In this segment of the Hook’em Headlines Writers’ Roundtable, we tackle what we call the A&M Effect. Texas A&M University has long been the rival that Texas Longhorn fans discount, call “Little Brother” at times. But with a 10-2 record, Ranked 9th in the Final BCS, and a Heisman winning quarterback, it seems Texas A&M has hit Big Brother in the head with a bat. So we got both writers of Hook’em Headlines to answer this question:
With Texas A&M having a Heisman winner and winning big in the SEC, is Texas Longhorn recruiting going to suffer?
The old saying goes that perception is reality, and that’s especially true when it comes to college football recruiting. And the perception now is that Texas A&M is emerging as a national program worthy of commitments from national-level prospects. Having just gone an expectation-exceeding 10-2 in their first SEC regular season, the Aggies’ momentum shifted into overdrive when Johnny Manziel used record-breaking stats, one big road victory, and a catchy nickname to become the first freshman ever to win the Heisman Trophy. Their 2013 class currently sits at No. 7 in the Rivals.com team rankings and is rising quickly.
In stark contrast, there’s the Texas Longhorns. Long the standard bearers in the Lone Star State, UT is coming off another un-Texas-like campaign—their third in a row—and in the eyes of many, is a program in decline, the arrogant bully that nobody’s afraid of anymore.
And in a way, this perfect storm has left the state of Texas and its fertile recruiting ground more up for grabs than it’s been in a long time. While the Longhorns should ink another top class this February (it’s small, but its star ranking per player is among the best in the country), the real effects will most likely be felt once the 2014 class takes center stage. The Horns are no longer going to be able to make a list, check it twice, and sign whomever they please. A&M is going to be a real player, and the only way for Texas to flip the script will be to change the perception by turning another tried-and-true saying into reality:
Just win, baby.
I agree that perception is everything but I do want to throw out some caution. With recruiting classes, the very best recruiting classes are going to have 10-12 recruits that become starters. That’s just the reality of major college football recruiting. Now some of those recruits become solid contributors in the 2 deep rotation. But some fans of all teams think that if a recruit they pursued commits to another team, he will not succeed and all their recruits will succeed. Now it seems the vibe I am getting from Longhorn fans is Texas’s recruits aren’t as good as other schools. I am glad you brought up Rivals because I wanted to go over the 2009 recruiting class Lone Star Rankings 1-100.