Brendan Maloney-US PRESSWIRE
The Texas Longhorns head coach sent a clear message to recruits about the expectations for Texas commits.
No more, said Texas Longhorns head coach Mack Brown on Wednesday during his National Signing Day press conference.
No more committed recruits will be allowed to take visits to other schools while still pledged to Texas.
In recent years, the Texas Longhorns have taken a more open approach in allowing committed prospects to take other visits, but Brown reversed course after the 'Horns suffered through five decommitments in the 2013 recruiting cycle, including the late and painful loss of five-star defensive tackle A'Shawn Robinson.
In previous classes, the Longhorns weren't as lenient on players taking visits as they were with Robinson, notably telling Thomas Johnson last year that he had to decommit to take a visit to Oregon in January.
Brown was no-nonsense when talking about the change in policy:
I think the thing we will do, we've allowed a couple of kids to commit and still look around the last couple years. We're going to go back and say, "We're not doing that anymore. If you're committed to us, you're committed. If you're going to go look, we're going to go look."
Brown continued later by expounding on what exactly that means:
What we'll tell guys, "Don't commit to us unless it's over and you want to come." Then the message we get, if you're committed to us and you're looking, that's a simple message, we're going to look, too. If we find somebody as good as you that wants to come, you're looking around, we'll take them. I think that's fair. I've done that before. My job is to do what's best for the University of Texas and get the guys that want to be here. Guys can change their minds. If you start looking, to me you're looking for something different than you've got. I'm going to look for something different than I've got.
It's a tactic that could have implications for prospects currently committed in the 2014 class. Abilene Cooper wide receiver Lorenzo Joe was pretty much born a Longhorn, so the coaches won't have to worry about him, but some of the other 2014 commits have already made noises about visiting other schools, so that is either going to have to stop, or there are going to be some decommitments in the near future.
The Texas coaches will also change how their approach players about committing, with Brown now advocating an extremely low-pressure strategy:
What I've talked to our coaches about is you have to do a better job of making sure you trust the parents and that you don't talk one into coming. If he decides to come now, if you get a commitment, it better be because he's wanting to come, not because you recruited him and talked him into it.
If an assistant coach in the past might continue asking a prospect when they plan to commit to Texas, Brown seems to be saying now that if that question is posed, it will be done so much more rarely.
Look for the Longhorns to accept fewer early commitments and for Junior Days to decrease in importance in terms of adding prospects at this events. For prospects who haven't wanted to be Longhorns for most of their lives, expect to see more recruits seriously interested in Texas who take official visits into the fall and make decisions much later in the process.
It will increase the stress level for fans who like to see early commits, but the Texas coaches, and Mack Brown in particular, have clearly had to change their collective perspectives in a major way after the issues that the 2013 class faced.