Wednesday, February 6, 2013
Texas changing strategy after decommits
By Carter Strickland
AUSTIN, Texas -- Mack Brown refused to talk about the five recruits Texas didn't get on signing day.
But the Texas coach did have a message for players that might be interested in the Longhorns in the future.
Texas coach Mack Brown stressed the quality of his 2013 class but was clearly disappointed in the five recruits who decommitted.
"The thing that we will do is we have allowed the kids to commit and still look around the last couple of years -- we're not doing that anymore," Brown said on Wednesday. “If you are committed to us be committed. If you're going to go look, we're going to go look."
"What we found is the 15 [recruits] that we got are very passionate about being at Texas and that is what we want," Brown said. "And very honestly if a young person tells you they're coming and their parents tell you they're coming and then they don't, you wouldn't want them to be here.
"You may be disappointed on the day it happened but you want people that will look you in the eye and tell you the truth and you want people who want to be at your school.”
This signing day Texas didn't need that many people at its school. It only had room for about 16. So the search was for quality over quantity. Brown, who because of all the decommitments and misses seemingly has gone from coach February to Father Time with this class, tried to hammer that point home repeatedly.
Texas wanted to build the offensive line, he said.
The Longhorns wanted speed, he said.
They wanted the player who wanted to be at Texas, he said.
The defensive line? Well, adjustments were made within the program -- Caleb Bluiett was moved to defensive end and Hassan Ridgeway to defensive tackle -- so that was not an issue, Brown said.
It was enough of an issue that at the end of the day, Texas is No. 15 in the ESPN class rankings.
A big departure from years past.
In fact, over the past four recruiting classes (2009-12), Texas' average class ranking has been 3.3. That's the second best behind Alabama. But Texas has only had a .673 winning percentage. Alabama is at .907. Only USC, which has been faced with drastic sanctions, rivals Texas when it comes to recruiting rankings turning into wins. The Trohans average recruiting class rank in that same period has been seventh. The Trojans have a .667 win percentage over that time period.
But, in Texas' defense, the last two classes have been very productive with 34 of 48 freshmen hitting the field. That meant the 2013 class didn't have to be chock full of impact players, instead it was a class in which certain areas could be addressed -- offensive line -- and depth built.
And Texas addressed those needs by signing five offensive linemen, including the one who is considered the best at his position in the state, Darius James.
"I have never seen guys this big with that kind of feet," Brown said of the offensive linemen. "Every one of them are big with feet. You don't usually have five guys that can move like that. These guys are just something."
Those five will be added to Curtis Riser and Kennedy Estelle, two players who have showed promise, as well as the five returning starters, to give Texas what it has not had in several years, two deep across the line.
"I am going to push these guys," Brown said. "If we are going to be uptempo like we are then we are going to have big guys running all over the field and you are going to have be two deep."
The other spot where Texas is deep is at the quarterback position. The Longhorns signed Tyrone Swoopes on Wednesday but the freshman actually enrolled in January. Brown said he is up to 250 pounds and carries the weight very well.
Now it is Brown's turn to start carrying the weight yet again. Even though the class was not in the top 10, it still has enough talent and carried with it enough expectations that Texas fans expect the team to be top 10 by the end of the 2013 season.
If that happens, then maybe Texas won't have to suffer through so many decommitments when the 2014 signing day hits a year from now.