- May 29, 2001
Let's not cry over all of the spilled milk that Kelvin Banks left on the floor for Steve Sarkisian and his staff on Sunday.
Track marks remain.
Possible implications for future recruiting decisions have been created.
Everyone knew going into this month that Banks' decision represented a critical crossroads in the quest for Sarkisian and Co. to put together a top five national recruiting class and an offensive line group that would make Longhorns fans feel better about the disaster that was 2021 offensive line recruiting. Well, when the decision goes the other way, we can't suddenly emerge from the dust and pretend that nothing happened while an inch of mulch is covering everyone from head to filthy flip-flops.
The reality is that Sarkisian is not getting the same benefit of the doubt that Charlie Strong and Tom Herman received only a few years ago. Maybe all of this feels a little too much like the Little Boy Who Cried Wolf to the teenagers of the Lone Star State. The reason why it exists matters less than the reality of its existence.
Sarkisian is going to have to win to turn this around.
The elite of the elite prospects, the kind that win national championships and project as future first- or second-day NFL draft picks, want to see it with their own eyes. Sark isn't being afforded a ghost-man on second base to jump start a run-scoring inning in recruiting in 2022. As strong as this staff is on paper on the recruiting front, it apparently cannot yet make it rain in head-to-head competitions for the biggest difference-makers.
That's not my opinion. That is just what is happening.
From my vantage point, what has to happen next is way more about reversing the trend with the 2023 recruiting class than it is daydreaming about being able to flip kids that have passed on the Longhorns in 2022. I'm not saying that it isn't possible, I'm just saying that if we get to five months from National Signing Day and the best prospects on your recruiting board still want to see you do something on the field before making a leap of faith, what those prospects are really doing is putting you in a friend-zone. Like all friend-zone situations, it's not always a death blow, but it's usually one.
Texas must beat Louisiana. Texas must beat Arkansas. Texas must beat Oklahoma. Texas must win 10 games. Texas must play in a major bowl game.
Anything short of that and we're all at major risk of finding ourselves in this same exact situation with the elite of the elite in the Class of 2023.
This isn't me screaming "fire!" in a crowded theater (do those even exist any more?), as much as it's me simply stating loudly enough for everyone to hear that keeping your head on a swivel is a must.
Nothing should surprise you. Don't let anyone convince you that there are burnt-orange locks out there. There is no need for panic. The stakes are the stakes, whether anyone likes it or not.
Texas needs to win now and win big or it will continue to lose the elite of the elite in recruiting.
You can absolutely take that to the Bank(s).
No. 2 - About that top five recruiting class...
A month ago, I wrote that in order for the Longhorns to finish with a top five level recruiting class, they would need to essentially run the table with the following prospects:
With Banks currently off the market, the wiggle room left for this class to emerge as a true success based on the standards we hold Texas football recruiting against is minimal. Let's take a look at the remaining five.
Anderson: Has twice seemingly been on the verge of committing to Texas, only to twice emerge as the runaway bride. Texas has long been the leader, make no mistake about that, but it remains unclear where the Longhorns are truly positioned at the moment. Texas A&M is a very, very serious threat.
Campbell: Am I allowed to say that the earlier this thing ends, the better for Texas? The Longhorns are still the betting favorite and getting him to take an unofficial visit in June was critical following his visit to Oklahoma., but I'm a little concerned about perceived momentum among top prospects if Texas loses both Anderson and Banks before the season starts.
Harris: See Campbell. I still have Texas as a leader over Alabama, but will he pick Texas if it loses momentum?
Stewart: He has the Longhorns in the friend-zone until he sees this offense in action and gets a little convinced with the product on the field that he needs to take his five-star talent to a place representing a gamble when he doesn't have to gamble.
Thompson: Total toss-up recruitment at this point. Feels like a looming Texas vs. Texas A&M battle.
Full transparency: That was a depressing section. Let's talk about something positive...
