Mack Brown Recruiting Decisions: More Spin than a Texas Tornado

Published on 03-Sep-2013 by Stacey Mickles
Football - NCAA / NCAA Football Daily Update

Preparing a five-year game plan with the brain trust of Burnt Orange.

Forgive University of Texas fans if they're all standing in a corner banging their heads against the wall.

You would be, too, if you heard that your head football coach had a chance to land two Heisman Trophy winners and a potential Heisman candidate and decided to pass on all of them. 

Reports are that Mack Brown had a chance to get Robert Griffin III and Johnny Manziel, and that current Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston -- who is from Hueytown, Alabama --- was dying to attend Texas, but Brown never returned his phone calls.

Among the recent comments recently attributed to Winston are these:

  • "Dang, I'm good enough for Alabama and Auburn but not good enough for Texas."
  • "I'm an OU fan but I always wanted to go to Texas. If I'd gotten and offer from Texas I'd be going to Texas right now."

Oh but that's not all that's going around.

Good old Mack wanted to turn Griffin and Manziel into defensive backs. How do you feel about that, Texas fans?

Wow! Can all this be true? If it is, the fur's gonna be flying in Longhorn nation, even in those parts that don't have fur. Dr Frankenstein's monster will have seen friendlier crowds than Mack Brown will. His police escorts at games will come from the SWAT team.

What would the Longhorns look like right now if Brown had taken a chance on at least one of these guys? You think they'd be contending for a national championship?

But wait a moment. Is this all true?

It depends who's doing the talking. Different allegiances are presenting differing perspectives.

A Longhorn-oriented blog claims that each recruiting situation had its own set of circumstances. For instance:

  • Texas had enough QB commits when Manziel was being evaluated, and that's just the nature of the game;
  • Texas thought Winston wasn't interested in them and thus pursued other possibilities;
  • Griffin was a lock for Art Briles at Houston and followed him to Baylor, so Texas was never a serious option;
  • And Luck? It's Stanford, for chrissakes! And he came from a wealthy sporting family that places a premium on a solid education, which he confirmed by not declaring for the NFL draft as a junior.

However, Bruce Feldman of CBSSports.com is an actual journalist -- you know, the type of dude who actually checks sources before putting a story out there -- and he begs to differ in Winston's case.

Feldman spoke with Winston's high-school coach, who -- unless he's an abject liar -- confirmed he couldn't get past the Longhorn receptionist when he tried to contact Brown and his staff. He said Winston liked Texas because he wanted to play football and baseball in college, which basically narrowed down his choices to a small group of schools who were successful in both sports. Texas was one.

So what's the reality?

In a nutshell, Texas had best have a killer season with the recruits they've got. Especially David Ash.

Other than that, chill, people! The recruiting world is enough of a crapshoot that every school has these stories. They're all trying to predict the immediate futures of 18-year-old kids! If you've tried that at home, then nothing more needs to be said.

However, you're not carrying the hopes and emotions of a rabid Longhorn fan base, where some are so frothed, they post websites demanding Brown's canning and Nick Saban's hiring. That alone is an indication of the tilted logic that's out there.

Logic that will find willing readers when a story about recruiting hits-and-misses spins out of control.

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