- Sam Khan Jr., ESPN Staff Writer
As one scrolls through the list of Texas A&M commitments in the 2013 recruiting class, he can find players from different parts of the country.
Naturally, the majority of the class is composed of players from within the state of Texas. But there's also some from Louisiana, a junior college player from Kansas and even one from as far as Hawaii, consistent with Kevin Sumlin's desire to compete for recruits on a national scale.
And while the Aggies' membership in the Southeastern Conference helps them in their efforts to expand their recruiting footprint, there is one theme consistent in their commitment list: the presence of players from the Houston and Dallas-Fort Worth areas.
Of Texas A&M's 27 commitments for 2013, 19 come from those two areas (10 from the Dallas-Worth, nine from the Houston area). The Aggies' presence and success in those two areas are helped by the fact that a former high school coach from each area is on the Texas A&M coaching staff: Clarence McKinney and David Beaty.
McKinney, A&M's running backs coach and recruiting coordinator, spent time as an assistant at Booker T. Washington High School and North Shore High School and later became the head coach at Yates High School for four seasons before joining Sumlin's first staff at Houston in 2008.
Beaty spent time in the Metroplex as a coach at Naaman Forest High School in Garland, North Dallas High then MacArthur High in Irving before beginning his college coaching career at Rice. Beaty later went on to Kansas, where he spent the last four seasons before being hired this year at Texas A&M.
The Houston area is a natural priority for the coaching staff because of its proximity to College Station.
"Even though we have expanded our recruiting, the state of Texas is still our primary recruiting area," Sumlin said. "We're an hour and a half from Houston -- or depending on where you are -- we're an hour and 15 minutes from Cypress. So it would make sense that because of the proximity to the fourth-largest city in the country that that's where we get started in recruiting."
McKinney and Beaty not only coached in their respective recruiting areas, that's where they're from. Beaty is a Garland High graduate, while McKinney graduated from Yates.
"McKinney is a homegrown Houston guy," said Sharpstown coach Dallas Blacklock, the coach of Texas A&M commitment Reggie Chevis. "He has a pulse of what goes on here in Houston, especially since he coached at Jack Yates and so forth, knowing the people in the Houston area and having been at UH. He does an excellent job of making sure he knows about every kid in Houston. I don’t think he leaves a stone unturned. He called out some names to me that I haven’t heard of and I’m pretty up to date on Houston-area kids."
Desoto High School coach Claude Mathis said Beaty has a good relationship with the high school coaches around his area.
"You have to have a great relationship [with the high school coach] to try to get players," Mathis said. "Beaty has established that with me and I think with a lot of coaches around. He does a fantastic job and it's very important to have that relationship."
Those relationships are key because each area is known for producing more talent than most metropolitan areas in the country. The Greater Houston area and the Dallas-Fort Worth area each yield more than 100 Division I signees annually.
McKinney said he has seen the benefits of having been a former high school coach in his area first-hand.
"Being a former high school coach in Houston and a lot of the guys I deal with within recruiting, they want me to be successful so they help me as best they can," he said. "When it comes to involving the kids, some of the kids and I have similar experiences so they can relate to me and I can relate to them."
13hGreg Ostendorf and Alex Scarborough
3dSam Khan Jr.
6dSam Khan Jr.