No. 3 - Three thoughts from the Elite 11 ...
a. We all know that Maalik Murphy still has steps to take as a player on the field and that he'll arrive at Texas as a bit of multi-year project, but his performance at the Elite 11 this week in California should make Texas fans feel very good about what the Longhorns have knocking on the doorstep when Murphy arrives in Austin. Consider what the writers covering the event from Sports Illustrated said once the event was over and Murphy finished second in their own rankings behind Austin Westlake's Cade Klubnik.
"The film evaluation for Maalik Murphy as a college prospect may seem shaky, as he lacks production and substantial game experience. But if his performance at the Elite 11 Finals suggested anything, his game is littered with untapped potential.
The most impressive physical specimen on site, Murphy displayed one of the strongest arms on the group and surprisingly solid accuracy to pair over the week, also gelling with his receivers and making well-timed tosses. Touch and anticipation for throwing windows should continue to progress as Murphy develops in Steve Sarkisian's offense at Texas, but the Longhorns have everything to work with when it comes to the Gardena (Calif.) Serra product."
It doesn't come with a guarantee on the box, but it's no small thing that he stood on the same field as 19 of the best quarterbacks in the country and largely outperformed all of them on multiple days. That doesn't happen by accident. I've said that if/when Murphy signs, he'll be the highest-ranked quarterback prospect that Texas has signed since Garrett Gilbert. That's true. But, it needs to be said that he has better tools than Gilbert had, and he's still playing on Sundays for America's Team. Gilbert was a special high school player, but he's never thrown a football in his life quite as well as Murphy.
b. Speaking of Klubnik, he's now competed against national No.1 overall prospect Quinn Ewers on four different occasions (the state title game and three days of practice in California) and his overall record vs. Ewers is...
By all accounts, Klubnik was better in the state title game and he was better in every day of competition this week. I'm not sure what it means, but I have a hard time ranking a quarterback as the No.1 overall prospect in the nation when he's never been better.... just once... any time he's been matched up with his No.1 on-field rival (that expression is used very loosely here) in competition.
Yo Rivals, pay that man his money. Give him his fifth star.
c. Low-key event of the entire week was Flower Mound High's Nick Evers finishing third over the course of the week in the SI rankings. Evers, who is committed to Florida, is currently rated as the No. 9 dual-threat quarterback in the nation and he outperformed every elite pro-style guy in the country outside of Klubnik and Murphy? That's freaking impressive.
No. 4 - What's next with offensive line recruiting...
A week ago, I would have told you that Texas was probably in for a five-man offensive line class that would include Kelvin Banks, Devon Campbell, Cam Williams, Cole Hutson and Connor Robertson.
A week later, Banks and Williams are out of the mix and it's hard to know exactly how Texas puts together a five-man class with anywhere near the sizzle of projections from a week ago.
So, now what?
Let's run through the discussion and options.
a. With Robertson and Hutson locked up, Campbell is clearly the most critical prospect remaining in the entire recruiting class. Texas HAS to land Campbell and then sort through its remaining options at the tackle position because that is where help is most needed.
b. When looking at serious candidates to fill the voids, finding a way to land Allen's Neto Umeozulu. The Longhorns have kind of slow-played him up until now and it might end up being a fatal blow, but he's only taken one official visit to USC, so there would appear to be room to get back involved seriously. Maybe go all-in on the other Duncanville tackle Jaylen Early, but there's been a lot of Florida State buzz for him lately. Those are the only in-state offers left on the board outside of Campbell and Dewberry that remain uncommitted. I'm not really sure where the out of state help comes from at this point. Someone like Earnest Greene feels like a pipedream.
c. Best offensive linemen in the state that the Longhorns haven't offered who possess tackle upside:
High three-star - Austin Kawecki (Frisco Lebanon Trail) - Committed to Oklahoma State
Mid three-star - Cory Hendrix (College Station) - Committed to SMU
Mid three-star Nikolas Hall (Austin High) - Committed to Kentucky
Low three-star Jihad Lateef (Lubbock Estacado) - Committed to Washington State
d. The last thought on this is that the Longhorns simply don't take five offensive linemen in this class and save that final spot for a lineman in the Portal next spring.
No. 5 - Other random recruiting scattershots...
... Freaking Oregon is going to sign a better OL class from the state of Texas than...Texas? Wow.
