KOD: Strong Raising Stakes On Pot of 5-Stars

On the surface, the casual observer might think Texas football had a bad weekend.

On the surface, the casual observer might think Texas football had a bad weekend.

Aledo 4-star WR Ryan Newsome, after one of the most uncomfortable pauses you'll ever see in a commitment announcement,  picked UCLA, not the Longhorns.

Then, 4-star QB Zach Gentry, committed to Texas since May, went to Ann Arbor and wrapped himself in maize and blue.

Texas didn’t come away with any commitments from a weekend that included official visits from QB Kai Locksley, CB Deandre Baker, 5-star RB Soso Jamabo and 5-star DT Daylon Mack.

And Texas target CB Kris Boyd gave the impression on his Twitter account – during an official visit to College Station over the weekend - that he was playing the hat game already ... with an A&M hat.

For Charlie Strong, already playing the highest-stakes recruiting poker this late in the game that we've seen at Texas in more than a decade, bluff cards appeared to be disappearing left and right.

So how do you explain Strong still having a chance to pull off a pot full of 5-stars with less than 9 days to go until signing day?

Because, in my opinion, that's what's still on the table for Strong and his staff - unthinkable as that may be for a fan base beaten into a mindset of low expectations after a series of recruiting defeats off the field that have resulted in some brutal beatings on the field.

But there is still A CHANCE for Texas to pull off the unthinkable, in my opinion.

How else do you explain Mack taking a visit to Texas with his parents, a little more than a week after eliminating the idea of a Texas visit? Same for 5-star WR DaMarkus Lodge, who visited Texas last Wednesday after showing no interest since Strong took over as coach?

 

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Why did they visit?

Because 5-star QB Kyler Murray is seriously considering Texas – that’s why.

Until I hear Murray say – with his own mouth or keyboard on social media - that he is 100 percent committed to Texas A&M and will sign with the Aggies on Feb. 4, I will continue to believe Murray is considering Texas.

Texas DT commit Du’Vonta Lampkin, while on his official visit to Texas with Mack, tweeted on Saturday: “Honestly, you Texas fans might crap ya’ll selfs Feb 4th

Lampkin tweeted on Sunday, “I know something everyone else doesn’t. Just sit back and let the days go by #LetsRide.”

Texas commit DE Charles Omenihu, who was also on his official visit to Texas last weekend, told Scout's Greg Powers he expects a National Signing Day surprise and refused to elaborate.

Even Johnny Manziel seemed concerned, sending a tweet @TheKylerMurray that said simply: "Gig 'Em."

Murray never responded. He simply retweeted it.

And, yes, it’s pathetic that “Twitter diving” is what covering recruiting has come to. Literally rummaging around in someone’s Twitter feed or Twitter “Follows” list.

When Daylon Mack started following Vance Bedford on Twitter, word spread across social media like loose reputations through a high school.

The same was said when Zach Gentry started following a bunch of Michigan coaches on Twitter.

So did you see Kyler Murray is now following Charlie Strong, Shawn Watson, Chris Rumph, UT offensive quality control coach Riley Dodge and Texas Football?

Of course, he’s also following Oregon OC Scott Frost and Auburn OC Rhett Lashlee, too, in addition to most of the A&M coaching staff.

 

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A million things could change in the next 9 days.

It’s recruiting.

Texas fans have had their hopes dashed by a QB recruit before.

Simply utter the name Ryan Perrilloux and the 2005 National Signing Day surprise, and Texas fans want to kick something.

The signing of Colt McCoy in that same class has made it where Texas fans got the last laugh on Lou Lou – the name Mack Brown’s wife, Sally, gave a horse in honor of Perrilloux while Texas was recruiting him and envisioning him as VY's heir apparent.

(Lou Lou ended up helping LSU win a national title in 2007. Of course, he also got kicked out of LSU, which is really hard to do after helping win a ring, let's be honest.)

Another recruiting doozy from Texas’ perspective was Martellus Bennett.

Depending on who you talked to, Bennett’s dad told Mack Brown seconds before Martellus announced his commitment on Fox Sports Southwest that it was going to be Texas. Meanwhile, Perrilloux was apparently texting Bennett, saying, “LSU … LSU … LSU … ."

And then Bennett went on TV seconds later and announced he was going to Texas A&M to play with his brother, Michael (now killing it for the Seahawks as a DT).

It's !@#$%&! recruiting.

 

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Everything can change and does.

As of right now, however, I continue to believe Kyler Murray is still seriously considering Texas. Again, I’m not making some bold call right now that he picks Texas on Feb. 4. I said CONSIDERING. 

And until I hear Murray say otherwise, I’ll continue to believe Texas is in the mix.

Because Texas is in the mix for Murray, it appears the Longhorns are also in the mix for Mack and possibly even Lodge (although Lodge has more of a reputation as a lone wolf and could very easily go to Ole Miss, or elsewhere, no matter what).

