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March 10, 2012
Texas: Recruiting has never been better
Here's the deal with Texas' current 2013 recruiting efforts:
When the recruiting season began - when its first Junior Day went by without a single on-campus commitment, when rival Texas A&M started out with a bang, when fans started putting all this together - the Longhorns appeared to be in trouble.
Perhaps their traditional grip on the state's best recruits - following a disappointing 8-5 season, following conference changes for A&M and TCU, following Houston's surprise jump into the rankings - was starting to loosen.
As it turns out, nothing could be further from the truth.
Texas may not have started this 2013 class as it traditionally does, locking up many top prospects right from the start, but its results have been better than ever.
[ More: Latest recruit is top tight end ]
"It's a little more selective start for Texas than in recent years and I think it's the best quality they've started with in a few years," Rivals.com national recruiting analyst Mike Farrell said.
Brian Perroni, who covers the Texas region for Rivals.com, agrees.
"Texas almost always gets its top targets in the state of Texas, but it is unreal how well Mack Brown has started this year," he said. "The Longhorns already have seven Rivals100 commits and a guy like Deoundrei Davis will see his stock soar in the next rankings cycle."
The biggest catch may be Whitewright (Texas) High quarterback Tyrone Swoopes, a five-star player who is ranked as the top dual-threat quarterback in the country and the No. 11 recruit overall.
Because of his size (6-5, 220 pounds) and speed (4.59 in the 40), some have begun calling him the second coming of Vince Young. Farrell says his skills could make him "the rarest athlete in the country."
Ironically, what started it all - was what folks thought was the biggest disappointment.
It was a change from the past - but a change that was part of a plan.
"Brown asked the players to go home after the junior day and think about things," Perroni said. "Almost every single prospect that was offered has already committed. It is truly amazing what they are doing this year."
No. 61 overall recruit, wide receiver Jake Oliver committed three days later (on Wednesday), then the No. 69 recruit, defensive tackle A'Shawn Robinson, verballed on Thursday. Swoopes came on Friday. Then Kyle Hicks, a four-star athlete, announced on Saturday.
Those four combined with offensive lineman Jake Raulerson, the No. 51 overall player who committed at the beginning of February, gave Texas a great start.
Farrell, who has covered recruiting for more than a decade, knows what Texas is able to get on an annual basis. This year, even he's amazed.
"This start seems more impressive," he said. "They have the No. 11 player in the country on board and a potential home run at quarterback in Swoopes. And they have other potential five stars in Ricky Seals-Jones and Kent Perkins and they have seven of the top 100 players in the country already committed."
Perroni is more impressed by how few players other Texas schools have landed.
"The only in-state Rivals100 prospects they are likely to miss on are the two Aggie commits - Derrick Griffin and Isaiah Golden - and defensive tackle Justin Manning, whose brother played for Oklahoma," he said. "If the Longhorns decide to offer safety Kameron Miles (No. 86), then he would likely commit as well."
Who will come next is uncertain. But this much is clear, any thought that Texas had lost a step in recruiting was wrong.
"After Texas A&M's first couple of junior days, where the Aggies ended up with 13 commitments, including two Rivals100 prospects, and Texas grabbed zero pledges during its first junior day, it really looked like the Longhorns might struggle this year," Perroni said. "That was incredibly wrong."