- Adam Rittenberg, ESPN Staff Writer
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College football coaches aren't a patient bunch, especially when it comes to recruiting. Getting a jump start can mean everything in recruiting, and several Big 12 bosses are taking advantage through junior days.
Colleague Mark Schlabach takes a look at junior days and their value to several of the nation's top programs. Not surprisingly, Texas is featured prominently in the story, as the Longhorns already have 17 verbal commitments from high school juniors for 2011. Junior days are a huge hit in Austin, although it wasn't always the case.
Longhorns head coach Mack Brown tells Schlabach how he held junior days when he was at North Carolina, but initially stopped the practice after arriving at Texas, only to start them up again.
"When we got to Texas, none of the schools in the state had summer camps," Brown said. "No schools in the state of Texas were offering kids scholarships until the middle of football season or after their senior seasons. It was just a much slower process."
But about six years ago, Brown discovered the Longhorns were being left behind.
"We weren't doing any junior days," Brown said. "All of the sudden, we were way behind. We were trying to build our junior day around our spring football game in April. But other schools were having junior days at their bowl practices and having them before national signing day. We just felt like we were so far behind."
Things have certainly changed for Texas, which received 13 verbal commitments on its first junior day Feb. 13.
Big 12 competitors Oklahoma and Oklahoma State both have five verbals for 2011, while Nebraska has four.