... Oklahoma received a flood of commitments over the weekend, but none were super blues.
... I kind of doubt that Jordan Hudson sticks with SMU, despite his commitment on Sunday to the Mustangs, but it is one hell of a win for former Texas staffer Ra'Shaad Samples. He's not going to be at SMU for very long.
... The state of Texas might have 10 legit five-star prospects in the state of Texas for the Class of 2022 and I'm very close to adding Florida commit Julian Humphrey to the mix.
... One of the all-time stupid futurecast blunders occurred on Sunday when I wasn't paying attention and futurecasted him to Oklahoma when I knew he was going to SMU.
No. 6 - A reminder about offensive line recruiting...
I posted this in a thread on the site earlier this weekend, but here's a reminder of the OL recruiting data that I produced last year. I'll update it in the next week or so.
From 2002-15, here's a look at the performance breakdown of each of the top four rankings tiers in the Rivals.com rankings system with regards to players being drafted in the NFL.
* 46.3% (25 of 54) of five-star offensive line prospects were drafted by NFL teams:
* 34.2% (28 of 82) of high-four star offensive line prospects were drafted by NFL teams
* 23.0% (26 of 113) of mid-four star offensive line prospects were drafted by NFL teams
* 14.7% (50 of 341) of low four-star offensive line prospects were drafted by NFL teams.
From 2002-15, here's a look at the performance breakdown of each of the top four rankings tiers in the Rivals.com rankings system with regards to players from the state of Texas being drafted in the NFL.
* 22.2% (2 of 9) of five-star offensive line prospects were drafted by NFL teams:
* 35.7% (5 of 14) of high-four star offensive line prospects were drafted by NFL teams
* 6.7% (1 of 15) of mid-four star offensive line prospects were drafted by NFL teams
* 21.1% (8 of 38) of low four-star offensive line prospects were drafted by NFL teams.
From 2002-15, here's a look at the performance breakdown of each of the top four rankings tiers in the Rivals.com rankings system with regards to Longhorns from the state of Texas being drafted in the NFL.
* 33.3% (1 of 3) of five-star offensive line prospects were drafted by NFL teams:
* 14.3% (1 of 7) of high-four star offensive line prospects were drafted by NFL teams
* 0.0% (0 of 6) of mid-four star offensive line prospects were drafted by NFL teams
* 8.3% (1 of 12) of low four-star offensive line prospects were drafted by NFL teams.
What's interesting about the data as it relates to the state of Texas is how much the numbers improve in a couple of areas when you pull the Longhorns out of the development equation.
* 57.1% (4 of 7) of high-four star offensive line prospects were drafted by NFL teams
* 11.1% (1 of 9) of mid-four star offensive line prospects were drafted by NFL teams
* 26.9% (7 of 26) of low four-star offensive line prospects were drafted by NFL teams.
No. 7 – BUY or SELL …
(Sell) I'm thinking they take four and save that spot for the Portal or for another place in the class later in the year.B/S Texas will only end up with 3 OL this cycle
Losing banks is a huge huge blow that changes your perception of the likely recruiting class ranking
(Buy) Texas isn't headed for a Top 5 class. I once thought Texas would moonwalk into a Top 5 class with relative ease like Michael Jackson at the Motown 25. I don't remotely believe that now.
B/S: If Sark goes 8-4 he’s a deadman walking after one year since recruits aren’t giving him any benefit of the doubt.
(Sell) His quarterback development and the ability to turn Hudson Card, Casey Thompson or Maalik Murphy is paramount to his ultimate success. The smart money is that the light switch flicks on for someone in 2022 more than 21.
B/s - OB is overreacting to recruiting for a coach who hadn’t even coached a game yet.
(Sell) I think people are just reacting. Losing Banks is a really big deal for 2022 recruiting. I haven't sensed anything close to a meltdown.
B/S this support staff (everyone that's not an on the field coach) is better than the previous support staff (Chang, et al).
