HD History Lesson: QB Recruiting

If you've heard it once, you've heard it a million times: Recruiting is an inexact science.

Look no further than the history of Texas' quarterback recruiting over the last 12 classes for proof of why that is.

The Longhorns have had a five-star that lived up to the hype and another that didn't.

They've been left high-and-dry by a four-star on National Signing Day, which actually couldn't have worked out any better thanks to the magic in the right-arm of an unheralded signal-caller from tiny Tuscola, Texas.

There have been flat misses in some classes, not even taking a quarterback in others, and the transfer of a handful more that has left many wondering what in the name of Bobby Layne was going on inside Moncrief-Neuhaus.

Here is a year-by-year breakdown of how Texas handled quarterback recruiting dating back to 2002.

Vince Young


Texas signed:

Five-star Vince Young (Houston/Madison)

Other QB Possibilities:

There weren’t any. Young was option 1A, 1B, and 1C for the Longhorns in this class, and with good reason. He was the top quarterback in the country and the No. 4 player overall, according to Scout.com. Texas thought it had a good in with him early on and struck gold when he committed to Mack Brown’s program on Jan 13, 2002.

How this played out:

Young finished his career by leading Texas to the 2005 national title with one of the greatest performances of all-time in a comeback victory over USC in the Rose Bowl.

He finished second in 2005 Heisman Trophy but No. 1 in the hearts of Longhorns fans from all over.

He earned consensus first-team All-America honors and was unanimous choice for Big 12 Offensive Player of the Year in 2005.

Young moved into UT's starting quarterback role in the seventh game of the 2003 season (at Iowa State) and was 30-2 as a starter.

Eric Foreman


Texas signed:

The Longhorns did not sign a QB.

Other QB Possibilities:

Eric Foreman (Corrigan, Texas/Corrigan-Camden) was recruited and signed with Texas as an athlete. He was a four-year starter at both quarterback and defensive back at Corrigan-Camden, leading his team to a 2002 Texas 2A Division I state championship.

The highest-rated QB from the state of Texas was Bill Foran (Dallas, Texas) Highland Park. He was rated No. 11 and signed with Purdue. Matt Flynn (No. 17 QB) signed with LSU.

Rhett Bomar


Texas signed:

Texas did not sign a QB.

Other QB Possibilities:

Other QBs from Texas included Rhett Bomar, the No. 1 QB who signed with Oklahoma and Kirby Freeman, the No. 5 QB who signed with Miami. Stephen McGee (Texas A&M) and Graham Harrell (Texas Tech) were also rated within the top 15 QBs in the country.

Colt McCoy


Texas signed:

Four-star Colt McCoy (Tuscola, Texas/Jim Ned)

The Longhorns wanted him because…

Because he was a tough, gritty player that showed the ability to make plays with both his arm and feet, which Texas had come accustomed to having from its QB.

As a senior McCoy passed for 3,800 yards and 48 touchdowns. He also rushed for 600 yards and 10 scores.

Other QB Possibilities:

The Longhorns were left stunned on National Signing Day when four-star Ryan Perrilloux (Reserve, La./East Saint John) shocked the country by switching his commitment from Texas to LSU.

Perrilloux broke the Louisiana High School record for total yards of offense, 9,024 yards passing and 3,680 rushing and lead East St. John's to the playoffs as a senior.

How this played out:

All you really need to know is that his No. 12 will never be worn again by a Longhorn. That was retired on Oct. 30, 2010 after McCoy completed a career that saw him win a then NCAA-best 45 times as a starting QB.

He’s UT’s only two-time All-American QB who completed 1,157-of-1,645 passes (70.3%) for 13,253 yards (UT record) and 112 TDs (UT record) against 45 INTs for a passer rating of 155.0 (UT record).

Jevan Snead


Texas signed:

Four-star Jevan Snead (Stephenville, Texas) and four-star Sherrod Harris (Arlington, Texas/Bowie)

The Longhorns wanted them because…

Because Snead was a do-it-all playmaker for Stephenville where he posted 7,955 total yards and 100 TDs in 25 games over his final two seasons.

Harris was one of the most dynamic playmakers in the country at Bowie who finished with a school-record 4,321 yards passing yards over three seasons.

Other QB Possibilities:

The Longhorns originally had a commitment from John Brantley (Ocala, Fl/Trinity Catholic), but he de-committed and ended up switching to Florida. That opened the door for Snead, who committed a little late for comfort (Nov. 13). Matthew Stafford was the real big name in the state that class but he was headed to UGA from the beginning.

