Since adding Texas A&M, the SEC has made a real push in Texas recruiting, but the tide is starting to turn back to the Big 12. Mike Gundy thinks he knows why.
Mike Gundy spoke to ESPN about the recent results in recruiting Texas. After a few years of the SEC competing for top guys, now the Big 12 is starting to win those battles again.
Texas A&M left the Big 12 for the SEC back in 2012. A&M is a pretty big brand by itself, and it hit the ground running in the league with the Johnny Manziel era. However, the SEC had hopes beyond just what the Aggies would bring on the field. The addition put the league in Texas, opening up big recruiting potential.
That proved to be true for a while. In 2011 just two Top 30 recruits from Texas committed to SEC programs.
Four-star cornerback David Jenkins committed to LSU, while another four-star corner, Tevin Mitchel, pledged to Arkansas. Both are among the closer SEC programs to Texas.
Over the next few years, that number steadily rose for non-Texas A&M SEC programs. A&M also cleaned up under Kevin Sumlin, while Texas struggled.
However, the worm appears to have turned. In 2018, Texas is absolutely dominating recruiting in its home state, with 10 of the top 30 Lone Star State recruits set to be Longhorns. Five more are heading to additional Big 12 schools, while the SEC, A&M included, has six total.
Mike Gundy recognizes the potential sea change. He says that the shine of the SEC in Texas has worn. From ESPN:
“It’s pretty simple: The shiny new product of the SEC wore off,” Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy told ESPN.com while likening SEC recruiting in Texas to the recent fad of the hoverboard. “Everybody rode them around for two or three years — now you don’t see them anymore. The newness has worn off.”
“The players we recruit, when it first happened, when A&M jumped over, it was, ‘OK, I’m infatuated with LSU or Ole Miss or Mississippi State or whatever,’” Gundy said. “We’re not seeing that as much anymore. We’re seeing that we’re back to competing against the people in this part of the country. That’s the direction it’s going.”
A strong Texas is probably the biggest factor. While Charlie Strong’s tenure started with a lot of optimism, it did seem like the Longhorns lost their way a bit on the recruiting trail, when he focused on Florida and other areas.
Tom Herman has returned the focus to in-state recruiting, and it is paying dividends. Texas currently has the third-ranked class in the country, with 15 of its 23 players coming from in-state.