With the speculation of Johnny Manziel and Mike Evans leaving for the NFL behind us, we can now refocus our attention to the final month of recruiting leading up to National Signing Day on February 5th. Kevin Sumlin and his staff have put together unprecedented recruiting efforts over the last two years helping establish Texas A&M as a recruiting force in the SEC as well as taking complete control of the recruiting landscape in the state of Texas.
The culture of college football in the state of Texas has made some drastic changes over the last few years as the Aggie’s successfully transitioned into the Southeastern Conference. Texas A&M has gone from being perceived as a “sleeping giant” so to speak, and a little brother to the University of Texas, to being the “IT” school in the state of Texas and squarely establishing itself in the center of the national spotlight. Texas A&M has swagg, yes SWAGG, and recruits across the country are paying close attention.
Kevin Sumlin has created this new culture at Texas A&M through a variety of program changes and upgrades; including music at practices, live DJ’s at the spring games, fog machine entrances on game days, Friday night helicopter recruiting trips, extensive social media efforts, uniform upgrades, facility expansions, and an infections rapport with not just recruits but everyone! This change has not only challenged other programs in the SEC conference, but has shifted the power in the state of Texas.
Texas A&M has experienced somewhat of a perfect storm with the historic combination of the SEC, Kevin Sumlin, and Johnny Manziel and the pressure has been abruptly unloaded on the shoulders of the Texas longhorns. Texas has been in complete panic mode since the Aggies entered the Southeastern Conference. Initially their threat to end the rivalry game if A&M left the BIG XII seemed like enough for Texas to maintain its control over Texas A&M, but in a defiant move Texas A&M accepted the invitation into the SEC and hasn’t looked back. As a result Texas has faltered in recruiting, struggled on the field, fired its legendary head coach, flexed its muscles, flashed their wallets, and huffed and puffed their way through a humbling coaching search that resulted in three no’s before hearing a delayed acceptance from former Louisville head coach Charlie Strong. However, longhorn executives will not surprisingly tell you he was their first choice all along.
Now the head to head battle in the state of Texas isn’t just between Texas A&M and Texas, but now more specifically is a battle between Kevin Sumlin and Charlie Strong with Sumlin coming out throwing hay makers not even 24 hours after Strong’s introduction as head coach. Since Charlie Strong was introduced as head coach of Texas this week their three DT commits have not only decommitted, but of those decommitts 4 star DT Trey Lealaimatafao has contacted A&M expressing interest and 4 star DT Zaycoven Henderson has flat out flipped his commitment to Texas A&M. Texas 4 star LB commit Otara Alaka has also scheduled an official visit to College Station on January 17th-19th. These are not only surprising moves but are huge blows to the days old tenure of Charlie Strong as Texas A&M continues to win the head to head battles over Texas.
Even after hiring Charlie Strong Texas is still in complete disarray with longhorn billionaire booster Red McCombs ripping the decision to hire Strong as the new head coach of Texas and calling it a ‘kick to the face”. As much as Texas loves to brag about its program being the richest in the country, pop culture has taught us that at times “Mo Money, Mo Problems”. Charlie Strong has stepped into the proclaimed best coaching job in the country, and has been smacked in the face repeatedly from day one. There’s simply too many chefs in the kitchen at Texas and unless some of these chefs start checking their egos at the door the program is on the fast track to imploding. Not to mention that Strong is a coach who has a history of hating the media, despising PR, and loathing promotions but is now the ringleader for the number one media circus in the country. No doubt Charlie Strong will eventually settle in, but this pairing should be fun to watch.
While Texas is busy trying to right the ship and control the chaos, Texas A&M is closing in on National Signing Day as the #2 recruiting class in the nation with #1 pro style QB in 5 star Kyle Allen, #1 DE in 5 star Myles Garrett, and #1 WR/ATH in 5 star Speedy Noil. The Aggies are not only dominating recruiting in the state of Texas but have stolen recruits from across the country including Arizona and recruiting hot bed Louisiana. Texas A&M is looking to close out the 2014 recruiting class with a few more targets on the radar in Baylor WR committs Davion Hall and KD Cannon, uncommitted OLs Nick Gates and Braden Smith, LBs Otara Alaka, Kenny Young, Ismael Murphy-Richardson, Chris Weatherd, and Edwin Freeman, and DBs Steven Parker, Mattrell McGraw, and Terrence Alexander. With the addition of stud recruiter and DB coach Terry Joseph, the Aggies could add a few additional last minute targets to the list as well.
Texas A&M is now THE school in the state of Texas with the national media even taking notice. Recently after the Chick-Fil-A bowl win ESPN analyst Jesse Palmer reiterated the prevalent power shift in the state…
Texas A&M is now THE team in Texas.
Texas A&M football players even sensed the change earlier in the year when senior DB Toney Hurd Jr. tweeted out…
Texas A&M IS the University of Texas.
These are strong statements (no pun intended) coming from both inside and outside the program. Jesse Palmer and Toney Hurd Jr. are not the only ones who share these sentiments as the recruiting world has clearly been making the strongest statement. With this escalation of power and the solidification of Texas A&M as the only SEC school in the state of Texas, Aggies can rest assured that the lone star state will be bleeding maroon for years to come.