Times are changing on the football recruiting trail. Especially in Austin.
For years, Mack Brown and the Texas staff led the recruiting charge with their junior days in the spring – when they would land almost their entire recruiting class for the cycle. Lately, however, the Longhorns have been playing catch up to major BCS programs that have passed them by with innovative ways to get recruits interested and on campus.
A series of firsts for Texas started in early March with the hiring of Patrick Suddes, Director of Player Personnel, to organize its tactics on the trail. Suddes has reinvigorated UT’s recruiting efforts, and is the mastermind behind what will be another first for Texas this weekend: an event called the Texas Stampede.
The Longhorns will host as many as 50 top targets Saturday in the first occurance of its kind in Austin. While UT’s two June minicamps were open to any recruit that wanted to come, Saturday’s event is just for the players the Longhorns have offered in the 2014 and ’15 classes.
“This is a way for Texas to reestablish some momentum on the recruiting trail,” said Jason Suchomel, Editor of Orangebloods.com.
The visit will be set up so those 40-50 players the Longhorns have squarely in their crosshairs can get better acquainted with the coaches and current players. They’ll tour the facilities, talk about life as a Texas Longhorn football player and be treated to a cookout.
Mack Brown and his staff are aiming for the day to be as laid back as possible – a chance to get to know the players they’re hoping to sign over the next two cycles.
While some top 2014 targets will be on campus, expect the emphasis from the Texas coaching staff, Suchomel says, to be on the large number of elite 2015 recruits.
“I think this weekend will help more with the 2015 class than 2014,” he said. “This weekend could really help the staff develop relationships with a lot of the kids in the 2015 class.”
Texas won’t be pushing for recruits to commit during the Stampede, but it would come as no surprise if a couple players pledge while in Austin.
2014 South Grand Prairie defensive back Jason Hall – a recent decommitment from Nebraska – is thought to be an eventual flip to Texas. 2015 Gilmer corner Kris Boyd has been very high on the Longhorns since shining at the June 9 minicamp. Those are two of a handful that may pull the trigger, but the weekend won’t be deemed a failure if it doesn’t happen.
“(The staff) isn’t out pushing players to commit,” Suchomel said. “These are all guys who favor Texas. (The staff) isn’t pushing or expecting commitments this weekend. The main thing is to get the recruits around the coaches and players.”
The weekend shouldn’t be considered a failure even if it comes and goes without an addition to either class. The fact that the Horns are making moves on the recruiting trail to enhance their opportunities with blue-chip targets after years of standing idle should tell you Brown, Suddes and the Texas staff have things going in the right direction.
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