No Mack Brown? Not the biggest blow, but a blow nonetheless. No position coach, however? Big problem -- the last straw, even.
With new head coach Charlie Strong set to bring in members of his own staff, defensive tackles coach Bo Davis opted to accept a position coaching defensive linemen at USC. No Davis at Texas next season was enough to force Lealaimatafao, a four-star defensive tackle and U.S. Army All-American, to officially decommit on Tuesday and explore his other options.
“When Mack Brown resigned, Coach Davis told me he didn’t know if he would have a job at Texas,” Lealaimatafao said. “If he were to leave Texas, I wouldn’t have any real connects with Texas. I know a couple of the coaches, but he was who I talked to.
“So with him leaving, I just said it was time to go ahead and decommit.”
Lealaimatafao, the nation’s 27th-ranked defensive tackle, had considered himself a “soft commit” to Texas for quite some time. Red flags were up when Lealaimatafao took official visits to UCLA and Arizona State while Brown was still head coach. It was Brown’s policy for his commits not to take visits to other schools.
Even though Lealaimatafao visited, he still considered Texas as a leader in his recruiting process. Davis’ departure, however, has turned things around, and the 6-foot-1, 305-pound lineman will have three weeks to find a new college destination. He has given himself a Jan. 28 deadline to make a decision.
“Coach Davis was really important,” Lealaimatafao said, referring to him staying at Texas. “He was the reason I committed in the first place. He’s got a good relationship with my whole family. He’s one of those coaches known for turning two-star and three-star guys into something great.”
What’s next for Lealaimatafao is an official visit to Oregon on Jan. 17. Lealaimatafao also said he might take unofficial visits to Oklahoma and LSU. The Sooners have offered and are hot after getting a verbal commitment from Lealaimatafao’s U.S. Army game teammates, ESPN 300 running back Joe Mixon (Oakley, Calif./Freedom) and four-star offensive lineman Natrell Curtis (Phoenix/Mountain Pointe).
Lealaimatafao originally committed to Texas on March 30.