Three-Point Stance: TCU, five-star revisions, mess at Texas A&M
Rivals national recruiting director Adam Gorney gives a shoutout to TCU, looks at a group of 2022 prospects who should’ve been five-stars in hindsight and revisits the abundance of issues at Texas A&M in today’s Three-Point Stance:
STING FACTOR: Colton Vasek's flip from Oklahoma to Texas
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SHOUTOUT TO TCU
Despite being ranked fourth and being undefeated, TCU entered Saturday’s game against Texas as 7.5-point underdogs. The Horned Frogs laughed and took it to the Longhorns on their home field all night.
Hooked 'Em. TCU 17, Texas 10.
Texas five-star quarterback Quinn Ewers went 17 of 39 for 171 yards and an interception and was largely not impactful. Five-star running back Bijan Robinson had one of his worst games at Texas with just 30 yards on 12 carries. Elite four-star receiver Xavier Worthy had drops. Only three Texas players caught a ball in the game. The Longhorns' lone touchdown was a defensive one late in the fourth.
No. 1 tight end Duce Robinson was there to see it. Four-star receiver Deandre Moore, whose Louisville commitment is hanging on by a thread, was in town. Five-star QB Arch Manning was there. So were many others. It was not a dominant performance from these Longhorns but probably won’t be the end-all, be-all of any recruitment.
All the credit goes to TCU - the best team in Texas by a country mile. If the stars at night are big and bright, well, the Horned Frogs don’t have many highly-rated ones. Clearly, there were significant misses in those recruiting classes.
Running back Kendre Miller popped off again for 143 yards and a touchdown on 21 carries. He was a two-star. Former Texas four-star receiver commit Quentin Johnston – we knew he was elite and was inside the Rivals100 – was banged up and still had three catches for 66 yards and a score. Four-star QB Max Duggan, who TCU picked out of Council Bluffs (Iowa) Lewis Central, is just a pure winner.
On defense, Johnny Hodges led with 11 tackles. He was unranked, went to Navy and transferred to TCU. Dylan Horton had a sack; he was a two-star who played at New Mexico first. Four-star Tymon Mitchell transferred from Georgia. DB Tre’Vius Hodges-Tomlinson had a pick – another two-star recruiting miss.
As for the Big 12, wow, a lot of interesting storylines. Matt Campbell has been mentioned for a lot of big-time jobs recently but his Iowa State team is 4-6 and has only won one conference game. West Virginia coach Neal Brown’s hot seat cooled a little after beating Oklahoma this weekend. As for the Sooners, fans are cursing first-year coach Brent Venables up and down for being 5-5 (although Bob Stoops had three five-loss seasons in Norman, including his first).
After starting 5-0, Kansas has lost four of five. Oklahoma State’s big-time hopes fizzled. And Texas is 6-4 as Steve Sarkisian has coached 22 games in Austin – and has won only half.
SHOULDA BEEN FIVE-STARS
Every year in rankings recruits, there are regrets. As the regular season winds down these are the players I wish we would’ve ranked as five-stars with hindsight being 20/20:
Harold Perkins: The former Cypress (Texas) Cypress Park standout ended up as the first four-star outside five-star status and that kills me especially after seeing him completely dominate in LSU’s defense in its win over Arkansas. What’s so unfortunate is that he played running back at the Under Armour Game and it didn’t really showcase his skills. A real quick commitment to Texas A&M might have also scared us a little.
Nicholas Singleton: Singleton looks like the next superstar running back at Penn State as he’s totaled 801 yards and 10 touchdowns so far this season and could have so much more if he didn’t share carries with Kayton Allen, who actually has one more touch than Singleton so far. He finished behind only Georgia freak show Branson Robinson in the RB position rankings but an argument could now be made for him to be No. 1 in the class.
Will Campbell: LSU coach Brian Kelly has gushed about Campbell’s ability already. He’s starting in the SEC and should have been higher than fourth in the offensive tackle rankings. Campbell was a no-nonsense country boy from Monroe (La.) Neville who kicked butt and took names at every event including the Rivals Camp Series in Dallas. He wasn’t flashy or looked super athletic so we sided with some others, but he looks like a potential first-rounder.
