Brown on Early Recruiting

Every year, the Texas football coaching staff is pegged among the elite recruiting staffs in the country, boasting a nearly-full class by the end of the spring.

But, as Texas coach Mack Brown said Wednesday, that isn't necessarily how the Longhorns would like it.

"It is tough," Brown said. "It's a tough thing because it's what's happening now."

But loading up on early commitments is hardly a new thing. Brown credited Penn State coach Joe Paterno, former Ohio State coach John Cooper and former Notre Dame coach Lou Holtz with starting the trend 15 to 20 years ago. Brown said from that point "it seems like it just keeps speeding up."

"I don't like it. I would like to go back to what we did when we first got here," Brown said.

Brown said Texas used to have the luxury of evaluating players through their junior year, watching those players in spring practice and attempting to get those players into the Longhorn summer camp prior to the player's senior year.

"At the end of that, you'd have a pretty good feel of who you're offering," Brown said. "Now most people are forcing you to offer them in February before they even start spring practice of their junior year.

"It's one of the biggest changes in recruiting because it's really speeded up over the last three or four years," Brown said.

And Brown said recruiting was only getting faster.

"I think now people are offering sophomores and we don't do that, but we're seeing sophomores getting offered," Brown said. "It's amazing to me. We're trying to hang on just by offering them in the spring of their junior year."

Brown said that occasionally caused problems in that sophomores came to Texas Junior Days expecting to get an offer, and when they don't get one within 10-14 days, the player thinks that they aren't high on Texas's priority list.

On the flip side, Brown also said that Texas's early recruitment at times cost the Longhorns a player who was a late bloomer or who emerged as a senior.

"Sometimes we're going to miss on a guy that pops up in his senior year that we didn't see, (maybe) because maybe he didn't get the ball as much," Brown said.

Brown cited the example of Florida Atlantic tight end Rob Housler, who played in an option offense at Judson (TX) High School. But he also conceded that part of the problem was simply a numbers issue. He said that the fact that 375 players might sign from the state in a year, and that only 20 would wind up as Longhorns made things "tough."

"Because you're going to play against a whole bunch of them, and they're all mad at you," Brown said.

Regardless of who the Longhorns take, he said they would always miss on a certain number of players just because their numbers didn't fit.

But Brown said he didn't expect recruiting to slow down.

"It's a much more difficult thing than in the past," Brown said. "But I think that it's hard to stop when the train gets rolling."

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