he pledged to be a Bull.
"Yeah, I'd say I would still be there. I knew the place. It was close to home and I really liked all the coaches," Carnes said.
But that's not how the story went, of course. Brion saw Leavitt fired and East Carolina Head Coach Skip Holtz brought in. And shortly after that, every coach who had knew while a commit to USF, was summarily dismissed.
Carnes' shock at the whole situation was probably matched only by how suddenly his seemingly comfortable world as a commit turned into the always-hectic world of being a recruit.
And it seemed that there were two teams which seemed to have the inroads if Carnes was going to be looking around:
Nebraska and Western Kentucky
For those not familiar with the Manatee program, just the idea that WKU would stand a chance against Nebraska, is a little more than they could take. After all, last year was their first year in the Football Bowl Subdivision and they couldn't even muster a single win.
But Willie Taggart was their new head coach, and not only was he a former star at Manatee, but a close friend of Carnes and his family. "He's just someone I have known since I was little. And with him being at Manatee, there were a lot of voices in my ear that we could do something great there," said Carnes.
And it isn't that Carnes doesn't agree. But his feeling when he committed to South Florida and now is that outside of the obvious academic things he wants to achieve, was that he wanted to win…period.
"I want to play for titles. I want to play for championships. I want to be in a BCS title game," he said. "I know Nebraska is close to that," he said. "And I know coach Taggart is going to do great things at Western Kentucky. I promise you that. But for me, I felt Nebraska would be the best place to succeed."
He's used to that, his team going all the way to the state finals this year, which included a climactic win over St. Thomas Aquinas, at the time the number one ranked prep football team in the country. But Brion doesn't think about that historic win. He thinks about the loss. "I wish we could have brought the same intensity to playing Plant that we did playing Aquinas. But it seemed like when we beat them, I don't know, maybe we lost something," he said. "You can't let up in the playoffs though. You have to keep that same intensity all the way through or you won't be the one holding the trophy."
The story has been told so many times about Carnes possibly going to WKU and then not. And then on signing day, when it was all but expected he would sign with the Hilltoppers, now he's a Husker.
It's been a process Brion would have just as soon gone without. But he's now glad it's over. "it's hard telling people "no" who you have known most of your life. It's hard just shutting it all out and figuring out what's right for you," he said.
And thankfully, one of the people who could have been very influential toward a certain direction, just told Brion to do what's best for him. "Yeah, we talked all the time and he would always say that I need to go where I want to go, not where everyone else wants me to go," Carnes said of his second cousin and former Husker quarterback, Tommie Frazier. "He said to do what you feel is the right thing to do."
Last night he figured out just what that was.
And despite the offensive struggles for Nebraska this last season, he's not deterred, because he knows what they wanted to do, but couldn't. And the commitment of Jamal Turner for next year didn't matter as well. He said that competition only makes you better.
Now he's just happy that the competition from the point on will be with himself to get better and with opponents who are trying to stop him. It's a far cry from what it's been. "It's hard shutting out all those voices saying you should do this, you should do that. It's hard just thinking about what's best for you," he said. "But we did it. We sat down as a family and prayed about it and it came up Nebraska."
Carnes joins safety Corey Cooper as commits to the Huskers on signing day. Nebraska could also get another commit today, that coming from potentially Owamagbe Odighizuwa, the five star defensive end out of Oregon. But if they don't get him, Nebraska could potentially fill that vacant spot with offensive lineman Denton Simek, who told Big Red Report this morning that he was waiting until 1:00 pm central time to figure out where he is going, between Arkansas and the Huskers.
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