How this played out:

Snead transferred to Ole Miss after his freshman season because he wanted the chance to start and lost the battle for starting QB honors with Colt McCoy. He threw for 371 yards and two touchdowns, with two INTs at UT.

Harris never got a chance to show what he could do. He appeared in just three games after being redshirted as a freshman.

G.J. Kinne


Texas signed:

Three-star G.J. Kinne (Gilmer, Texas)

The Longhorns wanted them because…

Kinne had all the tools that you’d want in a quarterback and put them to good use at Gilmer where he finished his prep career ranked third in Texas high school history in passing yards (11,695), and second in touchdown passes (130).

Other QB Possibilities:

There were big names in the state like Ryan Mallett (Arkansas) and Jarrett Lee (LSU), but they weren’t coming to UT. Texas was happy with Kinne.

How this played out:

Kinne transferred to Tulsa after a redshirt freshman season.

Andrew Luck


Texas signed:

The Longhorns didn’t take a quarterback

Other QB Possibilities:

A few of the names around the state that Texas could have pursued were Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III, Daron Thomas, and Tommy Dorman.

The Longhorns didn’t really make a push for Luck, who went on to become the No. 1 pick in the NFL Draft, and wanted RGIII more as an all-around athlete.

Garrett Gilbert


Texas signed:

Five-star Garrett Gilbert (Austin, Texas/Lake Travis)

The Longhorns wanted him because…

Because he was considered one of, if not the top quarterback in the country from right in Texas’ back yard.

Gilbert, who won the Gatorade and Parade National Player of the Year awards, finished his high school career as Texas’ all-time leader in passing yards (12,540), and ranked second in state history in passing TDs (138), completions (895) and attempts (1,368).

Other QB Possibilities:

None. Gilbert was the guy Texas wanted, and for good reason so it appeared.

How this played out:

Gilbert was never able to live up to the lofty expectations placed upon him and transferred to SMU after the 2011 season when he started the first two games before suffering a shoulder injury against BYU.

He threw 10 touchdowns and 17 interceptions in 2010 and was the subject of most of the fan base’s finger pointing after Texas finished the season at 5-7.

Case McCoy


Texas signed:

Four-star Connor Wood (Houston/Second Baptist) and three-star Case McCoy (Graham, Texas)

The Longhorns wanted them because…

Because Wood was simply one of the best quarterbacks in the nation who amassed 9,899 yards of total offense and accounted for 110 touchdowns as a four-year starter.

Because Texas was trying to strike lightning in a bottle twice after seeing what his brother, Colt McCoy, was able to do.

To Case’s credit he did put up monster numbers at Graham (10,711 passing yards and 111 touchdowns).

Other QB Possibilities:

Texas didn’t pursue any with substance after Wood committed to the Longhorns on Feb. 17 of his junior season. He was the guy the staff wanted.

How this played out:

Wood transferred to Colorado the first week of school during his redshirt freshman season after he found out he was tied for third on the team’s depth chart with David Ash and behind Case McCoy with Gilbert as the starter.

McCoy ended his career ranked 10th in school history in career passing yards (3,689) and 10th in touchdown passes (24), but was the subject of much frustration during his senior season when he threw 11 touchdowns and 13 interceptions.

McCoy perhaps is most famously known for leading Texas on a game-winning drive at Texas A&M his sophomore season in which his 25-yard scramble set up a 40-yard Justin Tucker game-winning field goal.

He also led Texas to an upset win over Oklahoma last season.

David Ash


Texas signed:

Three-star David Ash (Belton, Texas)

The Longhorns wanted him because…

Because he really impressed Greg Davis at a Texas camp the summer before his junior season and had an under-valued set of skills that produced 7,944 yards and 80 touchdowns while rushing for 815 yards and 22 scores during his career.

Other QB Possibilities:

The Longhorns pursued J.W. Walsh (Denton, Texas/Guyer) but he committed to Oklahoma State before the first Texas junior day. They also gave current Virginia Tech starting QB Michael Brewer (Austin, Texas/Lake Travis) the option to grayshirt. He signed with Texas Tech.

There was also the whole Johnny Manziel story, which has taken on a life of its own.

How this played out:

Ash is currently out indefinitely after experiencing dizziness and headaches after Texas’ season opener. He earned a medical redshirt after missing 10 games in 2013 with concussion-like symptoms.

