First thing is first: If Jim Leavitt is still at South Florida, we are probably not having this conversation.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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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