Malaki Starks: Georgia’s defense is absolutely phenomenal – and it’s Starks who leads the Bulldogs in tackles and pass breakups. He’s tied for the team-high in interceptions. Jackson State’s Travis Hunter and Ohio State’s Sonny Styles were ranked ahead of Starks, who was sort of muted when we saw him at Jefferson, Ga., and played offense as well, but looking back he sure looks like an easy five-star call now.
Kelvin Banks: This ranking has been discussed, debated, re-hashed, discussed again and mulled over more than I want to count. Yes, I regret not having Banks as a five-star especially after seeing him start at left tackle for Texas and be a physical specimen out there for the Longhorns. It’s a lesson learned that one week of sub-par performances at an all-star game shouldn't make a decision, but Banks did struggle at the Under Armour Game.
Antonio Williams: There are a lot of highly-rated receivers at Clemson but it’s Williams, who leads the team with 33 catches for 390 yards and two touchdowns so far this season. After seeing Williams at the Under Armour Game we catapulted him up the rankings to No. 75 overall but he was the No. 13 receiver and that was too low. It’s just that the Irmo (S.C.) Dutch Fork stayed hidden on the national scene until the UA game so we saw other receivers more.
David Bailey: Stanford is a really bad football team but the former Santa Ana (Calif.) Mater Dei four-star is a real bright spot. An outside linebacker/edge rusher, Bailey is one of the top tacklers for the Cardinal, leads them in tackles for loss and has also made an impact with two forced fumbles. Playing at arguably the best high school program in the country, Bailey is well-schooled and plays with a real chip on his shoulder – and a productive one for a Stanford team that’s really struggling.
THE MESS AT TEXAS A&M
Auburn is not a good football team. The Tigers are so bad they fired their coach late in his second season and a national search has been launched.
But they’re good enough to beat Texas A&M, which now has the worst record in the SEC and the same record as Indiana, Nebraska, Boston College, Virginia and Stanford. The Aggies are better than Virginia Tech and Colorado, at least.
I kid, but it’s really no laughing matter.
Texas A&M has lost six in a row and hasn’t won since Sept. 24 when Arkansas doinked a field goal off the upright. The team hasn’t scored more than 31 points all season and that was in the season opener against cupcake Sam Houston State.
Mercer scored more points than Texas A&M did against Auburn. So did San Jose State. Forget the SEC teams that smoked them. Coach Jimbo Fisher said afterward that they couldn’t get quarterback Conner Weigman (who has superstar potential, mind you) situated, couldn’t get the running game going, couldn’t get in rhythm.
“That’s on me,” Fisher said.
If you don’t laugh, you’d cry. But college careers and million-dollar NFL futures are at stake. Fisher is getting his $100 million win or lose. But these players who have a wasted season of disservice? Leading receiver Evan Stewart had three catches for nine yards against Auburn. Moose Muhammad didn’t play and took to social media to say it was because of arm sleeves.
There’s all kinds of crazy stories coming out of A&M. Who knows what’s true but it’s certainly not good. Oh yeah, and five-star LB Anthony Hill decommitted this week. Five-star DL commit David Hicks Jr. up and went to Oregon this weekend. Who could possibly be excited about where the Aggies are going?
Asked if part of the calculation will be to bring in someone to run the offense next season, Fisher was noncommittal, seemed like it probably wouldn’t help.
“The offense we run is similar schemes across the board,” Fisher said. “We just have to call it better, coach it better and do it better, and if we bring somebody in, whatever happens, it doesn’t matter, verticals are verticals, smashes are smashes. We have to get it coached better and do a better job of it so we’ll evaluate everything.”
With the loss at Auburn, Texas A&M is guaranteed its first losing season since 2009. For all his faults and miscues, Kevin Sumlin never had a losing season in College Station.
Evaluate everything. Yeah, good idea.