As high as the expectations were for RTT#4 Nu'Keese Richardson, they were still higher and greater and longer and stronger for Bryce Brown. I mean, just look at this:
Five shiny, spinning stars from both major recruiting services, a full rack of ten jars from this site, a 4.4 forty, the #1 player in the nation overall, and a top three offer package of LSU, Southern Cal, and Miami. Yes, he's only third in the class, due to the offer sets of the two guys ahead of him, but yeah, we had great expectations for Brown.
Dude did quite well, too, especially considering that Montario Hardesty was ahead of him making up for four years of frustration in a single senior season. Brown's 2009 stats:
That 12 looked odd to me at first, making me think that perhaps Brown checked out even prior to spring practice (see below), but news reports just prior to the Chick-fil-A Bowl indicate he was trying to overcome a concussion, and that's probably the reason he missed that game. So 460 yards rushing and 137 receiving is really pretty good for a true freshman backup running back, although I'm not sure you can say that it's up to the expectations with which he came to Tennessee. For comparison's sake, Jamal Lewis had 1,364 yards his freshman season in 1997. Of course, Lewis was also the feature back that season, so the comparison's not really fair.
Let's check the video:
The first play in that thing reminded me that Brown had a bad hip for much of the early part of the season. He also has a tendency to run too upright, but that's nitpicking. The guy is good. Very good. The problem now, of course, is that he chose not to participate in spring practice, and most think he's going to transfer. Yet he's still on campus even though class is over for the semester, so we've got a bit of a flakiness factor at best and a one-and-done at worst.