Print and Go Back ESPN.com: Texas Longhorns [Print without images]

Sunday, February 3, 2013
What losing Robinson means for Texas

By Max Olson

A’Shawn Robinson will not be a Longhorn. The crater that loss leaves in Texas’ already small 2013 recruiting class is an unmistakeable one.

The ESPN 150 defensive tackle’s decision to back out of his pledge during an in-home visit on Saturday ensures this Texas class will be noted not for who is in it, but for who isn’t.

Robinson is the fifth recruit to defect from Texas’ 2013 recruiting class and easily its biggest loss. No disrespect to Ricky Seals-Jones, but this was a recruiting battle Texas had to win.

Robinson told HornsNation he made the decision a few days after his official visit to Texas, one that many assumed would solidify the 6-foot-5, 304-pound lineman's pledge for good.

He said throughout the year Texas was still No. 1. He told fellow Texas commits he wasn't going anywhere. In the end, none of that mattered.

Robinson took his official visits to Florida State, USC and Alabama to make sure Texas was the right place for him. Longhorns coaches bent their rules about commits taking visits elsewhere and accommodated Robinson as much as they could.

He visited campus for a junior day, a camp, unofficial visits and an official visit. He hosted Mack Brown at his school and his home. No one can say Texas didn’t do everything it could to keep Robinson.

With Texas and USC now out of the race, Robinson’s destination seems fairly obvious: Alabama. It’s just another reminder that no matter how badly Texas wants a recruit, beating the allure of playing in the SEC isn’t getting any easier.

In the short term, Robinson’s decommitment leaves Texas with a class loaded with elite offensive linemen but no true defensive line commits. With only a few days left before signing day, all Texas can hope to do is land Andrew Billings and/or Frank Herron.

Now that we’ve entered the NCAA-mandated quiet period, there’s not much more Texas can do to help its chances with the ESPN 300 defensive linemen. Herron visited this weekend, and flipping him from LSU would be an impressive coup and a much-needed Band-Aid to cover up the sore left by the Robinson decommitment.

As for Billings, the offensive guard who will play defensive tackle at UT, who knows what to expect? He consistently has been indecisive when it comes to choosing between Texas, Baylor and TCU. It’s quite possible he still hasn’t made up his mind, though an announcement is expected on Tuesday.

Losing Robinson doesn’t mean the 2013 Longhorns are hurting at defensive tackle, not with experienced linemen Desmond Jackson, Ashton Dorsey, Malcom Brown and Chris Whaley all returning.

Still, there’s no other way to put it than this: Robinson was a guy Texas could not afford to lose. It’s going to take a few big additions on signing day to get over this one.