The thought of adding one, two, three or even four 5-star players (Murray, Mack, Jamabo and Lodge) in the final days leading up to Feb. 4 is ridiculous, unthinkable and unimaginable for most Longhorns’ fans. That kind of crazy just doesn't happen to Texas these days.

If anything, it's gone the other way.

In 2013, Texas suffered five de-commitments - WR Ricky Seals-Jones (A&M), DE Daeshon Hall (A&M), RB Kyle Hicks (TCU), DT A'Shawn Robinson (Alabama) and TE Durham Smythe (Notre Dame) - leaving UT as the only major program without a single D-lineman in its entire class.

There were more defections last year, including 4-star LB Otaro Alaka and DT Zaycoven Henderson (both to A&M). 

Most wearing burnt orange are so beaten down, you can’t even let yourselves believe the news that Texas’ offense is going to spread things out, go up-tempo and feature more of the QB run game!

And I get it.

When you’ve been served mostly acid reflux since the 2009 national championship game, especially at the QB position, it’s totally understandable that fans don’t want to let themselves believe they can go runner-runner and win a pot full of 5-stars on the river.

Even when Texas pulled off a couple signing day surprises in 2012, flipping DE Shiro Davis from LSU and RB/WR Daje Johnson from TCU, those players have yet to live up to their potential going into their senior seasons.

 

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In my business, reporting on a site with a message board, you so much as dare to THINK OUT LOUD there’s even A CHANCE Texas could pull off that runner-runner for a pot full of 5-stars on the river ... and then it doesn’t happen?

Oh, run, duck, take cover, or buy Kevlar khakis, because it’s kill-the-messenger time! (Trust me, I’ve been blamed for everything short of Austin traffic. )

I will post an interview tomorrow with a football mind I trust who said if Texas ended up with Kai Locksley and Soso Jamabo in addition to Texas’ current list of committed recruits “it would be a monster class.” And that person’s right! That class would cause married Longhorns to have sex again!

But if Texas fans get their hopes up for the pot full of 5-stars and it doesn’t happen, they will need to break something, burn someone, or both. That's just the fried mindset of UT faithful right now.

(So, please be sure to burn down one of the other sites you subscribe to. Not HD, where we want you to picture yourself in a lounge chair next to a beach with a hottie drinking an umbrella drink – basically where you come to get away from the kids throwing pots and pans at each other down the hall.)

 

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Monday was a start.

WR John Burt recommitted to Texas and immediately started recruiting his friend  Locksley to Austin via Twitter.

A Longhorns’ recruit commitment countdown “1 down 7 more to go” was started after Burt’s recommit by Lampkin - the one who warned you to wear Depends on Nov. 4. (If you aren’t following this tweet machine - @DeeChilllin - don't forget the 3rd L - where the hell have you been? Start digging through that Twitter feed!)

Omenihu – the one who promises a signing day surprise (presumably a good one, as opposed to learning your date has Valtrex in her purse) – quickly repeated Lampkin’s countdown on Twitter … as if to say they know who the remaining commits will be.

Maybe they do?!

Or maybe they don’t!?

That’s one reason Mack Brown never liked being in the 11th-hour of a high-profile recruiting battle involving well-heeled, national powers. Too much can turn left or right instead of staying on track. Brown believed recruiting classes - like white pants - needed to be put away by Labor Day.

If you’re gobbling Tums over the possibility of raising your hopes for 1 or 2 or maybe even the whole pot full of 5-stars and prefer to expect someone else to take the pot, it’s totally understandable.

But that’s not how Charlie Strong and his staff are approaching it.

They are crisscrossing the country this week trying to close commits during in-home visits. They're looking kids straight in the eye and telling them if they want to be a part of something special, in a recruiting class full of warriors, a recruiting class that could change everything and ultimately destroy things in its path, then get on board now.

Strong knows the future success of his program has to be found in this recruiting class (just like the first, full recruiting class he had at Louisville that included QB Teddy Bridgewater, S Calvin Pryor, WR DaVante Parker, etc).

And Strong and Co. are taking a you-can-sleep-when-you-die approach to this class. 

Few thought Strong could reel in 5-star OLB Malik Jefferson, the No. 1 prospect in Texas, and 4-star WR/LB DeAndre McNeal (except for our man Higs).

Few thought Strong could reel in 4-star LB Anthony Wheeler and some of the best players in Florida or get Murray, Lodge and Mack to visit (again, except for Higs).

There’s a trend developing here.

You can choose to ignore it for now. 

Or you can do what I did …

... Go dig around in a recruit's Twitter feed and “Follows” list!!!!

The countdown clock on the front page of HornsDigest.com says 8 days, 7 hours, 27 minutes ... until you must decide if you will slip on a pair of Depends. (Thanks to @DeeChilllin - don't forget the 3rd L - you've been warned!!!)

 

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