Monday, August 8, 2011
A&M, Kennedy get early recruiting boost
By Eamonn Brennan
The traditional read on the Texas A&M job is that it requires a coach who can coach up his talent. It's hard to recruit to a football school with minimal basketball tradition; it's even harder when you're competing with Kansas and (more locally) Texas for those top-tier recruits. Former coach Mark Turgeon never relied on top-tier recruiting classes. Instead, he found players that fit his low-tempo system and coached them into a cohesive unit often better than the sum of its parts.
Texas A&M coach Billy Kennedy is off to an impressive recruiting start.
When former Murray State coach Billy Kennedy replaced Turegon this spring, most assumed he would face similar challenges. But maybe that won't be the case. At the very least, Kennedy got off to a rather impressive recruiting start this weekend, landing not one but two four-star recruits in the matter of two days.
The first is J-Mychal Reese, ESPNU's No. 28 overall player, and the No. 2-ranked point guard, in the class of 2012. He's a native of Bryan, Tex., who had offers from Baylor and Texas, among others, but decided -- according to our own Dave Telep -- to stay close to home for college. The second player to commit, point guard Kendrick Nunn, is the No. 47-ranked player in the class of 2013 and the No. 8-ranked player at his position in the class. Nunn isn't a local kid. Rather, he attends Chicago high school powerhouse Simeon Academy.
In other words, Kennedy did three things this weekend. First, he landed two touted point guards. That's good news in and of itself, of course. But Kennedy didn't just get recruits. He proved that he can provide an attractive option for some of Texas's homegrown talent, a goal he mentioned as early as his introductory press conference May 16. And he also proved that he can reach out -- to one of the nation's best high school programs, located in the middle of a talent-rich city thousands of miles from College Station, Tex., -- and attract talent on a national basis.
It's still early, and Kennedy still has a long, long way to go toward before we start talking about the Aggies as a viable recruiting threat to Texas, Kansas or any of the nation's other elite entities. This is just a start. But it's an awfully good start, isn't it?