Texas coach Tom Herman issued a statement late Tuesday in an attempt to clarify comments he made two days ago in Houston about the growing popularity of IMG Academy.
Speaking at the Texas High School Coaches Association convention, Herman said he “didn’t understand” why Texas high school football players would leave home for the Bradenton, Fla., campus. IMG Academy is becoming known for luring some of the best recruits in the nation.
“I get nervous that one of those things is going to take off here in the state of Texas,” Herman said, according to the Houston Chronicle. “I think we have to do whatever we can to discourage those young men from thinking that that’s a better option than playing with the people and for the people in their community.”
On Tuesday, UT officials issued a statement from Herman that said he wanted to “follow up on some comments I made at the Texas High School Coaches Association Convention on Sunday.”
Herman said it was his belief there was “great value in playing high school sports in your community and nothing like Friday night lights in our great state.” There are other opportunities, like charter or private schools or IMG Academy, were athletes can grow and flourish, he acknowledged.
“I do think it’s important to talk through it with people you trust, but ultimately that decision is up to each young man and his family,” Herman added. “As I said to the Texas high school coaches, playing football in our state is tremendously rewarding, but I also recognize the value for those who choose to pursue other opportunities.”
It’s not as if the Longhorns won’t recruit players from IMG. Ayodele Adeoye, an inside linebacker from St. Louis, has transferred to IMG but is still part of Texas’ 2018 recruiting class.
Herman actually addressed that during his talk with the Texas high school coaches on Sunday night, too.
“It doesn’t matter whether you go to IMG or you go to Carthage High School, we’re going to find you,” Herman said, according to the Houston Chronicle. “I believe high school football is more than just getting recruited. It’s more than X’s and O’s. It’s about community, especially in this state. That community starts to get torn apart a little bit because people want to come in and recruit other players. I’ve got a problem with that.”
Contact Brian Davis at 512-445-3957. Email firstname.lastname@example.org.