Two weeks ago Miami Norland linebacker Keith Brown parted ways with the Hurricanes and joined Ron Zook's recruiting class at Illinois after the Fighting Illini agreed to give scholarships to both him and his brother.
Now that Zook has been fired, though, Brown's plans have been "thrown up in the air" according to Norland coach Daryle Heidelburg. So is there a chance Brown, a 6-2, 230-pound All-American inside linebacker, could end up back in UM's class alongside current Norland teammates Duke Johnson and Ereck Flowers?
"It's definitely a possibility," Heidelburg said Tuesday night. "Miami was one of the schools that called me up today. They still want him. Even though he de-committed and went to Illinois, they have not lost interest. The kid is a good player and wherever he goes he's going to be an impact player."
According to Heidelburg, Brown is declining interviews because he wants to concentrate on football. The Vikings (12-0) will take on Belle Glades Glades Central (12-0) on Friday in the Region 3-5A final.
But it's clear the future of his brother, fellow Norland linebacker Lamar Atkins, is weighing heavily in his decision. Brown told Rivals.com on Nov. 20 a major reason he switched his commitment to Illinois was because they were also willing to take his brother. "I could have gone to a bunch of places that offered both of us. But Illinois was clearly the best decision for both of us," Brown told Rivals.
Atkins (6-0, 225) isn't rated by Rivals or considered by anyone to be a major prospect. Although the Canes like Brown, UM apparently wasn't willing to go for the 2-for-1 special. Could that change? It's hard to tell at this point. But if you take Heidelburg at his word, it's clear UM still has interest and would love to have the services of Brown, who is considered by Rivals to be the 4th best inside linebacker in the country.
Brown, who plans to enroll at a school in December, could end up sticking with Illinois. But it's more likely he will switch to a school willing to take both him and his brother. Heidelburg said Ohio State, South Florida and Florida all called him Tuesday expressing interest in Brown.
"Right now he's just going to take his time," Heidelburg said. "He has two visits left. The fact Al Golden got an extension is good for Miami. He wanted to make sure the guy wasn't going to Penn State or nothing like that.
"My job as far as his high school coach is done. It's up to him to decide what's best for him. I'm pretty sure he's going to sit down with his parents and decide what is best for his household. As his head coach, I'm going to support him no matter what he decides."
Heidelburg said Johnson, considered one of the nation's premier running backs, and Flowers, a 6-6, 325-pound offensive tackle remain committed to UM. "They're locked in," Heidelburg said. "There's no changes with that."
GOLDEN SWINGS BY MIAMI BOOKER T. WASHINGTON
Former University of Miami special assistant Tim "Ice" Harris got a visit from current Canes coach Al Golden Tuesday as his team prepared for its Class 4A state semifinal showdown against Cocoa.
Harris, the father of former Canes cornerback Brandon Harris and UM track star Tim Harris Jr., said Golden stopped by to wish his team luck and to check out some of the Tornadoes talented underclassmen. Among them: Ice Harris' youngest son, sophomore quarterback Treon Harris (5-11, 185).
"Golden watched Treon throw a couple passes and was pretty impressed," Ice Harris said. "He likes a lot of our young guys. I'm pretty sure UM is going to be down here a lot over the next couple years."
The Tornadoes have two of the top juniors in the state in offensive tackle Denver Kirkland (6-4, 300) and middle linebacker Matthew Thomas (6-4, 210). The sophomore class is loaded and led by Harris (80 of 134, 1,262 yards, 14 TDs, 5 INTs, 94 rushes, 811 yards, 17 TDs) and 5-9, 165-pound receiver Lamar Parker (22 rec., 329 yards, 5 TDs).
As for Ice, who returned to Booker T. after Randy Shannon was fired and Golden took over, he said he was shocked when Yahoo! Sports released its series of allegations that players at UM received impermissible gifts from former booster Nevin Shapiro.
Brandon Harris, a second round pick of the Houston Texans in April, was never implicated by Yahoo! in its investigation.
"I'm not sure where my head must have been at when that was going on, but I never saw that guy [Shapiro] and I never heard about any of that stuff they said he was doing," Harris said. "Brandon was never around any of that. He knew the rules. When he went out he wouldn't take pictures or accept anything from anybody he didn't know. If somebody strange came around, he would just leave."
> UM announced Tuesday spring football is tentatively scheduled to begin March 1. The spring game is also tentatively set for April 14.
> Clemson receiver Sammy Watkins (South Fort Myers High) was named the ACC's Rookie of the Year on Tuesday. UM defensive end Anthony Chickillo finished third in the voting. Virginia coach Mike London was named ACC Coach of the Year. The ACC will announce its overall, offensive and defensive players of the year Wednesday.
> On Monday, the All-ACC First and Second Teams were announced. UM linebacker Sean Spence was the only Hurricane to make first team. Running back Lamar Miller and center Tyler Horn were named to the second team.