There has been plenty of drama around Longhorns football — the poor start, Mack Brown’s preseason optimism undone two weeks in, the firing of the defensive coordinator and nearly daily rumors about Brown’s future — but the 33 high school recruits who have already committed to Texas are standing firm.
Defections from a recruiting class are normal these days — Reggie Hemphill, for example, is a class of 2016 wide receiver who’s still 29 months away from signing a letter of intent — but the product on the field isn’t typically a reason why committed prospects begin listening to other suitors.
“You can’t base your decision on where you’re going and why you like a school on how they’re doing that year or that day,” said Corpus Christi Flour Bluff cornerback Jalen Campbell, a 2015 Longhorns’ pledge. “You have to take it day by day.”
Recruits understand that losses happen. They aren’t surprised when another school brings up Texas’ record, nor do they feel the need to talk about what happened in the game with Longhorns coaches.
“Not a lot is really said,” Campbell said,” because not a lot of stuff needs to be said about it all.”
The family atmosphere, academics and state of the art facilities are the standard selling points for Texas. The recruits who embrace Brown’s program, as they did during the 2010 season, will by and large stay put.
“I don’t think anybody’s ready to jump off the ship,” said Jeff Howe, a recruiting analyst for Horns247.
On the other hand, the Longhorns aren’t coming off a BCS title game appearance like they were in 2010. The 2014 class was in eighth grade the last time Texas played a nationally relevant game.
“Mack had a lot of cred with (UT’s 2010 class),” Howe said.
Thanks to charismatic leaders in Texas’ pledge class like wide receiver Lorenzo Joe and quarterback Jerrod Heard, the staff has had help keeping the group together.
The coaches will need it, because they’re going to have the most cleanup work to do in their recruiting battles for the top uncommitted players.
If Texas’ 2014 group lacks one thing, it’s a headline grabber. Heard and defensive end Derick Roberson — ranked 69th and 77th, respectively, by 247Sports composite rankings of the country’s leading recruiting services — are the only Texas commitments in the 2014 class ranked in the top 130 nationally.
The Longhorns continue to pursue five-star Texans Tony Brown (a defensive back from Beaumont Ozen, and the No. 1-ranked player on the American-Statesman’s Fabulous 55), Jamal Adams (a Lewisville Hebron defensive back, and No. 3 on the Fab 55) and Coppell defensive end Solomon Thomas (No. 4). Each player is considering Texas, but with each loss the odds of them ending up in Austin shrink.
“It stings with a guy like Jamal Adams. If all things were equal, I think he’d be going to Texas,” Howe said of the defensive back who’s also considering Florida and Texas A&M. “Clearly things are not equal.”
Texas has 24 commitments for its 2014 recruiting class:
QB Jerrod Heard, Denton Guyer
DE Derick Roberson, S.A. Brennan; S John Bonney, Houston Lamar; WR Armanti Foreman, Texas City; RB Donald Catalon, Aldine Eisenhower; OLB Otaro Alaka, Hou. Cypress Falls; ATH Kevin Shorter, Newton; WR Lorenzo Joe, Abilene Cooper;
CB Jermaine Roberts, N.O. (La.) St. Augustine; ILB Andrew Beck, Tampa (Fla.) Plant; C Terrell Cuney, Jasper; DT Trey Lealaimatafao, S.A. Warren; WR Emanuel Porter, Dallas Lincoln; WR Dorian Leonard, Longview; WR Roderick Bernard, Hou. Sharpstown; DE Sione Teuhema, Keller; OLB Cameron Hampton, Dallas Carter; DE Jake McMillon, Abilene; DT Courtney Garnett, N.O. (La.) St. Augustine; WR Garrett Gray, Marble Falls; TE John Thomas, Trinity Valley C.C.; RB D’Onta Foreman, Texas City; S Jason Hall, S. Grand Prairie; P Corbin Daly, Charlotte (N.C.) Kell