Historically, Texas has found recruiting success all over the state. Its central location and name recognition has drawn elite talents from Houston, Dallas-Fort Worth and even the far reaches of West Texas.
A big part of recruiting is building relationships, though, and developing pipelines from top high school programs. Those pipelines have looked different over the years depending on coaching staffs, but some have remained intact.
Here are five such pipelines that have helped the Longhorns maintain their status as one of college football’s elite programs through the decades.
Notable alumni: Earl Campbell, Aaron Ross, Tim Crowder
When a school produces a player like the “Tyler Rose,” it opens doors that previous generations never knew existed. Since Campbell became the first Longhorn to win the Heisman Trophy in 1977, several Tyler Lions have followed his footsteps to the 40 Acres. Ross won the Thorpe Award in 2006 as the nation’s best defensive back, and along with Crowder helped Texas win the 2005 national championship. Both went on to play in the NFL.
Notable alumni: Keenan Robinson, Justin Blalock
Plano East has produced future NFL players at an impressive rate, even relative to its fellow DFW mega-schools. Plano East provided the Longhorns with a pair of them during the Mack Brown era. As we’ve already discussed in this series, Blalock laid the block that won the Longhorns a national championship. Robinson started 39 games at linebacker and was a two-time Butkus Award semifinalist. Plano West has also been good to Texas, sending Jackson Jeffcoat and Bryce Cottrell since it opened in 1999.
Notable alumni: Brian Orakpo, Rod Babers, Drew Kelson
Lamar hasn’t sent waves of star players to Austin. It’s more like each player has written his own chapter. Babers starred in the Texas secondary in the early 2000s, opening the door for Kelson who arrived two years later and contributed to the 2005 national title. Then it was Orakpo’s turn, and he did not disappoint. The 2008 Nagurski Trophy winner is still tormenting offenses for the Tennessee Titans. The Longhorns now have a pair of Lamar products (Holton Hill and John Bonney) trying to live up to that legacy, and they’ve offered two more Texans defensive backs in the 2018 class.
Galena Park North Shore
Notable alumni: Cory Redding, Lance Gunn, Chykie Brown, Sedrick Flowers, Trey Hopkins, Barrett Mathews
Here’s where things really pick up. Six players who made big contributions, four of whom played at least one season in the NFL. However, the current Longhorns only have one North Shore player on the roster in freshman running back Tristian Houston. That’s not because of a lack of talent — the Mustangs have produced multiple Division I prospects each year since 2012, and only Houston went to Texas. Herman is trying to change that trend this year with highly-rated defensive end K’Lavon Chaisson. One of the Longhorns’ top remaining targets, Chaisson will announce his decision on national signing day.
— Craig Naivar (@Coach_Naivar) January 6, 2017
Notable alumni: Roosevelt Leaks, Limas Sweed, Malcom Brown, Timothy Cole, Ahmard Howard, Ryan Roberson, Brandon Collins
Blue Bell ice cream and Texas football players; Brenham’s two main exports sure are sweet. Mack Brown and Brenham coach Glen West developed a relationship early in Brown’s tenure, one that sent seven Cubs to Austin over 14 years. Leaks arrived well before that, rushing for nearly 3,000 years from 1972 to 1974. The pipeline reached its peak under Brown, but Herman and his staff already seem intent on building it back up. They’ve already landed one commit in Marqez Bimage.
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