By John Dawson, Special to Burnt Orange Nation
John is a former recruiting reporter for the Birmingham News in Alabama. You can also read John's blog at Caffeine and Irony.
Buried deep in the coverage of the Mike Shula firing comes an interesting note that will no doubt resonate through the recruiting world. It comes from a story in the Montgomery Advertiser's media column.
Here's the scene: Late Sunday night, a Birmingham television station with some serious connections scoops the rest of Alabama media reporting that Crimson Tide coach Mike Shula had been fired. Naturally, the rest of the press scramble. One, a syndicated radio host named Max Howell, sets out to explore the angle of Steve Spurrier possibly moving to Tuscaloosa - a pipe dream `Bama fans have pined over for years now.
To fill time, Howell phones Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Florida Gators color analyst Scott Brantley to get his take on the possibility of Spurrier changing jobs. Turns out Scott Brantley was with Spurrier right when Howell called. The South Carolina coach happened to be in Ocala, Fla. recruiting the analyst's nephew. See where this is going? We turn to the Montgomery Advertiser for details:
And according to Scott Brantley, Spurrier was recruiting his nephew for South Carolina.
Of course, Brantley is one of Texas' top recruits. And of course we've heard reports of Oklahoma's Bob Stoops pushing hard to sway Brantley. All along, Brantley and his father, John, Sr., have said they're solidly committed to Texas.
But when Spurrier pays you an in-home visit, you have to take notice. Brantley may still be solid to Texas - but not solid enough to rebuff the Gamecocks coach. According to Rivals, Texas is using Greg Davis and Gene Chizik to recruit the Ocala quarterback. Chizik is gone and the young Brantley once belonged to a Facebook.com group known as "Fire Greg Davis!" Not a positive sign (though he's not part of the group anymore).
For the Texas recruiters, Signing Day can't come soon enough....
So, now what?
What does this mean for Texas? Well, with Jevan Snead leaving the 40 Acres, it means that Texas has a slim margin of error at quarterback. Let's assume for a moment Brantley stays solid with Texas. His preference to redshirt has been noted. With Brantley redshirting, Texas would be left with Sherrod Harris backing up McCoy? Not comforting, but it would only be for a season. Plus in the case of injury, I'm sure Brantley wouldn't mind ditching the shirt to do his duty.
But if Spurrier's siren song proves irresistible and Brantley doesn't make it to Austin? Well, it's not the end of the world. Blue chip quarterbacks come around yearly. But it could put Texas one injury away from football Armageddon.