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Kyler Murray or bust? The tenuous Texas QB recruiting situation

The Longhorns coaches are playing a high-risk game right now. Will it burn them?

Kyler Murray at the Under Armour All-America game
Kyler Murray at the Under Armour All-America game
Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY Sports

The Texas Longhorns have one quarterback currently committed to become a member of the 2015 recruiting class.

It just doesn't really feel that way at the moment. And may not be that way for long.

Albuquerque (N.M.) Eldorado quarterback Zach Gentry has been pledged to the Longhorns since last May, but is no longer listed as a Texas commit in his Twitter bio, just followed four Michigan Wolverines coaches, and is planning on taking an official visit to Ann Arbor this weekend.

New head coach Jim Harbaugh started courting the 6'7 quarterback in earnest on Monday, when he traveled to New Mexico to met with Gentry. Instead of re-affirming his commitment to Texas at that time, Gentry and his family went silent in the days that followed.

Then, the Wednesday news broke that shocked the college football recruiting world and certainly reverberated deeply around the state of Texas -- the nation's top dual-threat quarterback, Texas A&M commit Kyler Murray, was in Austin.

With close friend DaMarkus Lodge, the top wide receiver in the state who was previously committed to the Aggies. Hanging out with close friend Malik Jefferson, the five-star linebacker whose own commitment to Texas would play a big role in a flip of Murray, if it happens.

After the news of Gentry visiting Michigan and canceling his in-home visit with the staff broke, assistant head coach for the offense/quarterbacks coach Shawn Watson showed up in Maryland to see Florida State quarterback commit Kai Locksley.

Locksley had said earlier in the week that the planned Monday in-home visit from Watson was re-scheduled due to some type of transportation difficulties.

The question now is whether Watson put off the in-home visit with Gentry to visit Locksley instead, a decision that would be justifiably irritating to Gentry and his family. Perhaps the Texas coaches decided to delay the in-home visit until after Gentry goes to Michigan in an effort to have some final say in his choice. Perhaps Gentry cancelled the visit because he was upset about Murray ending up on campus.

Displeasure on the part of Gentry regarding the pursuit of other quarterbacks wouldn't even be fear of competition for the New Mexico product, it would be the result of the staff not entirely keeping its word to him.


With Gentry, what seems clear right now is that he's interested in what Harbaugh is selling and that should be extremely concerning to Texas fans. The trip to Ann Arbor doesn't seem like as much of a sure-thing flip visit as safety Tim Irvin's journey to Auburn did last weekend, but it's not far behind, either.

In fact, there's already been some movement in Gentry's 247Sports Crystal Ball, as five predictions for the Wolverines came in after the news of his official visit broke.

Would he be less interested if Murray and Locksley weren't also targets? Head coach Charie Strong didn't want to take that risk, it seems. And it ultimately doesn't matter because there's no going back now.

So even though the Horns will have a favorable chance to impress Locksley this weekend on his first visit to specifically see the campus and meet with the coaching staff, he's still pledged to a program in the Noles that has had much more recent success.

Plus, if Texas does somehow manage to flip him in the 13 days remaining until National Signing Day, he's not a better quarterback prospect at this time than Gentry given that he played wide receiver at the 2015 Under Armour All-America game and faces questions about his future position.

Losing Gentry and adding Locksley is an upgrade in athleticism, but the Florida State commit has a much lower ceiling at the position, even if Gentry is something of a project himself.

The other conspicuous piece of this moving puzzle? That's Murray, of course.

Burnt Orange Nation was told that the professional baseball prospect met with Texas baseball coach Augie Garido on Wednesday during his visit, an indication of the trip's seriousness. The depth chart is favorable compared to Texas A&M, there's a significant chance that the Longhorns are ready to re-tool the offense in ways that would showcase Murray's skill set with the addition of wide receivers coach Jay Norvell, and Murray may want to get out of his father's shadow and forge his own legacy instead of following in his footsteps.

And there's Jefferson.

Problem is, the most likely scenario right now is that the Horns lose Gentry this weekend to the Wolverines, Murray sticks with the Aggies, and the staff is left to hope that Locksley finds some appeal in an even more open depth chart.

There's insurance in the form of likely grayshirt Matthew Merrick, so the Horns won't completely miss at the position in a worst-case scenario.

Even so, Texas could suffer a major blow to the longterm upside at the position the program just can't quite seem to solve.

On the other hand, the Horns could also pull off the biggest coup in modern Texas recruiting history by flipping Murray and landing Lodge, if not Mack as well.

The strategy is high risk, but it's also high reward. Which one will it be? The future of Texas football may depend heavily on the answer.