Longhorns managing to keep top class intact
By Kevin Flaherty
Friday, Christian Westerman, Scout.com’s No. 1 offensive guard in the class of 2011, announced that he was ending his commitment to play football at Texas, while joining the recruiting class at Auburn.
The decommitment wasn’t a shock — decommitments happen all the time in college football recruiting. Defensive tackle Quincy Russell committed to Texas early in the process, then backed out before recommitting to the Longhorns.
That kind of mobility is what caused former Kansas coach Mark Mangino to quip that there were two kinds of commitment: the kind that a man shares with his wife, where he’s truly committed, and a college football commitment, which meant that there was “a slightly increased likelihood” that a recruit would sign with a school.
That’s exactly what made Westerman’s decision so special: It marked the only loss to Texas’s recruiting class this year. It also appears that Westerman could be the only loss.
When measured against typical recruit movement, and the fact that the Longhorns replaced two-thirds of their assistant coaches during the course of a few months, losing recruiters such as Will Muschamp, Duane Akina and Bobby Kennedy, it’s astounding.
Sure, there were chances for recruits to jump ship. Josh Turner was a highly coveted cornerback after Akina elected to go to Arizona. Kendall Thompson —whose future coach, Muschamp, jumped to Florida, was pursued by LSU, but said at the Army All-American Bowl that he wasn’t going to make a switch.
“I’m all Longhorn,” Thompson said. “Texas is Texas.”
Five-star linebacker Steve Edmond echoed those sentiments that week.
“Other coaches might be calling me,” Edmond said. “But honestly, I don’t even pick up the phone.”
“I don’t even know how those (switching commitment) rumors get started,” added Jaxon Shipley at Army week.
As a matter of fact, Texas actually added a potential recruit in Jermauria Rasco through the addition of Bo Davis to the coaching staff. Rasco, one of the country’s top defensive ends, originally listed the Longhorns as a possibility, but pushed them down the list when Muschamp left. Rasco admitted that the Longhorns moved back into contention for his signature when they hired Davis as the defensive tackles coach. Davis previously recruited Rasco as Alabama’s defensive line coach.
There’s still time until National Signing Day, and the final week typically seems like a lifetime for coaches forced to babysit and make sure no other squad picks off any stragglers.
But for now, it appears that Texas has pulled off the improbable: replacing six of nine assistant coaches while keeping the nation’s No. 1 recruiting class nearly intact.