Looks like it’s pretty fun to be a Texas Longhorn these days.
(Aside from, ya know, actually having to live with yourself.)
Your basketball team is considered one of the best in the country.
Your football team just won its third Big 12 championship. (No “*” necessary.)
And your football future looks awfully bright. Within the span of a couple hours on Friday, Mack Brown managed to persuade not one, but two five-star defensive recruits in Jackson Jeffcoat and Jordan Hicks to join arguably the best recruiting class of Mr. February’s UT tenure.
With National Signing Day just around the corner, Texas’ talented haul has the Longhorns’ neighbors to the north seeing crimson.
It’s not that the Oklahoma Sooners’ latest bunch lack talent. To the contrary, Rivals recruiting service ranks OU’s class fifth in the country.
No, it’s the way in which Mack locked down his home base in 2010 that has Sooner Nation concerned. In their traditional battleground of the Lone Star State, the home team won in a route this year.
The ‘Horns managed to sew up four of the top five prospects in Texas and six of the top 10, according to the Rivals rankings. OU’s top Texas recruit, offensive lineman Tyrus Thompson, checks in at No. 24.
That’s not quite Reagan-Mondale, but you get the picture.
Luckily for OU fans, coach Bob Stoops and his staff did manage to find success in other recruiting hotbeds. Wide receiver Justin McCay, the Sooners’ top prospect in the Rivals national rankings, hails from Kansas. In fact, the Sunflower State’s top three players–McCay, quarterback Blake Bell and defensive end Geneo Grissom–are all heading to Norman in the fall.
The Sooners also snagged a commitment from one of the best running backs in Florida, Roy Finch, to go along with three of the top recruits in California in wide receiver Kenny Stills, defensive back Tony Jefferson and running back Brennan Clay.
Looking ahead, OU’s influx of 2010 recruits from outside the Texas breadbasket actually raises a more interesting issue than whether or not the Sooners can keep a toehold in the state.
UT is the flagship university in one of the country’s most talent-rich states. As the clear top dog in Texas, the reality is that more often than not, Mack and his crew are going to be heavy favorites to win the services of a player from within the state. (Of course, Texas’ recent control of the Red River Shootout has served to widen its advantage over Oklahoma.)
In that sense, OU may be better served by simply letting UT take its spoils first. There are plenty of talented players in the state, and the Longhorns don’t have room for all of them. Meanwhile, the Sooner coaches can concentrate on doubling up their efforts on a national scale.
Is it worth waging all-out recruiting war with the Longhorns every year?
Read the 2010 tea leaves, and you may have Stoops’ answer.