- Max Olson, ESPN Staff Writer
You’d think that when Hoza Scott's junior ends, the real fun begins.
After all, the La Porte (Texas) linebacker might be the No. 1 prospect in the state of Texas for the 2014 class. He has offers from everyone. His life should be getting much more stressful once the recruiting process starts consuming his time, right?
Wrong. The biggest and best of the recruiting battles between Texas and Texas A&M for top 2014 prospects appears to be over already.
Scott, a coveted 6-foot-3, 225-pound linebacker, has been calling the Aggies his No. 1 school all year. He’s planning to prove that soon.
“Really, honestly, my decision and my mindset is on A&M,” Scott said. “That’s where I really want to go.”
So why hasn’t Scott made it official yet and become the next blockbuster pickup of Kevin Sumlin’s second full recruiting class?
“It’s coming soon,” Scott said. “It’s going to come pretty soon.”
All Scott is waiting for -- and hoping for -- is a happy ending to his junior season. La Porte pulled off a 21-17 win over Fort Bend Bush last weekend, but the lights get much brighter now: La Porte vs. Katy at Houston’s Reliant Stadium.
“Oh man,” Scott said, “it’s going to be a big one.”
It’s moments like this that make Scott glad he has pushed recruiting off to the side lately. While this process hasn’t reached the point of being overwhelming, the flood of interest and mail won’t stop. His coaches deliver the college letters to his locker by the shoebox now, and plenty more come to his house. Opening each and every one? Not possible at this point.
“It’s like 60 or 70 a week. It’s a lot of mail, and that’s every week,” Scott said. “I’d say it comes from like 20 difference colleges. It doesn’t get tiring. It’s pretty cool. It’s motivation.”
Dealing with all that isn’t too difficult, of course, when your mind is already made up.
Scott won’t take any more visits before announcing his choice. He doesn’t anticipate anything will make his change his mind in the next few weeks.
“I’m just waiting for the season to end so I can relax and finally tell people,” Scott said. “It’s pretty much A&M, done deal.”
How Scott reached this point may be a sign of the times in the new Texas-Texas A&M recruiting rivalry. He’s only one recruit, but he’s as big of one as there is in the state. Both schools want him badly.
And both schools offer similar opportunities. Texas defensive coordinator Manny Diaz has been selling Scott on a shot to replace Jordan Hicks when the top Longhorn linebacker moves on to the pros. Texas A&M’s pitch is even simpler: Come become the next Von Miller.
That’s a role Scott is more than comfortable with. While he’s capable of operating as a middle linebacker and could grow into a defensive end someday, he has made his hay at La Porte as an outside linebacker operating off the edge near the line of scrimmage.
When Texas coaches broke from tradition and started publicly offering juniors in August, they hoped it would help make up ground in the battle for Scott. While that move got his attention, what Texas A&M has done since August made this an easy call for Scott.
“I knew A&M was going to do good in the SEC,” he said. “Coach Sumlin, I knew he was going to be a good coach because when he was at Houston they were almost undefeated that whole season. I knew A&M had something good coming.”
The Aggies have an exciting new coach, a 10-2 record, a presumptive Heisman Trophy winner in Johnny Manziel and a boatload of momentum on the recruiting trail. They’ve blown away those prospects who took a wait-and-see approach to how A&M would fare in its new conference.
Texas, on the other hand, has ... well ... Scott has a hard time putting his finger on it.
“A&M is heading in a great direction,” Scott said. “And UT, I like them still but, I don’t know, it seems like they’re falling apart. I know they’re going to pull it together. They’re a young football team.”
That’s not to say the Longhorns are in for humbling when it comes to 2014 recruiting. Texas already has six pledges and added the state’s top offensive line prospect, Demetrius Knox, this week.
But the state’s elite recruits aren’t naïve. There’s a lot to like about the Aggies right now. If Scott is the face and leader of their next class, blue chip talents will likely follow.
Then again, the deal isn’t official done until Scott signs his letter of intent. He’s hoping to take junior day trips to Florida and Cal this spring, even if he’s committed.
And, come fall, Scott said he’d like to take all five of his official visits. He wants to see how A&M and College Station stack up, wants to see if those trips would change his mind.
No matter when Scott commits, he concedes the recruiting game won’t fully be over. The offers and phone calls and visits will still be enticing. The shoeboxes will keep piling up.
But when it comes to Texas vs. Texas A&M, he has no doubt. Texas is a distant No. 2. Welcome to the new-look Texas recruiting war.
“They don’t play each other anymore,” Scott said, “but it’s going to be pretty big.”
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