Bryce Brown was a microcosm of the entire Lane Kiffin era (year) at Tennessee. All flash and plenty of hype, all for absolutely nothing. That entire group just ended up breaking a lot of hearts.
That’s exactly why Brown ended up on this list from Bleacher Report detailing the most overhyped college football players since 2000. He ended up checking in at number three overall.
Brown — the number one overall recruit from 2009 — initially committed to Miami verbally. But Brown never signed his LOI, creating the weirdest recruiting story of all time. All eyes were on Brown, who was the crown jewel of that 2009 group.
At one point in the process, Brown’s camp said that they were even considering skipping college ball and heading to the CFL. Brown’s trainer/handler Brian Butler sold recruiting updates exclusively on Brown for a monthly fee. The whole process was bizarre and naturally led to an NCAA investigation.
Brown eventually committed to Lane Kiffin and Tennessee in the middle of March. Those two were a perfect match.
Brown was cleared to play in 2009 for Tennessee. He spent the year behind Montario Hardesty, who 1,345 yards and 13 touchdowns. Brown got 101 carries in the backup role, managing 460 yards and 3 touchdowns. It was a pretty pedestrian year for a guy coming in with so much hype.
Brown left Tennessee after Kiffin did, heading to Kansas State to play alongside his brother. Bryce ended up hardly even touching the field in Manhattan.
He declared for the NFL Draft and suddenly looked like he belonged. He averaged nearly five yards per carry in his rookie year for the Eagles. A crowded backfield in Philly force him out, however. He’s since been dealt to the Bills, then signed with the Seahawks. He’s now a free agent.
You have to wonder what would have happened to Bryce had he just taken the normal route. Had he just signed that LOI with Miami or whoever, what would his story have been? We’ll never know. It was always something with Bryce Brown. Unfortunately, there are way too many examples of this in sports.