Part of what made the Sunday commitments from Brenham stars Tim Cole and Malcom Brown such a shocker was that neither had made many public comments throughout the recruiting process. Cole was a bit more available for interviews than Brown, but Cole was reticent to name favorites during interviews -- publicly, there was nothing to indicate that either of them were considering committing to Texas.
So the comments from both on Monday at a press conference in Brenham were particularly revealing for recruitments in which the inevitable ebbs and flows of the process took place mostly beyond the public eye and were manifested only in visits and rumors of unverifiable veracity.
Despite Cole seeming like the leader in considering Texas -- he made two visits to Austin in late January, early February before Brown made it to town -- it was Brown who first verbalized his desire to commit to the Longhorns as the two left TCU after also visiting Norman the weekend before the Texas spring game.
The two discussed the possibility of committing over the following week, but Cole didn't make up his mind ($) until Sunday morning:
We discussed it but it wasn't completely for sure. I was like it's a possibility and I really like Texas but what sold it was yesterday and I pulled the trigger and I'll never look back.
I had glimpses of it in my mind, but really what sold me was yesterday when I first walked in and I saw all the recruits and how all them were talking to each other and it was something I really wanted to be a part of. That's what made me commit.
While some observers don't like the trend towards early commitments and early recruiting overall, the impact of assembling a class early is revealed most strongly in moments like the one Cole experienced on Sunday and the camaraderie already built in this group is extremely appealing to guys like Cole who highly value that type of family atmosphere.
For both of the commits, though, it was more than just the family atmosphere and a place to fit in.
Cole wasn't dissuaded by the 5-7 season Texas went through last year, instead focusing on the history of success and potential for the future:
There were a lot of things - the education, they've been a top 10 powerhouse for the longest. A lot of people kind of downed them for having a bad season, but who doesn't have a bad season every once in awhile? I feel like we can get back to winning and the overall campus is just great.
His current and future teammate Brown echoed Cole's sentiments about the education at Texas, but his fit in the aggressive Manny Diaz defense seemed like the biggest attraction to the explosive defensive tackle:
Basically, it's a 4-3 and they're an attacking defense so I get my chance to shine. I'll be one-on-one with a lineman and do my thing.
It was rumored that Brown's uncle played a role in convincing him that the predominantly 4-3 Texas defense was a better fit than the 3-4 defense employed by A&M that likely would have had Brown lined up as a nose guard and often taking on two blockers. His comment about being "one-on-one" at Texas seems to substantiate the argument that Brown saw Texas as a better fit and he confirmed as much by noting that he and his uncle sat down and came to that very conclusion ($):
I just felt like playing in a 4-3 will give me more opportunities and give me a chance to shine. My uncle said he was behind me no matter what school I picked, but when I sat down and really looked at it, Texas had the team, the school and the defense I was looking for.
Playing together in college was something both had talked about extensively:
Coach Giles said we have a chance to room together. It'll be fun. It's always been a dream. We've been talking about this since our freshman or sophomore year, and we were like we were going to the same college. We sat down and thought it all out and came together on Texas.
Cole sounded like he was mostly relieved to have the recruiting process behind him:
I feel relieved. I wouldn't say I was stressed but I was a little tense every day and now I can have a smile on my face. I'm just happy right now.
As for the possibility of Brown opening up his recruitment at some point, he was quick to dispel any such rumors:
I'm done with recruiting. I'm a Longhorn, and that's it.
Music to the ears of Texas fans who had to at least begin to imagine Brown and Cole as Aggies little more than a month ago.
Meanwhile, somewhere Mack Brown is smiling as the Texas recruiting juggernaut steams along, full speed ahead.