Maybe it was a big deal when former 2010 wide receiver commit Ross Apo wore OU shorts to the Palo Alto Nike Camp several weeks ago. Or maybe it was a big deal that he was even there -- the Arlington Oakridge receiver caught passes from recent BYU commit Jake Heaps, a fellow Mormon and the eight-ranked pro-style quarterback in the country. The burgeoning friendship between the two played a big role in Apo's subsequent commitment to BYU, but it was not the only factor.
The shared faith fo the quarterback and receiver was also extremely important in both players ending up in Provo. Apo, like Heaps, is Mormon and attending BYU will give them both an opportunity to play college football in a community of shared faith. As family pressure increased, Apo apparently decided that his heart was truly in Provo ($). Since Apo has not been avaiable for comment since the news of his de-commitment became public, so it's not clear whether the possibility of a two-year Mormon mission factored into the decision.
Family also became important for Apo, who reportedly began receiving pressure from his mother to go to school closer to her home in California. Being a good son, he obliged.
The loss of Apo stings, as he had vaulted up the latest LSR and is known for excellent performances in combines, important since his high school competition provides little, well, competition. His work with speed coach Jon Drummond was helping increase his straight-line speed ($) and explosiveness and Apo's hands have never been in question. Attention to the little details of running routes help Apo use subtle moves to get free from defenders, with excellent body control to adjust to the ball. Though Chris Jones is more highly rated, Apo is probably a more refined receiver at this stage with a chance to be an excellent college player.
The second de-commit from the Longhorns in as many weeks continues the string of bad news on the recruiting front that has seemingly been constant over the last month or so. First Ahmad Dixon, now Ross Apo, and the scholarship crunch of just a few weeks ago becomes even less pronounced.
If there is good news in all of this -- and let's face it, losing a quickly-rising receiver is never good news -- it is two-fold. As mentioned on Tuesday, Tulsa Central receiver DeMarco Cobbs, an early Longhorn target who considered giving Texas a commitment back in February, re-contacted the Texas coaching staff last week and expressed a renewed interest in one of his "dream schools."
While that is good news in and of itself, the problem with Cobbs has always been getting him onto campus -- he was unable to attend either of the Junior Days, his ride falling through both times. Now, however, Cobbs says that he has firm plans to make it down to Austin ($). His high school coach Corey Russell will drive Cobbs down to Austin after attending the Oklahoma camp, reaching Austin on the 15th or 16th of June. Cobbs will not work out at the end of the overnight camp from the 14th-17th, but will make it an unofficial visit.
Apo's de-commit also means that Trovon Reed may be back on the Texas recruiting radar. The close friend of Lache Seastrunk is reportedly going to attend the Texas camp this weekend along with Seastrunk. Back at the end of April, Reed did mention that he was seriously interested in the Longhorns before Texas received the early receiver commitments and lost contact with Reed. It remains to be seen if Texas can get back in the hunt for Reed, but there is now a receiver scholarship available. Reed is also close friends with Connor Wood, who will no doubt work on both Reed and Seastrunk this weekend in an attempt to get both of them to join him on the 40 Acres.
The true impact of Apo switching his commitment to BYU won't fully be understood until the recruitments of DeMarco Cobbs, Darius White, and Trovon Reed play out. While Apo is rising in the eyes of those tuned into recruiting, Cobbs is a better raw athlete with tremendous potential and Reed has pure speed that Apo cannot match. If the Longhorns manage to land either one of those players, losing Apo doesn't hurt a great deal.
Even if neither player ends up at Texas, the Longhorns still have incredible depth at receiver and are still highly favored by Darius White -- the loss of Apo is hardly catastrophic. However, his switch, along with that of Ahmad Dixon, continues to raise questions about the nature of early recruiting and how often players who do make early decisions will end up changing their minds.