Tuesday, April 5, 2011
Texas struggles not affecting recruiting
By David Ubben
Texas caused a mild ruckus by securing a pair of commitments before its spring game on Sunday. One is defensive lineman Malcom Brown from Brenham, Texas. Brown is one of the nation's top defensive prospects and a player plenty thought was headed to Texas A&M.
That small event illuminated a bigger issue that, for now, will be tough for others across the Big 12 to swallow: Texas' recent swoon, one that I still think will continue slightly through at least one more season, hasn't hurt them on the recruiting trail.
The Longhorns currently have 15 commitments for the 2012 class, and of those, 13 are on the ESPNU 150 Watch List.
ESPN recruiting writer Mitch Sherman took a look at the issue this week. The prestige of signing with Texas is still definitely there when you hear comments from past and former recruits from Sherman's story.
- Former Kansas quarterback Todd Reesing, an Austin native: "If I had a chance to play there, I would have jumped at it ... You go to games, and it's a childhood dream. Texas dominates everything."
- DB Bryan Echols of DeSoto Texas, on committing to the Longhorns: "People notice it. They say, 'Oh, you're going to Texas. Yeah, you're big timer.'"
- Receiver Cayleb Jones: "When I go into a restaurant and my little brother's friends and their families congratulate me, that feels good."
- Finally, Reesing on what life was like for Garrett Gilbert after committing to Texas (Both attended Lake Austin in Austin, Texas): "He was the king. He was the king of the school. I would imagine it's like that with almost any kid who's going to UT. In that position, you're sitting on top of the world."
Side note: It's pretty easy to see how some players would arrive at Texas with a sense of entitlement when you hear comments like that, no? I don't think it's anything against those players, but if I had people treating me like that as a 16- or 17-year-old kid, I could see myself perhaps not working as hard as I could after making the commitment.
Jarring that sense loose from his recruits is a big part of what Mack Brown has to do.
But back to the issue at hand: Texas is still the flagship university of the state. Even if the program struggles for two or even three more years after this season, I could see young recruits buying into the idea that they could be the ones to help restore a proud program.
I'd encourage you to check out the story from Sherman. It's pretty fascinating, especially the parts about how well Texas is still doing versus rivals like Texas A&M, who clearly outperformed the Longhorns on the field in 2010.
You can't argue with exposure and resources, and Texas has plenty of both. So for now, though the wins aren't there, the highly-touted recruits still are.
Don't expect that to change any time soon.