Texas Longhorns Hope to Restore Recruiting Presence in 2014
AUSTIN, Texas — Mack Brown has long been known as the king of college football. With recent annual revenue streams in excess of $100 million annually and a total program value of $848 million, over $350 million more than the next highest, that title has been well deserved. He commands attention simply by walking through the halls of Texas high schools, and has a reputation of being a winner on the field and as a recruiter. However with all the recruiting success he’s had in his tenure, 2013 is surely one he’d like to have over.
Not long ago, the coaches at the University of Texas were able to have their pick from the wealth of lone-star high school football talent. But with other schools continuing to develop and having success, Brown and his assistants are finding the race to be a little more even.
In 2013, Texas received commits from 15 players, and while that number might seem shockingly low, it wasn’t the quantity but rather the quality that Horns fans should be concerned with. After large classes the previous two years, 22 and 28 respectively, only 16 scholarships were available for 2013 anyway.
After seemingly locking up some of the biggest names in the state, many began to decommit including, running back Kyle Hicks, tight end Durham Smythe and wide out Ricky Seals-Jones who left for Texas A&M.; TAMU and head coach Kevin Sumlin pulled in 32 commits in total, pacing the college football world. This was accomplished by having players enroll early to count against last year’s cap and not this year’s. The final straw for Mack Brown’s class was losing A’Shawn Robinson to Alabama in the week prior to national signing day.
The Longhorns were unable to attract a running back or defensive lineman, both of which are areas Texas usually excels. However they were able to address key issues on a struggling offensive line by bringing in the three highest ranked recruits at that position in the state of Texas, as well as many others including Rami Hammad who’s late showing earned him just under 50 total offers.
Change is inevitable
Mack Brown has made some drastic changes to his recruiting strategy after a relatively disappointing 2013 class. This year marked the first time in his tenure that they’ve had players commit prior to the first spring junior day. Also a new policy has been put in place that a committed player can no longer visit other schools without consent.
According to Max Olson of HornsNation.com, it’s very feasible that the Longhorns take on 25 to 30 commits in 2014 with many players set to graduate. They have currently received commits from eight players including highly ranked quarterback Jerrod Heard, running backs Donald Catalon and Daniel Gresham, and defensive end Derick Roberson.
The biggest storyline to follow as the season approaches is how they are able to attract defensive backs. With an absolutely loaded class, Texas has the opportunity to set it’s secondary on course for success in the coming years. Safety Jamal Adams is unable to attend the second junior, but should be making an appearance on the 40 acres sometime soon regardless, says William Wilkerson of HornsNation. Other names to watch: safeties Tony Brown and Ed Paris, as well as cornerback Nick Watkins.