Football

Alamo Bowl notebook: Texas’ recruiting class ranked sixth as Tom Herman eyes early signing day

Assistants and coordinators may change, but Herman selling himself to parents, recruits with questions about turnover

Posted December 12th, 2019

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Story highlights
  • “The message — and by the way, everybody has been great — has been pretty factual,” Herman said.
  • RB Jordan Whittington flies to New York to have another surgery on his sports hernia.
  • WR Collin Johnson tells Herman he hopes to play in the Alamo Bowl.

SAN ANTONIO — Hiring two new coordinators takes a backseat with the early signing period less than a week away.

Texas coach Tom Herman made it clear Thursday that he’s focused on the search for new coordinators but also on “the first priority, which is recruiting.” The Longhorns, who have had back-to-back No. 3-ranked classes the past two years, have 16 commitments for their 2020 class, which is ranked No. 6 nationally by 247Sports’ composite ratings.

Recruits and their parents typically ask hard questions, mostly about issues like playing time, the offensive or defensive system and the position coach. Herman said he’s spent time explaining that college football is mostly about change.

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“The message — and by the way, everybody has been great — has been pretty factual,” Herman said. “Assistant coaches want to be coordinators. And coordinators want to be head coaches. And to think you’re going to play for the same position coach and/or coordinator for your entire career, that’s probably not going to happen in today’s college football.”

Texas coach Tom Herman takes part in a news conference for the Alamo Bowl on Thursday in San Antonio. Texas will face Utah in the Alamo Bowl. (Eric Gay/The Associated Press)

Herman said the only constant in picking the Longhorns is himself and strength coach Yancy McKnight.

“When coaches do leave to take better jobs or changes need to be made,” Herman said, “they need to trust that myself as the leader of the organization is going to make sure that we bring in the best at the University of Texas because that’s what the University of Texas deserves.”

Whittington surgery: Running back Jordan Whittington was thought to be on track for a full recovery from a sports hernia injury. But the freshman posted a photo Thursday on his Instagram of him in a surgical gown with the message, “Surgery went well. #Love.”

It’s unlikely Whittington will play against Utah in the Alamo Bowl. The standout from Cuero appeared in one game this season, thus earning a redshirt.

“The doctor in Philadelphia felt like a follow-up surgery, not necessarily on the surgery itself, but some of the swelling and scar tissue to alleviate that, was necessary,” Herman said.

Johnson to play: Senior Collin Johnson has spoken with Herman, and the receiver wants to play in the bowl game despite a nagging hamstring injury, Herman said.

“If we played today, he wouldn’t be able to play, I know that. But he’s getting better,” Herman said.

It’s now en vogue for NFL-bound veterans to skip lower-level bowl games. Utah coach Kyle Whittingham took a constructive viewpoint. “More times than not, you can help your draft stock by playing in the game,” he said.

Utah safety Julian Blackmon and his backup R.J. Hubert will both miss the Alamo Bowl with injuries sustained in the Pac-12 championship game, Whittingham said. No Utah player has told Whittingham they would purposely skip the game.

LHN on Sling: Longhorn Network is now available on Sling TV, joining AT&T Now as the only two online streaming platforms to carry the ESPN-owned network. PlayStation Vue was carrying LHN, but Sony officials have announced that Vue will cease operations in late January.

Contact Brian Davis at 512-445-3957. Email bdavis@statesman.com.

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