When he’s been able to stay on the field he’s done some good things for Texas. He has a 15-7 record as a starter with wins in 13 of his last 17 games, ranks eighth on the UT career passing yards list (4,728) and 10th in total offense (5,107).

Connor Brewer


Texas signed:

Four-star Connor Brewer (Scottsdale, Ariz./Chaparral) and four-star safety Jalen Overstreet (Tatum, Texas)

The Longhorns wanted them because…

Because Brewer exhibited the type of skillset and winning mentality that then-offensive coordinator Bryan Harsin wanted.

He is the only quarterback in Arizona history to win three state championships as the starting quarterback.

The Longhorns wanted to add some depth to the position after Connor Wood transferred prior to the 2011 season and left Texas with only two scholarship QBs (Ash and McCoy). Thing was they decided late in the process to go after a second quarter and were fortunate to get Overstreet, who committed on Oct. 31, 2011.

He was coming off a junior season in which he threw for 1,900 yards and 28 touchdowns and rushed for 700 yards and 16 touchdowns.

Other QB Possibilities:

Texas inquired about Trevor Knight (starting at OU) and Tommy Armstrong (starting at Nebraska) but things never materialized. The idea of joining a class with Brewer already on board didn’t excite either player.

The Longhorns also talked with Bo Wallace (Ole Miss) a bit but never offered.

How this played out:

Brewer redshirted as a freshman and was competing with Case McCoy and Tyrone Swoopes as the No. 2 QB before announcing his intentions to transfer on July 10.

Overstreet was dismissed by Charlie Strong for an undisclosed violation of team rules and has since transferred to Sam Houston State.

He switched to running back as a redshirt freshman at Texas and rushed for 102 yards and two scores in 2013.

Tyrone Swoopes


Texas signed:

Four-star Tyrone Swoopes (Whitewright, Texas)

The Longhorns wanted him because…

Because of his physical tools he possessed and the similarities he had to Vince Young and also to Cam Newton, who was the crème de la crème of the college football universe in 2010 when he led Auburn to the national championship. Swoopes was on some pretty terrible teams at Whitewright and only won one game as a senior. But it wasn’t for a lack of effort. He rushed for 5,341 yards and 73 touchdowns while passing for 3,850 yards and 41 TDs during his career.

Other QB Possibilities:

There were other options at quarterback in this class, including Cody Thomas (Oklahoma) and J.T Barrett (Ohio State).

But sources with knowledge of how this decision went down have told HD in the past that Mack Brown felt obligated to go with Swoopes because he couldn’t risk having someone with that size and physical tools make a similar impact as Newton.

There was even discussion that the coaching staff had gotten Barrett on board with being in the same class as Swoopes, but Brown decided to roll with Swoopes alone.

The Longhorns also inquired about Nick Marshall (Auburn) and Jake Waters (Kansas State).

How this played out:

It’s yet to be determined as Swoopes is only just now really making an impact on this roster. He started his first game of his UT career on Saturday and performed well considering the circumstances (a week to prepare as the starter; depleted offensive line) and a simplified offensive game plan that didn’t allow him to show off his athleticism.

Swoopes has the support of his teammates and the coaching staff, and we should see him at least get the opportunity to do more against UCLA this weekend.

Jerrod Heard


Texas signed:

Five-star Jerrod Heard (Denton, Texas/Guyer)

The Longhorns wanted him because…

Because he was one of, if not the best quarterback in the country in his class who proved he could dominate at the highest level possible in high school.

Heard led Guyer to back-to-back 4A DI State Championships in 2012 and 2013.

He threw for 2,148 yards and 22 TDs with only six interceptions, while rushing for 2,172 yards and 28 TDs as a senior. Heard threw and rushed for over 2,000 yards a piece as a junior too.

Other QB Possibilities:

Texas kept tabs on a few others but never felt it necessary to pursue them at greater length after Heard committed on Aug. 14, 2012.

How this played out:

We’re only two games into Heard’s tenure at Texas but he’s already the No. 2 quarterback.

OK, OK, so he’s gotten to that point by default after David Ash went down with concussion-like symptoms after the season opener. But the second-ranked quarterback out of 2014 is improving by the day.

UT QB coach said a few weeks back that the offense seemed like Chinese to the young stud, but has since said he’s grasping things a whole lot easier now.

If Texas had its way it would probably have liked to have redshirted him this season, but that seems like a stretch now given his No. 2 status and the yet-to-be-determined play of starter Tyrone Swoopes.

Horns Digest Top Stories