Arguably the top legitimate wide receiver target on the radar of the Texas Longhorns — Lancaster wide receiver Omar Manning — announced on Monday evening that he will stick with his pledge to the TCU Horned Frogs:
Officially Shutting down my recruitment.. Thanks to all the programs who offered me a wonderful opportunity to follow my dreams!— O.Manning (@TheOmarManning) January 17, 2017
Though there had been some perceived momentum for the Longhorns coming out of the summer with Manning, he extended his recruitment long enough to see Texas underperform expectations once again.
As with many top Texas targets in the 2017 target, he committed to another program, pledging to TCU on October 21.
Still, the coaching change was enough to get the ‘Horns another opportunity, as Manning quickly set an official visit for the weekend before the dead period began in December and spent some time with the coaches Tom Herman had assembled to that point.
Unfortunately for Texas, the timing was such that the two eventual offensive coaches who had arguably spent the most time recruiting Manning were passing game coordinator/wide receiver coach Drew Mehringer and offensive coordinator Tim Beck.
“He’s been recruiting me since my sophomore year when he was at Houston,” Manning told Horn Sports after the Army game. “They were one of my first offers. He used to come to our school all the time, because we had Demarcus Ayers who played at U of H. He coached him, and he’s familiar with me so we have a good relationship.”
The hire of Mehringer didn’t break until the Sunday of Manning’s official visit weekend. Since Texas didn’t confirm the hire until the following day, Mehringer didn’t spend much if any time around him that weekend.
“He recruited me to Ohio State and showed me a lot of love,” Manning said of Beck. “He kept communicating with me, and that’s the same thing he’s doing now that he’s at Texas.”
With Beck, his hire didn’t officially happen until January 3, giving him a short period of time to recruit Manning to Texas, despite those previous ties.
In the end, a last-ditch attempt by the Longhorns staff on a Friday effort wasn’t enough to overcome the crosstown Horned Frogs after Manning’s ensuing official visit and it’s unfair to blame Herman and his staff for that.
Texas lost this recruitment on the field this fall.
Now head coach Gary Patterson and his staff are getting one of the state’s best wide receivers in a strong class, meaning Herman’s teams will have to contend with him in the coming years. That will be a challenge if he fulfills his considerable potential.