Tag Archives: Texas

In-State or Bust

With National Signing Day in the rear view mirror, and the Texas Longhorns finishing with the 3rd best class in the nation, I want to touch on something that I have noticed over the last five years. Over the last half-decade, there has been a trend beginning every February on NSD. The Longhorn football program has been overselling their incoming recruiting classes judging by the production on the field during the season. What has caused these so-called “top class” to fail:

TOP IN-STATE RECRUITS

How did I come to that conclusion so quickly? Well, here’s the deal. The State of Texas lives and breathes high school football. I mean come on, there was a freaking TV show about it. It’s the State of Texas. High School football is a religion here. It’s the best of the best. The talent level is through the roof. In the 2016 NFL season, a total of 214 players played their high school football in Texas. There’s little to no doubt that this state is made up of some of the most promising up-and-coming players in the country.

With that being said, there is no excuse that Texas has been unable to retain at least 50% of the Top 20 recruits in the State in recent years. Before I talk about now, let’s go back to the Class of 2010. Out of the top 20 recruits in the State of Texas, Mack Brown brought in a total of 10 recruits for the Longhorns. That’s what Texas has been missing in the recent years. In order for the Horns to be successful, they HAVE to and MUST win the in-state recruits.

Why do I say that? Here’s what was going on from 2013-2017 with the top 20 players in the State of Texas:

· Class of 2013, 3 signed went 8-5

· Class of 2014, 4 signed went 6-7

· Class of 2015, 6 signed went 5-7

· Class of 2016, 7 signed went 5-7

Then, in the Class of 2017… ZERO, NONE, NADA signed with the University of Texas at Austin. I get that Charlie Strong was fired, but still. It’s THE UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS. It’s a world-renowned university. You would think, you would hope, at least ONE of the Top 20 in the State would have wanted to be a Longhorn.

But now…. after waiting almost 5 years, Texas football is back baby. The Class of 2018 has garnered 10 signees from the Top 20 in the State. It appears Head Coach Tom Herman is bringing back the precedent set on recruiting in this state. It truly is second to none. And, when the top recruits are in your backyard, you go out and get them. That’s the philosophy Herman is following and will continue to follow for years to come.

Will Texas Football Rise From the Ashes?

Growing up during the Mack Brown era, winning seasons was a way of life. It so happens that the first season I actually remember is the year Vince Young scrambled for a 9 yard touchdown on 4th down to defeat USC in the National Championship Game.

The 8 years that followed featured 4- 10 win seasons, 7 bowl game appearances, 5 bowl wins, 1 National Championship appearance, and only 1 losing season. Since Mack Brown resigned after the 2013 Alamo Bowl, Texas has had two 5-win seasons and two head coaches.

After hiring Tom Herman from Houston last January, Texas fans were already talking about the College Football Playoff. Herman had compiled a 22-4 record in 2 years as the head coach of the Houston Cougars. Fans expected Herman to replicate those 2 years in his first year at the helm of the Longhorn football program. Unfortunately for Longhorn fans, this was not the case.

The first game under Tom Herman started with a bang. Maryland’s quarterback Tyrell Pigrome threw an interception that was returned for a touchdown by Holton Hill. After that, it was all Maryland. Maryland scored 27 unanswered points and Texas fans’ morales changed in an instant. Texas ended up dropping their first game under Tom Herman 51-41. Questions circulated about offensive/defensive play calling, the personnel being used, and issues with the kicking game.

Little did we know that this would be the beginning of a season that no one expected.

Tim Beck’s offense displayed little to no progress throughout the year. It’s ridiculous. The same plays were called time and time again, regardless of the success rate. They had trouble finishing drives in the end zone, closing out drives with 6 points became something Horns fans could only dream of, especially from inside the red zone.

Speaking of the wondrous 6 points, the Longhorns couldn’t rely on kicker Josh Rowland to put up 3 points. Rowland finished the year 10 of 17 on field goal attempts with 2 of them being blocked.

On a higher note, Todd Orlando’s defense progressed significantly throughout the season. After giving up 51 points in the season opener, the next highest number of points they gave up was 34. They held five ranked teams to under 30 points, yet only one of those games was capped off with a victory.

Junior punter Michael Dickson was my MVP for the Horns this season. Dickson, a Ray Guy Award Finalist for the second time, punted 73 times with 32 downed inside the 20 yard line, 34 punts of 50-yards or more, and a long of 76 yards. As great of a player as Dickson is, the punter is never thought of to be the team MVP. Throughout this season, there was one constant: Dickson’s incredible punting abilities.

The first year under Tom Herman was unexpected to say the least. Reaching a bowl game for the first time in 3 years will hopefully be a confidence booster going into next season. All of this being said, I have faith in Tom Herman moving forward. He is a proven coach with an excellent track record and I believe he is the right man for the job. The freshman class, led by quarterback Sam Ehlinger, has the potential to lead Texas back in to the college football spotlight that Horns fans dream of year after year.