Jermaine Roberts at Alabama - via @jermaineblessed
Disappointing seasons are starting to take their toll as regional, national powers make things more difficult for the 'Horns.
With eight commitments already in the fold for the Longhorns,and his staff currently have the second-ranked recruiting class in the country by 247Sports, just behind the surging Aggies, who jumped ahead with their three big Junior Day pledges nearly two weeks ago.
The problem is that things aren't coming as easily as they did in the past as disappointing seasons on the field have taken their toll, along with the rise of Texas schools like Baylor, TCU, and Texas A&M and an increased emphasis on recruiting the state by Alabama.
Want some evidence?
Texas offered New Orleans (La.) St. Augustine cornerbackback at the second Junior Day in late February and have been in good position for the playmaking corner ever since. In fact, on Thursday, Roberts told Hookem.com that Texas was his leader.
Good news, that. Unfortunately for the 'Horns, that only lasted a few hours, as Roberts visited Alabama the same day and left saying that the Crimson Tide were his new leader. Even for Texas prospects, the cachet of playing for Nick Saban in Tuscaloosa has been changing recruiting dynamics in the state.
And as much as Roberts apparently likes the 'Horns, the lack of those in-state ties probably made it easier for him to drop them out of his top spot just as quickly as he had put them there.
Of course, part of the reason that Texas has been looking out of state a little bit more for defensive backs is the fact that they've been having trouble securing commitments from in-state players at the position -- Nick Harvey committed to Texas A&M, as did Dylan Sumner-Gardner, while Edward Paris is off the board to LSU and many believe that Tony Brown may not be far behind.
So the 'Horns offered Roberts and fellow Louisiana prospect Marttrell McGraw, as well as Jenks (Ok.) safety Steven Parker, according to multiple reports.
More signs of how difficult things have become?
Abilene defensive end Jake McMillon reportedly grew up a big Texas fan and the Longhorns are thought to be in good shape with him ($), but it's hard to tell because he hasn't been giving interviews since attending the second Junior Day in Austin. TCU may also be in the mix as they continue to give Texas tougher battles on the recruiting trail.
Katy Seven Lakes defensive end Jarrett Johnson had Texas in the lead after his first Junior Day visit and may have been the player Brown said tried to commit while there. And though he told ESPN that the 'Horns and Aggies are basically even ($), he told Gigem247 that the Aggies lead after taking in College Station at the same Junior Day that nabbed those three big commitments, two of whom held Texas offers, with Nederland defensive tackle DeShawn Washington the other target who ended his recruitment.
Then there's Cy Falls linebacker Otaro Alaka, who could have committed at the second Junior Day had he actually received an offer while in Austin instead of two days later. He picked up an A&M offer at the recent Aggie Junior Day and now they are in the mix ($) with the Longhorns as well. A decision should come down from Alaka in the next two or three weeks.
The Longhorns may still secure commitments from Johnson and Alaka, but in past years, both of those players likely would have been locked up by now. The new policies regarding visits and less pressure are probably playing a role, but those aren't the biggest factors -- if Alabama's cachet has never been at a higher level, Texas' cachet has never been lower since the John Mackovic era.
Now, about those defensive backs. It would be good to get a commitment from one or two of them at some point. Actually, make that absolutely critical to get a commitment from one or two of them at some point. And maybe a couple more, since the 'Horns will probably be taking four in the class, if they can.
Some Brave New World this turned out to be.