Friday, November 16, 2012
Roundtable: Should Texas recruit RSJ?
By Max Olson and William Wilkerson
Every Friday, HornsNation recruiting writers William Wilkerson and Max Olson will answer a question about the Longhorns.
This week's question: If you were a Texas coach, would you swallow your pride and pick up the Ricky Seals-Jones -- the nation's No. 1 athlete and a former Longhorns commit -- recruitment again?
Top athlete Ricky Seals-Jones is down to Texas A&M and LSU.
William Wilkerson: I don’t think you’ll find a person who covers recruiting, a football coach that’s seen Seals-Jones play, or even a casual fan whose just read about the Sealy sensation who doesn’t think he’ll be the same, and then some, in college.
He’s as much of a sure thing as I’ve seen, whether he ends up at wide receiver or tight end. If he keeps his priorities in order and hones his craft in college, there’s little doubt in my mind he’ll be playing on Sundays.
That said, the answer to this question is a resounding no.
In a perfect world for Texas’ staff, this question would never even be in question. Seals-Jones would have honored the verbal commitment he made on Feb. 22 and stuck with the Longhorns. But that didn’t happen.
And as hard as it might be to stomach the thought of him running post routes for Johnny Football, or being involved in some manic madness trickery for the Mad Hatter in Baton Rouge, Texas should just load up on a bunch of antiacids and move forward with RSJ in its rearview.
For one, I’m not sure if Texas would be a viable option for RSJ if it jumped back into things right now. The Longhorns were rumored to be at the top of his list when they decided to bow out of the race for his signature. Now, I’m not so sure, especially with the way Texas A&M has played in its first season in the SEC.
Chester Jones, father of top Aggies' 2013 target Ricky Seals-Jones, told our Sam Khan Jr. after the Aggies’ victory at No. 1 Alabama that he thinks it is the beginning of a shift in the balance of recruiting power in the state of Texas.
"Their recruiting is probably going to pick up," Jones said. "They're probably going to win Texas now. In the recruiting wars in the next four-to-five years, they'll probably be the top recruiting college in the state of Texas."
Could there be a hidden message in this statement? I’m thinking so.
Not only do I think Texas A&M, and LSU to a lesser degree, have moved to the forefront of RSJ’s mind, knowing that Texas is back in the mix with him could discourage other WR targets from looking at the Longhorns as serious as they might be with Seals-Jones out of the picture.
Texas needs to continue moving forward without RSJ even as painful as it still might be.
Max Olson: Ricky Seals-Jones is the truth. No one denies this.
But truthfully, Texas and its fan base need to move on. He’s not coming back, and the Longhorns most likely don’t want him back.
I can’t speak to all the reasons why Texas decided to end its relationship with the former commit and No. 1 ranked athlete, but it’s safe to say his recruitment was not heading in a direction that pleased Texas. No matter the circumstances, Seals-Jones was in no hurry to come back to UT after his decommitment and Texas still swallowed its pride for more than three months.
Still, the question of why Texas decided to publicly bow out of this race still lingers. If I were a Texas coach and I were fed up with the recruitment of RSJ, I would’ve just stop calling him. He’d figure it out.
Perhaps they didn’t want to make it look like they “lost” the state’s top prospect to Texas A&M or LSU. But Texas did the same with Ra'Shaad Samples and Justin Manning, deciding that they were no longer interested and moving on without causing a stir.
Whatever the reason, this much is clear: Seals-Jones and Texas are not getting back together, no matter how many phone calls get made between now and national signing day.
There’s no point in picking up the recruitment again, because at this point the bridge has been sufficiently burned. Seals-Jones is perfectly content with choosing between A&M and LSU. If anything, Texas backing off probably made life easier for him.
Meanwhile, Texas is still searching. There might be no replacing a receiver like Seals-Jones, but the Longhorn staff is far better off traveling the country in search of one this December and January than sitting by the phone and hoping the ex-commit will call back.