Out-of-state programs that have done best job recruiting Texas
If there is a battle for the state of Texas’ top prospects, it’s usually one being waged by the in-state programs and not outsiders coming in to raid the state.
Texas and Texas A&M are locked in a heated competition when evaluating the last four recruiting classes of committed or signed prospects in the 2021, 2020, 2019 and 2018 classes of top-20 players from each group.
The Longhorns lead the way with 22 signees or commitments among top 20 players over that four-year stretch. They landed five of the top six recruits in the 2018 class and already have three pledges in the top 10 of the 2021 class: ATH Billy Bowman, DE Ja’Tavion Sanders and QB Jalen Milroe.
The Aggies are hanging tough, though, with 15 of their own, including the state’s second-best player in five-star receiver Demond Demas in the 2020 recruiting class and Texas’ top player in 2019 in five-star defensive end DeMarvin Leal.
TCU has pulled three prospects, but none bigger - maybe none on this list, when all is said and done - than when five-star RB Zachary Evans picked the Horned Frogs in recent days, as he was a top 2020 prospect.
The in-state schools have largely dominated when it comes to top 20 prospects in Texas, but others have made a dent. Below is a look.
CLASS OF 2022: Top 100
Top 20 Texas signees/commitment: 7
Coming off a national championship, LSU has targeted some top players in the state of Texas, and the Tigers have come up winners early on. Four-star quarterback Garrett Nussmeier and four-star receiver JoJo Earle have already committed, and LSU is heavily recruiting many other players in the state.
It’s been that way for the last few years as LSU has also landed LB Josh White, CB Dwight McGlothern, RB Kevontre Bradford, LB Marcel Brooks and DE Jarell Cherry in the last few recruiting classes. Other than Texas and Texas A&M, no program is getting more elite players from Texas than LSU.
Farrell’s take: You’d expect LSU to be on top here, based on its proximity to the state and the ability of Ed Orgeron to recruit. The state has become an important supplement to their home state of Louisiana, and they Tigers have won some key battles. In 2021 they’ve done well on the offensive side of the ball, but they’ve been known more for the defensive standouts they’ve landed from Texas, players like K’Lavon Chaisson and Jamal Adams, among others.
Top 20 Texas signees/commitment: 4
Drew Sanders flipped from Oklahoma to Alabama. After many, many months of recruiting, Jase McClellan also backed off his pledge from the Sooners in favor of the Crimson Tide. A third player Alabama has landed from the state of Texas over the last four classes, four-star DB Marcus Banks, backed off his pledge to LSU and picked Alabama. Only former five-star receiver Jaylen Waddle was not committed elsewhere before he picked the Crimson Tide, even though Texas A&M and many others were pursuing him.
After an incredible run over the last decade, Alabama has not won a team recruiting title for three-straight years, as Georgia has claimed all three of those. Having some success with elite prospects in Texas could get the Crimson Tide back to the winner’s circle in coming years.
Farrell’s take: Expected someone else, huh? Me too. I fully expected Oklahoma to be at least No. 2 here, but is it ever a surprise what Alabama does? And the Tide have done it by flipping players, for the most part. It used to be a rarity when Alabama landed a player like A’Shawn Robinson, but it has now become almost a yearly deal for Alabama to steal an elite player from the state.
T3. OHIO STATE
Top 20 Texas signees/commitments: 3
Ohio State has gone to Texas for elite receivers in the last few recruiting classes and it’s already paying off. In his freshman season, former four-star receiver Garrett Wilson caught 30 passes for 432 yards and five touchdowns. He should be one of Ohio State’s top targets heading into this year.
The Buckeyes are hoping former five-star receiver Jaxon Smith-Njigba, who put up huge numbers in high school, could be an early contributor and Ohio State has already landed a pledge from new five-star offensive lineman Donovan Jackson, who picked the Buckeyes over Texas, Texas A&M, Georgia and Stanford. Ohio State currently has the nation’s No. 1 class by a significant margin.
Farrell’s take: This started with Urban Meyer as he landed players like Jeff Okudah, Baron Browning, JT Barrett, JK Dobbins and more, and it continues with Ryan Day now. Add in Tunmise Adeleye if you want from this year, and the hits keep on coming. Recruiting like this is why the Buckeyes are consistently in the playoff hunt.
Top 20 Texas signees/commitments: 3
Oklahoma has always done well recruiting the state of Texas, and the Sooners could have gotten two future standouts at receiver in five-stars Theo Wease and Trejan Bridges, but there will always be questions about what might have been. Sanders and McClellan were two tough losses to Alabama.
Early on, Oklahoma was considered a front-runner for five-star receiver Demond Demas, five-star running back Zachary Evans was interested in Oklahoma and others were in the mix as well for the Sooners. It wasn’t to be. Oklahoma is hardly struggling for playmakers, but some of those additions would have been nice. Four-star OL Darrell Simpson was the third player from the state of Texas during this stretch to pick the Sooners.
Farrell’s take: This is a low number to me, and it won’t be long before it increases. But the fact that the Sooners continue to dominate the Big 12 and this number remains low speaks to their ability to recruit nationally. And it doesn’t hurt that they get transfers from the state like Baker Mayfield, Kyler Murray and Jalen Hurts.