There are several explanations for why Brion Carnes, after months and months of saying he was coming to USF, is suddenly not:
1. Skip Holtz is a liar and a dick. This seems to be the explanation that Joe Kinnan, Carnes's coach at Manatee High School, prefers. It's also the most ridiculous one. There's nothing in Holtz's past that I'm aware of that would even remotely support this. And besides, if Skip acted up, Dr. Lou would be right there to tell him with the ESPN lynch mob in tow (probably headed up by Bob Davie, who will say anything he is told to say if the Adam James fiasco is any indication).
Incidentally, Kinnan used the word "classless" in the Bradenton Herald story about Carnes's scholarship being withdrawn. I think the word "classless" in sports has become code for "I am really butthurt over what just happened."
Likelihood of this explanation being true: Remote, although Brett McMurphy is probably blowing up Kinnan's cell phone to let him take some more cheap shots in print.
2. USF needed to make sure they didn't get screwed if Carnes ditched them at the last minute. When Holtz was asked about recruits at his first press conference, he said he would honor commitments that had been made. But if you decide to renege on your commitment like Carnes obviously did by visiting Nebraska and Western Kentucky, then I'm guessing it's fair game to pull the offer. Many, many schools do this, including USF in the past. Some do it out of spite, and others out of necessity. If you have a limited number of scholarships and you can't wait around for an indecisive kid to make up his mind, then you might be better served going down the list a little bit to make sure you still get someone you want instead of coming up empty-handed.
Likelihood of this explanation being true: This would make the most sense, especially the part about wanting to have a backup plan. Holtz hasn't shown any dickish revenge tendencies yet (see #1). On the other hand, as much as I loved me some Jim Leavitt, he basically acted like this when anyone's loyalty or commitment seemed to be in question.
3. Carnes's high school coach is pulling some strings. Keep this in mind. Carnes goes to Manatee High School. He visited Nebraska, where Tommie Frazier won two national titles… and he went to Manatee High School. Carnes also visited Western Kentucky, where Willie Taggart coaches… and he went to Manatee High School. (It now turns out that Carnes is committing to WKU.) Let's not pretend that Kinnan is blame-free. If you even want to call it blame.
And let's be honest here - Kinnan admitted Carnes probably wasn't going to sign with USF. I think he's just lashing out. I mean, if one of his future players has two scholarship offers, one from USF and one from, let's say Toledo, which one do you think he's going to encourage the kid to take? (Hint: Not Toledo.)
Likelihood of this explanation being true: Could be something to this, but that's Kinnan's problem, not USF's. If he wants to steer his kids to a program that went 0-12 last year while much better programs pull their offers off the table, then whatever.
4. Carnes is a bad fit for the offense Holtz wants to run. Carnes is a dual-threat quarterback, very much like B.J. Daniels. But if you look at what East Carolina did while Holtz was there, the QB was not a big part of the running game:
2009: QBs threw 447 passes (P. Pinkney 440, Jordan 7) and "ran" the ball 52 times. Remember, sacks count as rushing attempts in college so the number of planned QB runs is even less.
2008: QBs threw 418 passes (Pinkney 363, Kass 55) and "ran" 99 times.
2007: QBs threw 394 passes (Pinkney 200, Kass 175, Clay 13, Sloan 1) and "ran" 115 times.
2006: QBs threw 427 passes (J. Pinkney 397, Kass 30) and "ran" 112 times.
Over Holtz's time in Greenville, the quarterback became less and less a part of the running game. You could conclude that Holtz wants a drop-back passer at that position (even though Pinkney was certainly mobile enough to avoid trouble) and Carnes's style may not be totally suited for what he wants to do. Certainly he wouldn't want whoever goes under center taking 25 hits a game, something both Matt Grothe and Daniels have taken in the last few years with all their rushing attempts.
(Side note - if Holtz wants a pocket passer, Daniels might want to spend a lot of time in the film room this spring and summer because he might not last long otherwise. Once the film got out on Daniels last year, roughly around the time of the Cincinnati and Pittsburgh games, the USF passing game relied way too much on play-action deep shots and streetball plays.)
Likelihood of this explanation being true: Only Holtz knows what kind of offense he wants to run, and he has said he can be flexible. But it's plausible, especially with the news of Jamius Gunsby's potential commitment.