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Wednesday, December 21, 2011
Mizzou and Huskers: Texas pipeline drying?

By David Ubben

Nebraska left the Big 12 after the 2010 season. Some, myself included, contended that their exit would parallel the eventual erasure (perhaps not completely) of the recruiting pipeline to Texas that so many Big 12 programs have built since the Big 8 merged with four Southwest Conference teams in 1996.

Early returns suggest this may be the case. We updated the Big 12 recruiting scorecards last week, but in the process, I took a gander at Nebraska's, too.

The Huskers have just eight commits so far this year, the same number as Kansas, who has the fewest in the Big 12. The 2012 class figures to be small, but here's what the numbers from Texas look like for the Huskers in the past.
So, what's to take from this?

Nebraska is a national brand, much more so than Missouri, another non-Texas school in the Big 12 leaving the league after this season. Missouri is going to the SEC, which is much closer to Texas than the Big Ten. Colorado left for the Pac-12, but the Buffaloes never quite asserted themselves in the Lone Star State the way Missouri and Nebraska did. The Huskers look likely to supplant that loss with players from Ohio and elsewhere around the country.

Nebraska offered fewer players in Texas this year, but that looks like a sign they know it could be difficult to pull the same number of players from the South when all their games are in Nebraska or further north.

So, will the same fate await Missouri? The Tigers don't have the history or brand strength of Nebraska, but they do have a recent winning tradition on their side, moreso than even Nebraska.

Missouri has 34 players from Texas on its roster, and that number would seem likely to fall. How far, though?

Here's how the recruiting in Texas has looked for Mizzou since 2006:
Missouri has already added recruiting responsibilities in Florida (two coaches) and Atlanta (one assistant), in addition to their responsibilities in Texas.

Coach Gary Pinkel says his team will reassess its recruiting strategy soon.

Unlike Nebraska's original exit, though, the Big 12 won't just be subtracting teams. It will add two teams. TCU, after joining the Big 12, figures to steal a few of those recruits in Texas that traditionally would have gone out of state to programs with less tradition and history than Oklahoma or Texas. West Virginia, coached by Dana Holgorsen, should grab a few Texas recruits too. Holgorsen coached at Texas Tech and Houston for a decade before moving on to Oklahoma State and now, West Virginia.

Florida is the only other state in SEC country with a depth of football talent comparable to Texas, and it would seem paramount that the Tigers shift their future pipeline from finding hidden gems like Danario Alexander and Sean Weatherspoon in Texas to finding others in Florida.

Can they do it?

We'll see what the long-term effects are in Texas on Nebraska, but the early results seem to suggest Missouri will have to if it wants to keep winning.