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March 10, 2009

National Notebook: Brown decision just days away

Prospects use different ways to come up with a decision. Some turn to their high school coaches. Some look to their parents and friends for guidance. But Bryce Brown, the No. 1 player in the class of 2009, will use a more spiritual approach.

When he announces his decision at 1 p.m. Monday at the Kansas Sports Hall of Fame in Wichita, Kan., Brown will be coming off a fast that people close to him say will allow him to get closer to God. Brown and his family firmly believe that during his fast, God will point him in the right direction and help him make the final call on his college choice.

"It's basically denying your flesh some of your habits, like eating, to try to let God work through you and to be able to be closer to him," says Brown's mentor, Brian Butler. "It allows you to meditate and hear what he has to say, basically."

Brown, who already has graduated from Wichita (Kan.) East, has never promoted he's fasting to come up with a final choice. Butler said he doesn't plan on divulging the length of Brown's fast.

"When it comes to the Bible, what they try to tell you is really don't promote when you're doing it," Butler said. "This is how we feel it helps you make a good decision, when you have an important one to make.

"That's really the purpose of it. Really, the only reason we let anybody know is because Bryce and his parents still believe that if more kids do this from a spiritual standpoint, it'll help them make the right decision. I know one of Bryce's goals in the future is actually to hold seminars or classes when it comes to the decision-making process from a spiritual standpoint."

Butler said there are a number of ways you can fast, but Brown plans on going with a more traditional route.

I know one of Bryce's goals in the future is actually to hold seminars or classes when it comes to the decision-making process from a spiritual standpoint.
- Brian Butler, Bryce Brown's mentor
"In our case, the fast we use is a liquid fast, where you drink all liquid, like tomato juice, protein shakes and water," Butler said. "It doesn't necessarily have to be fasting from food. In the Bible, the real ones are when you only drink water. But you can fast from video games, or your cell phone, or anything that's a normal habit for you to basically deny yourself that habit and get closer to God."

Butler said Brown has no plans to publicly announce which schools will make the final cut. But Butler did confirm that Brown did not make it to Miami for a planned unofficial visit.

It's still unclear whether that eliminates Miami from consideration, though there have been published reports that the Hurricanes no longer are actively recruiting Brown.

Brown visited LSU, Clemson, Oregon, Tennessee, Kansas State and Missouri. Clemson and Missouri appear to be out of the mix.

"We don't want to make a big spectacle cutting schools or anything of that nature," Butler said. "He has the schools that he's interested in, and those are the schools he's evaluating. As time goes on and the closer and closer he gets, I think he does have schools that he's more interested in. But he doesn't plan on cutting any schools or anything like that. He's just looking for the right school instead of saying these are the wrong schools."

LAKEWOOD LOADED

For one reason or another, Lakewood (Calif.) High in suburban Los Angeles never gets mentioned as one of the top talent-producing programs in the West. But the Lancers always have quality prospects, and they're loaded in the class of 2010.

Lakewood assistant Anthony Tucker said quarterback Jesse Scroggins is shooting up the charts with college coaches. After throwing for more than 2,400 yards and 23 touchdowns last season, Scroggins already has earned an offer from Washington and more are sure to come.

Wide receiver Kevin Anderson also has a Washington offer, and defensive lineman Justin Utupo has become a hot target with offers from several Pac-10 schools, including Oregon State. Dion Bailey is emerging as one of the top safety prospects in the nation, and he has offers from Washington, Washington State, Oregon State, Arizona and Nebraska.

"All these guys are legit and have great film," Tucker said. "They also play in one of the toughest divisions in America, so they face great competition every night out."

ETC.

• Alabama has landed its third commitment for 2010, from Austin Shepherd, a 6-foot-4, 316-pound offensive lineman from Suwanee (Ga.) North Gwinnett. Shepherd also had an offer from UAB and was getting heavy interest from other SEC programs.

• Huntington Beach (Calif.) Edison center Roman Sapolu has made a soft commitment to Oregon State. Sapolu, who is the son of former San Francisco 49ers center Jesse Sapolu, said he does want to take visits. Oregon State is the only school to offer Sapolu, but UCLA, Washington State, Colorado, Utah and San Diego State also are showing interest.

• Florida is up to seven commitments after landing a pledge from tight end Michael McFarland of Tampa (Fla.) Blake. McFarland also had scholarship offers from Boston College, Florida State, Auburn, Duke, North Carolina and Florida International.

• Miami scored a commitment from offensive lineman Shane McDermott of Wellington (Fla.) Palm Beach Central. He also was offered by West Virginia, Cincinnati, Vanderbilt, Stanford, Colorado State, USF, UCF and Florida International.



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