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Thursday, February 7, 2013
Four downs: Post-signing day wrap

By Sean Adams

Each week Sean Adams looks at a few topics around the Texas Longhorns and college football.

First down: Getting recruits on campus is only part of the deal

Jake Raulerson
Jake Raulerson headlines an offensive line that could allow Texas to get back to playing dominating football.
While I absolutely believe in recruiting rankings and believe they paint an accurate picture, we have seen schools such as Boise State, TCU, Utah and Hawaii over the last 10 years have a ton of success without rating high in the mainstream recruiting rankings.

We have also seen Alabama and most of the SEC dominate the rankings and, consquently, the national championship game, for the last seven years, with Alabama winning three of the last four national titles.

Before you get too excited about the rankings, coaching staffs still have to develop the talent once it gets to campus.

They have to build a fighter’s mentality in a group of young men and get them to pull in the same direction. The have to develop leaders instead of looking for them.

Recruiting is like having potential -- you have to do something with it or else you get fired.

Second down: The pressure of 2013 just increased

I watched ESPN’s national signing day show on ESPNU starting at 7 a.m. CT on Wednesday morning and was wondering when the University of Texas would get its first mention.

At 10:41 a.m., Texas was finally mentioned before cutting away to Mack Brown.

Texas has some work to do. It was not too long ago that ESPN College Gameday, College Football Live and shows about national signing day could not go for 30 minutes without the University of Texas being part of some conversation.

Slowly over the last few years some goodwill has eroded from the monster program that is Texas. Let us not kid ourselves, Texas is a program that could have a good 2013 and be right back in the crosshairs of favorable conversation by media everywhere around the country.

While it might be easy to turn around the conversation, Texas better figure out how to do it. The ‘chip on your shoulder’, ‘backed into a corner’ and ‘no respect’ angles only work for a while before you discover that you just aren't very good.

2013 continues to be a "must win 10 games (in the regular season)" type of season.

Third down: Impact of the 2013 recruiting class

One of the glaring weaknesses for the Longhorns in 2012 was the lack of depth and issues in the interior of the offensive line.

If Mack Brown and Stacey Searels filled a need in the 2013 recruiting class, it was on the offensive line. They got four great high school prospects (Kent Perkins, Darius James, Rami Hammad and Jake Raulerson) and threw in a 6-foot-7, 315-pound juco tackle in Desmond Harrison to really make Longhorns fans smile.

Couple this group with the freshmen from the 2012 class and you could see good depth building over the next couple of seasons for the Longhorns, resulting in a powerful offensive line.

Texas fans might see the offensive line that they always hoped for but have rarely had in the last five seasons in 2013.

Fourth down: Around the country

Just so everyone knows, the SEC is not going anywhere. It has won the last seven BCS Championships and while the string will end at some point an SEC team will probably be the runner-up. The conference is that good and that deep.

Of the Top 11 teams in the 2013 ESPN recruiting rankings, seven are from the SEC, including the top two and three of the top five.

The SEC gets the lion’s share of the ESPN 150, the ESPN 300 and every other prospect list that matters. That domination will only be broken when other conferences match the commitment that the SEC has to football.