According to Scout.com's rankings, the Longhorns lurk conspicuously behind two of its most marked opponents, Ohio State, for its recency, and Oklahoma, for its permanency. LSU has just moved into second, with OU and UT third and fourth.
It likely doesn't surprise Texas fans to see the hated Sooners ranked ahead in the crucial competition for prep players after Jamarkus McFarland's controversy-tinged choice of Norman over Austin.
Additional trouble brews with the Texas A&M Aggies, generally considered pesky more than prominent as rivals, following closely at #8 nationally, #5 a few days prior. Texas Tech, at #41, sits nearest among other South division foes.
But is there an underlying reason that puts the Sooners and Aggies right with the Longhorns for February's contest? Yes, and it's called raw numbers. OU has a total of 22 commitments, while A&M has a gluttonous 26. In contrast UT only has 19. There's no way to know how many each team will precisely finish with, but the primary question should be: What about the quality?
If you sort according to average ranking per player, Texas leaps to #2 (only behind USC), while Ohio State shifts to #4. More importantly, Oklahoma drops to #7 while Texas A&M free falls outside the top 20.
Boosting the Longhorns quality are, most notably, five-star studs Garrett Gilbert—quarterback, Marcus Davis—cornerback, and Mason Walters—offensive lineman, along with a total of 11 coveted four-star guys including Alex Okafor—defensive end, Tariq Allen—linebacker, Chris Whaley—running back, Barrett Matthews—tight end, and Greg Timmons—wide receiver.
In all, despite the smaller pool of players, Mack Brown's staff has commitments from one more national top 100 (five to four), one more five-star (three to two), and the same number of four-stars (eleven each) compared to Bob Stoops and the Sooners.
The "superstar" disparity magnifies when looking at the Longhorns' class versus the Aggies'. Despite committing a whopping seven more players to this point, A&M falls four short in national top 100 players (with just one) to Texas, and three behind in both five- and four-star standouts.
Texas recruiting zealots, then, can feel satisfaction even beyond the ‘Horns lofty position for top talent. It appears that, worst case, UT's class will be ranked at or near the top five in terms of quality. Give me value over volume every time.
Legendary Longhorns' head coach Darrell Royal gave kudos to coaches for the importance of their daily duties. But, regarding talent, the winner of three national titles emphasized, "You gotta have it!" You can bet Mack Brown—whether nabbing any uncommitted gems or not—will once again get plenty more of "it" to don the burnt orange.