Fact or Fiction: Texas is afraid of matchup with Texas A&M
National recruiting director Mike Farrell and national recruiting analyst Adam Gorney tackle three topics daily and determine whether they believe the statements or not.
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1. Virginia Tech made a mistake recruiting Texas.
Farrell’s take: FACT. Now that quarterback Dematrius Davis has decommitted, it is likely that receiver Latrell Neville will be next and the Hokies' class will go from having two four-stars to none in an instant. That’s the risk you take when you go far from home to recruit and you’re not Ohio State, Clemson, Alabama or another power. And especially in this climate where visits can’t be taken. The Hokies could be behind the eight ball in this class if they lose both and should focus their efforts more regionally.
Gorney’s take: FICTION. While I concede that Virginia Tech needs to focus mainly on regional recruiting, if the Hokies are going to return to national prominence, they need to win some recruiting battles from talent-rich areas in Texas, the Southeast and even out West. The loss of Davis hurts, but Neville is still committed and it’s not a guarantee he backs off his pledge. Make some in-roads in Texas and more prospects could be looking at Virginia Tech. A bunch of California prospects visited there this offseason and while many won’t end up in Blacksburg, one or two might and they could be game-changers. Winning regional recruiting is of utmost importance, but trying to steal elite players from outside your region also needs to be done.
2. Notre Dame’s recruiting in the South is improving.
Farrell’s take: FACT. DB Phillip Riley just jumped on board and the Irish have TE Cane Berrong from Georgia as well. The whole point of aligning with the ACC was to improve recruiting efforts in the southeast and as more prospects see success from players like Kyle Hamilton (Georgia) and Jerry Tillery (Louisiana) they will start to jump on board as well.
Gorney’s take: FACT. Notre Dame went to San Diego for its quarterback in four-star Tyler Buchner. The Irish went to Georgia for Berrong. The recent commitment of Riley is definitely big. And going to Texas for three-star DE David Abiara is also important to develop more recruiting contacts there. Whether it’s the Southeast or the Southwest, Notre Dame has realized going to those recruiting hot zones is crucial to not only get back to the playoff, but win. It was clear when Notre Dame played Clemson in the Final Four a couple years back the Irish were outmatched. Loading up with elite players from the South will get Notre Dame more competitive on the national level.
3. Texas is the one afraid of a matchup with the Aggies.
Farrell’s take: FICTION. The revival of the Kansas-Missouri game gave hope to many that we would see Texas and Texas A&M lock up again in the near future, but neither school's athletic director have much hope of that when asked this week. So who’s afraid of who? It’s not Texas as the Longhorns tried to schedule with the Aggies recently and were turned down. They will instead be taking on teams like Georgia, Florida, Ohio State and Michigan and are in the middle of a two-game series with LSU.
It’s the Aggies that want no part of this and they do have their reasons. Playing in the SEC West alone is tough enough and add in division cross over games and the path to the playoff is not easy. Yes, they’ve played Clemson recently, but a loss or even two losses to Texas would really hurt recruiting. The Longhorns need the series more and the Aggies want no part of it.
Gorney’s take: FICTION. Texas wants the game. They’ve tried to make it happen and since it won’t happen anytime soon they’re loading up on outstanding opponents in the non-conference. I’ve long argued that is not the smartest move to reach the College Football Playoff (an out-of-conference loss and any other defeat during the season basically eliminates you from the playoff discussion), but it definitely shows guts and intestinal fortitude.
It would be so fun to see Texas vs Texas A&M. But it hasn’t happened in nearly a decade and we’ve all lived, so we'll probably just have to move on. For the Aggies, the series just doesn’t make sense. When playing Murderer’s Row in the SEC, why schedule another difficult game? It would be fun to see, but for A&M it doesn’t seem suitable.