All of the crazy coaching news that dropped on Dec. 1 around the Power Five conferences will have some level of impact on the Texas football program.
There was so much news that dropped on the topic of the college football coaching carousel on Dec. 1 that the face that the Texas football program pretty much turned over their entire assistant staff didn’t get the attention nationally that it usually would. Power Five and significant Group of Five head coaches were dropping like flies after Week 14 of the college football regular season wrapped up.
For the Texas Longhorns football program, finding better options to call the plays on both sides of the ball for next season was the main task at hand. Head Texas football coach Tom Herman tried to make it clear on Dec. 1 that 7-5 would not be the standard he wants to establish during his tenure on the Forty Acres.
In the midst of all the coaching news that shook the college football landscape on Dec. 1, there were a few departures that stuck out. The South Florida Bulls letting go of Charlie Strong was a big one, as was the back and forth surrounding Clay Helton and the USC Trojans. Although, the reports that the Trojans were parting ways with Helton wound up proving false.
Yet, one report that emerged that was rather surprising on Dec. 1 was the the parting of Ole Miss Rebels former head coach Matt Luke. While Ole Miss finished with a subpar four-win regular season, they were facing all sorts of sanctions following the end of Hugh Freeze’s tenure in Oxford.
The impact that the firing of Luke has on the Longhorns is similar in nature to that of Chad Morris seeing the door after his time with the Arkansas Razorbacks ended this season.
Texas and Ole Miss actually found themselves in a number of recruiting battles over the course of the last 12 months. Near the end of the 2019 recruiting cycle, the Longhorns and Rebels were two of the programs battling to land the talented five-star running back Jerrion Ealy. Ole Miss wound up landing Ealy over the likes of Texas and the Clemson Tigers.
If Ole Miss players were already starting to get tired of the losing and lengthy sanctions in place, then they could start to look at putting their names in the NCAA Transfer Portal. If there’s any traction left between Ealy and the programs that were pursuing his commitment during his recruitment out of high school, then this could be a good sign for the Longhorns.
But the most important current recruiting battle that Texas and Ole Miss were intertwined in was with is three-star IMG Academy outside linebacker Jaqwondis Burns. The latest post on Burns’ Twitter timeline to date is still a retweet from Texas three-star athlete commit Dajon Harrison after he had an official visit last month to the Forty Acres.
Losing the head coach at the program he’s committed to has to make Burns give his pledge to Ole Miss second thoughts. The Baylor Bears and Utah Utes are also two programs hot on the trail of Burns, despite his commitment to Ole Miss.
Four-star 2020 Memphis, TN, defensive tackle Omari Thomas also holds offers from Ole Miss and Texas. That could a prospect that Texas makes a late run with before the Early Signing Period hits. Three-star North Hardin defensive tackle Octavious Oxendine is also an underrated Texas offeree that also has interest coming from Ole Miss.
The impact of this firing also shows the extent to which the college football coaching carousel could change the landscape heading into the offseason. There could be a ton of coaching turnover, even by the usual SEC considerations, this offseason which is already beginning to take shape. ESPN’s Adam Rittenburg said it well when he Tweeted that he was “surprised” that Ole Miss made this move so early.
Anyhow, let the stakes begin between the Mizzou Tigers, Arkansas, and Ole Miss to land the Memphis Tigers head coach Mike Norvell for their job openings this offseason.