Take Two: Texas schools on the rise, Arizona's recruiting success
Take Two is back this week tackling a handful of issues in the college football landscape.
Rivals.com National Recruiting Analyst Adam Gorney lays out the situation and then receives takes from Rivals.com National Recruiting Director Mike Farrell and a local expert from the Rivals.com network of team sites.
Storyline: Baylor’s meltdown has meant a recruiting bonanza for Texas, as the Longhorns have already landed four former Baylor signees. The problems in Waco should only mean more recruiting firepower for the Longhorns.
Former Baylor pledges Devin Duvernay and Donovan Duvernay along with Patrick Hudson and J.P. Urquidez are now with Texas, and that’s huge for coach Charlie Strong’s club as he looks to rebuild one of the nation’s proudest programs.
The Longhorns need speed and playmakers on offense and they just got a few. They’ll also probably use Hudson’s abilities early on, too.
And if Baylor fails to keep landing top speed players and athletes from the state of Texas then some of them could wind up with Strong and his coaching staff.
Much-needed talent is heading to Austin.
First take: “Texas has added four players, but the most likely early contributors for the Longhorns are certainly wide receiver Devin Duvernay and offensive lineman Patrick Hudson. In the Longhorns’ new up-tempo offense they’ll need as many playmakers as they can get, and Duvernay should have a chance to play quite a bit as a freshman due to his speed and natural athleticism. With Hudson, he should have a chance to help fill a void Texas has at left guard. He’ll likely contribute at some level as a true freshman and the idea of him starting at some point isn’t too far-fetched.
“Looking forward, the ongoing issues with the Baylor program can only help Texas and the other regional schools. The Bears, mostly due to their play on the field and the presence of Art Briles, had climbed to a level where they were able to successfully recruit head-to-head with Texas and the other schools in the state. I expect that will not be the case moving forward, at least for a while, and the other programs should benefit.” – Jason Suchomel, Orangebloods.com
Second take: “Baylor losing all these kids, they’re going to be very thin roster-wise after the next year or so and Texas is bolstering areas of need along the offensive line and definitely with the speed at receiver. It’s definitely a fortunate situation for Texas to have one of its rivals in the Big 12 lose all these kids. Texas is ready in the next couple years to make a run to the top of the Big 12.” - Farrell
AGGIES ON THE RISE
Storyline: In early May, Texas A&M assistant coach Aaron Moorehead went on a Twitter rant after four-star quarterback Tate Martell decommitted from the Aggies.
It was an unfortunate scene. It looked like Texas A&M’s class would be in trouble, especially after four-star receiver Mannie Netherly also backed off his pledge. He has since committed to LSU.
Surprisingly, the opposite has been true and Texas A&M has been on a recruiting tear for nearly two months, landing four four-stars during that time including former Baylor QB commit Kellen Mond this week.
The Aggies find themselves with the eighth-best class in the country, fourth in the SEC.
Things could be looking up in College Station.
First take: “A&M has been successful on the recruiting front over the past couple of months because everyone has been involved, from the head coach down. If you look at the players the Aggies have landed over the past couple of months, virtually every assistant, including the coordinators, have played a role. John Chavis played a key role in landing four-star LB Santino Marchiol, and Noel Mazzone recruited both Kellen Mond and Connor Blumrick personally. Kevin Sumlin himself had a big part in Mond's commitment, starting from his visit to A&M in early June. Coaches who had a rough go in 2016, like Clarence McKinney and Terry Joseph, have had a whole lot more success with the 2017 class. It seems like everyone is a lot more involved this time around, and that's what they need to succeed in the SEC.” – Mark Passwaters, AggieYell.com
Second take: “The quarterback situation is most important. It’s been an up-and-down deal. They lost Kyler Murray, they lost Kyle Allen and they had the snafu with Martell and Netherly earlier this spring. But they've bounced back. They got the linebacker commitment from Marchiol, which was a position of need. Now they have a quarterback who could vie for the starting job as a freshman, so that one is huge.” - Farrell
ARIZONA'S RECRUITING STATEMENT
Storyline: Coach Rich Rodriguez continues to build something in the desert.
Arizona has the seventh-best recruiting class in the country, the Wildcats are No. 1 in the Pac-12 and there is a good chance Rodriguez’s club could finish with some big-time names to round out the group.
Leading the way are three four-star prospects in quarterback Braxton Burmeister and athletes Nathan Tilford and Greg Johnson. The Wildcats were on a tear in June with 10 commitments and they have seven more pledges than any other team in the conference.
Arizona’s average star ranking is not the best in the Pac-12, so as other classes load up the Wildcats could slip down the rankings, but things are looking good. That coaching staff deserves a lot of credit for landing top prospects and players who fit the system.
First take: "The new staff members have helped, but in my opinion it has been a change in mentality and focus from the top down. Not that recruiting hasn't been important for Arizona so far in Rich Rodriguez's tenure at the school, but now it is at the forefront of everything the program is doing. Throw into that the work that Arizona's staff has been putting into recruits like Johnson, Tilford and Burmeister, and you have the result you are seeing right now. Receivers coach Tony Dews has been making sure Arizona is in a good position with the recruits at Augustus Hawkins for years. Football staffer Miguel Reveles has a long-standing relationship with Tilford. And quarterbacks coach Rod Smith was one of the first to offer Burmeister. A new sense of aggressiveness and effort by the staff is making the difference from those prospects just having interest and maybe visiting to now visiting and committing.
“Adding a coach like Donté Williams has no doubt helped the Wildcats to close on recruits, but it is the overall shift in mentality as a program that has brought the change for the program. It started with Rich Rodriguez knowing things needed to be different after last season and it has trickled down to the entire program as a whole." – Matt Moreno, GoAZCats.com
Second take: “Rich Rodriguez recruits more for fit than he does for stars. That Arizona is on the top of the Pac-12 indicates he’s getting kids that were coveted by other places and kids who clearly fit his system, because he wouldn’t take them otherwise. I don’t see them staying on top, but it’s a good start for them and there are very few coaches in the country who recruit better to his team offensively and defensively than Rodriguez.” - Farrell