More offers a good thing for Longhorns 

April, 22, 2013
4/22/13
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Texas built the nation’s No. 1 recruiting class this spring thanks to some big-picture, philosophical changes made for its handling of the class of 2014. But one change has received less attention than the rest.

And it’s a fairly easy one to spot: Texas is simply offering more scholarships.

[+] EnlargeMack Brown
Michael C. Johnson/US PresswireTexas coach Mack Brown has changed his recruiting philosophy and it has paid off for the Class of 2014.
Not a big deal, right? You’d think the effect of this might be minimal, considering a scholarship offer means less today than ever before in recruiting, but Texas has changed its ways and that's paying off.

The Longhorns don’t recruit like everybody else. For a long time, Texas has been exceptionally careful about handing out official offers. There are a few reasons for that.

First and foremost, coach Mack Brown takes an offer seriously. He vows to the parents of every recruit who enters his office that Texas will never pull the scholarship of a commit. He makes a commitment to them, and also promises that UT pays its players’ way through college no matter what, be it a star going pro early or a backup struggling with injuries.

Striking that deal requires integrity, and Brown won’t make the promise to someone Texas doesn’t truly want. Hence, his staff can’t offer just anybody.

Some would argue that UT has established a certain prestige through this practice -- most recruits walk out to Brown’s office ecstatic because, they say, Texas only offers the best of the best. That sentiment played better when the Longhorns competed for national titles, but it still holds up today.

Though the gesture of a scholarship offers has become increasingly burdened by attached strings, silly semantics and varying levels of "committability" (yes, really), Texas seemed to be playing things in a fairly straightforward manner. It showed in the numbers.

Texas signed only 15 recruits for its 2013 recruiting class, but fewer than 20 more legitimate, "committable" offers went out to the recruits who went elsewhere. Back in 2012, Texas went for a more-than-full class of 28 signees, yet only 20 more prospects claimed UT offers.

None of Texas’ rivals do things this way. Not Texas A&M, which now casts a wide out-of-state net under Kevin Sumlin. More than 140 recruits claimed Aggie offers in the 2013 class.

This isn’t how the big-time powerhouses operate, either. Nobody recruited better than Alabama last year, and yet its list of offered prospects had nearly 150 names. Florida had the nation’s No. 2 class and might have offered up to 170 recruits.

That speaks to the changing nature of scholarship offers today. Those 150 kids could call Nick Saban to deliver their commitment, but you can bet most would be told "not yet" or, more likely, "no thanks." And Bama is playing the game just like everyone else.

Today, offers merely open the door. They’re often times no more than the official beginning of a relationship in recruiting, the reward a coach must give to get noticed.

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