- Sam Khan Jr., ESPN Staff Writer
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A Texas recruit's recent comments about Mack Brown telling committed players to "look around" at other schools upon informing them of his resignation might have caused a bit of a stir, but the father of that recruit said the former coach wasn't directing players to go somewhere else.
Jerry Bonney, the father of four-star safety John Bonney (Houston/Lamar High School), said Brown prefaced his statement by telling players and their families that he believed that they should still go to Texas if they were committed there.
"I was standing right there when he made the statement," Jerry Bonney said. "His first general statement to the kids and all of us [family members] was 'I'm not telling you not to come to Texas. I think this is a fine place and you should stay [if you're committed to Texas]. However, if you are coming here for me to coach you and that was the main reason you were coming, those of you in that category, I certainly encourage you to look elsewhere because I won't be your coach. I'm stepping down immediately after the Oregon game.' "
John Bonney is a four-star prospect who committed to Texas on Sept. 5, 2013. He took official visits to Auburn and Baylor last month after Texas hired Charlie Strong as its new head coach but hasn't decommitted from Texas.
In an interview with KTRK-TV in Houston, John Bonney said: "I was on my official visit when Mack Brown resigned. He told us to go look around. He'll even talk to other coaches for you and everything. He just really wanted the best for us as players."
Jerry Bonney, who was present with his son when Brown made the comments, wanted to clear the air regarding Brown's intentions and called him a "man of integrity" and said he thanked Brown immediately afterward for being up front with the recruits when he delivered them the news of his resignation on Dec. 14, 2013.
"[Brown said] 'If I can help you in any way that I can, those of you that have been committed for a long period of time, I love y'all too much to not tell you now so that'll give you ample time to try to do something else if that's what you want to do,' " Jerry Bonney recalled. " 'But I think Texas is a fine place, a good place, they're probably going to pick a good coach, I'm sure they will, but I can't tell you who it will be.' That's exactly how it happened."
Brown tweeted about the comments on Tuesday afternoon, offering a similar account.
Some of you have asked about my visit w/recruits & their families after I stepped down. Let me assure you it was all positive towards Texas!
- Mack Brown (@UT_MackBrown) February 4, 2014
In followup tweets, Brown said: "Our new AD Steve Patterson was there with me and I told the entire group that Texas would hire a great coach, it is a wonderful place and they absolutely should still come."
During his resignation news conference on Dec. 15, Brown also spoke about his conversation with recruits the previous day.
"We actually went to the recruiting dinner last night and tried to make sure that the recruits understand what is going on and that we encourage them to come to Texas because it is a wonderful place, the best university in the country, and we would want them to come here and pull for them and for them to hang in here because Steve is going to hire a tremendous coach," Brown told reporters then.
While John Bonney remains a Texas commitment at the moment, national signing day is Wednesday and Jerry Bonney said his son is still considering his options, with Auburn and Baylor being the other contenders. John Bonney is ranked as 20th-best safety in the country and was offered by 36 schools in the recruiting process.
ESPN.com's Max Olson contributed to this report