You don't know where Bryce Brown is headed.
You should have seen the freshman running back abruptly change directions and cut across the field to evade defenders last week. Tennessee head coach Lane Kiffin marveled at the move, emphasizing, "He's 220 pounds."
You think that was something? You should have followed his recruiting.
At one time, you thought the high school All-American from Wichita, Kan., was headed to the University of Miami. At another time, you never imagined he was headed to the University of Tennessee.
Brown's turnabout was the most celebrated move of coach Lane Kiffin's first recruiting season at UT. If the Vols - coming off a 5-7 season with a new coaching staff - could get Brown, they could get anybody.
But what if they didn't get Brown?
Sorry, the inner alarmist in me popped out. The NCAA has that effect on me. So does Jamey Schagren.
Schagren is the producer of The Sports Page, the News Sentinel's morning radio show. On April Fool's Day, he posed this question to host Dave Hooker: Should Tennessee fans be concerned that Lennon Creer's Facebook status says he's transferring?
The question was dismissed with an April Fool's laugh, as Schagren intended. Then, later that day, a news story broke: UT running back Lennon Creer was transferring.
You think that's funny? How about this:
Schagren was taking calls in The Sports Animal studio Tuesday when a fan expressed concern (off-air) about Brown's hip injury, which kept him from practicing Monday.
"He's out for the year," Schagren said.
He waited just long enough for the dreadful news to register, then followed up with, "I'm kidding."
Funny guy, huh?
Too bad you already know the punch line. Following practice, Kiffin told the media that the NCAA was investigating Brown's amateur status.
That doesn't mean another Schagren joke has turned serious. In fact, this might amount to nothing more than another stop-and-go move on Brown's circuitous route from high school stardom to college football. Besides, if this involves nothing more than "summer camps," which Kiffin mentioned, how bad could it be?
Brown wasn't even considering UT when he was attending summer camps while in high school. And if someone who was deemed an unacceptable party by the NCAA paid his way, that's hardly a career-ending offense. He might have to pay back the camp money or sit out a game or two.
The wildcard in the game could be Brian Butler, who had a curiously prominent role in Brown's recruitment. At one point, he was even charging for Brown recruiting updates on a Web site. The NCAA frowned, and Brown discontinued the information-for-pay.
But the red flag had been raised.
Although little might come of this, that doesn't lessen the impact right now. Brown isn't just an outstanding running back prospect. He's a symbol of this staff's recruiting charge last February.
So everything is magnified with him.
Fans first had concern when Brown was diagnosed with a mild concussion the first week of preseason camp. They were concerned again when he missed Monday's practice with a hip injury.
Their concern is understandable. They got a guy they didn't expect to get.
And they don't want to lose him - not even for a practice.
Sports editor John Adams may be reached at 865-342-6284 or email@example.com.