Times are changing on the football recruiting trail. Especially in Austin.
For years, Mack Brown’s Longhorns led the recruiting charge with their junior days in the spring. Lately, however, Texas has played catch-up to major BCS programs’ innovative ways to get recruits interested and on campus.
A series of Texas firsts started in early March with the hiring of Patrick Suddes — the new director of player personnel — to organize recruiting tactics on the trail. Suddes, who came to Texas from Alabama, has reinvigorated the Longhorns’ recruiting efforts, and is the mastermind behind what will be another Longhorns first this weekend — the Texas Stampede.
As many as 50 of the Longhorns’ top remaining recruiting targets for the 2014 and 2015 classes will be on campus Saturday; while Texas’ two June mini-camps were open to any recruit that wanted to attend, Saturday’s event is only for players that Texas has offered scholarships.
The visit will be set up so those 40-50 players the Longhorns have squarely in their crosshairs can become better acquainted with the coaches and current players. They’ll have a fairly laid back day — touring the facilities, talking about life as a Longhorns football player and then treated to a cookout.
While some of the top remaining 2014 targets will be on campus, Texas — which already has 21 commitments for next year’s class — will get the chance to know the players it hopes to pursue for 2015, for which the Longhorns already have seven pledges.
Texas won’t be pushing for recruits to commit during the Stampede, though some players conceivably could pledge while they’re here.
Among those expected this weekend are South Grand Prairie defensive back Jason Hall — who recently de-committed from Nebraska — and is thought to be an eventual flip to Texas. Gilmer cornerback Kris Boyd, from the class of 2015, has been high on the Longhorns’ radar since shining at the June 9 mini-camp and should also attend.