B/S The perception that something changed in Banks recruiting “at the last moment” is correct.
or perhaps that perception was incorrect for some time
(Sell) The media covering this recruitment in the state of Texas just miscalculated the situation. That includes us. Texas wasn't a leader when we listed him as such in the War Room or when I said as much last week in this very column. A lot of that came from a massive amount of confidence that existed inside the football program. They were not ready for this set of events. Consider it a lesson learned.
B/S Texas having 10 players drafted in next year's draft would have a more positive impact on recruiting and on the entirety of the program than winning 10 games?
(Sell) Texas needs to get to 10 wins in December so that the recruits in April are still paying attention when the Draft rolls around.
B/S - If Texas and OU wanted to join the SEC, the SEC would welcome us with open arms and there's nothing that A&M could do to stop it.
(Sell) I might be answering this wrong, but I get the sense that the need for Texas and Oklahoma isn't quite as large as it once was. Don't get me wrong, it could still happen, but A&M raising a stink about it would mean testing the loyalty of some in the league. I think A&M would have some support. How much? Great question.
Buy or sell: Any meltdown that occurs by the Texas fan base should be focused on a lack of player development, not recruiting.
(Sell) It's been a long 10 years. There's room for all kinds of meltdowns.
First time caller.. Long time listener
B/S with NIL in place..is this the most power the average fan has ever had in recruiting in terms of Twitter likes/follows. Is the behavior and decisions of recruits during the recruiting process now effect long term like ability and their overall brand?
Just a thought I had scrolling Twitter seeing athletes asking to get them to x amount of followers.
(Buy) We're not far away from the 1980s level of wild, wild west stuff that landed almost the entire SWC on probation.
B/S Banks actually signs with whoever he announces today, and never enters the Transfer Portal?
(Sell) I don't believe he signs with Oregon.
B/S: This staff is learning the hard way that the state of Texas is a recruiting warzone; and that the success and weight of the name Nick Saban makes everyone who touches it, only while touching it, instantly better because of it.
(Buy) This had to have been an eye-opening situation, as the Texas staff was seemingly the last to know.
5 years from now Texas football is still in a rut and Texas basketball is killing it on the floor.
(Sell) I refuse to believe the football program can't get out of the rut. In Hudson Card, I trust.
B/S: You believe Flood will coach up our OL talent enough to get us into the Conf Championship Game?
(Sell) I am not projecting that.
B/S - Austin, once a huge selling point for the Longhorn football program, is now a detriment, especially for the kids who don't come from huge metro areas. Horrible traffic, influx of transplants killing the unique vibe Austin once had, tent cities, high crime, etc.
(Sell) You'd be amazed at how well this city would sell with a winner instead of a loser.
B/S: Texas uses 18-20 of their 2022 scholarships on high school players and saves 5-7 for the portal.
(Sell) I don't sense they plan on saving much for the Portal.
(Buy) I love the dude, but I am excited about what we might have cooking in terms of additions.
No. 8 - Scattershooting on the sports weekend...
... Once upon a time, I'd have been over the moon about the Cowboys being on Hard Knocks. I'm not sure how to feel in 2021.
... Suns in 5.
... I'm really not happy that the Sixers pissed away a season that should have ended with Joel Embiid lifting the Finals MVP trophy. The door was open, and Ben Simmons was afraid to go through it.
... That was weak stuff from Patrick Beverley at the end of game six against the Suns. Straight-up punk move.
... Is Luka such a bad teammate in Dallas that no one will want to play with him? When did that become a thing?
... It really sucks being a Phillies fan these days. I wonder how I would feel if I was just rooting for Shohei Ohtani every night?
... Yes, I have noticed that Tampa Bay is putting a hurting on Montreal in the Stanley Cup Finals. I haven't watched any of it, but I have noticed.
... Looking like England and Italy in the Final of the EUROs next weekend. Feels like a coin-toss, which means England will lose in penalty-kicks, right?
No. 9 - Top 10 Most Patriotic Movies Of All-Time ...
This is probably as subjective as it gets, but here goes.
10. Top Gun
9. Red Dawn
7. The Tuskegee Airmen
5. Independence Day
4. Rocky IV
2. Saving Private Ryan
1. Mr. Smith Goes to Washington
No. 10 - And Finally ...