A week ago, it hardly seemed possible, but after a wild week of speculation, the Texas A&M Aggies seemingly hit a home run in hiring Florida State Seminoles head coach Jimbo Fisher away from Tallahassee.
The move represented one of the rare instances in college football history that a national title-winning coach left for another program — in fact, it’s only happened three other times.
For athletic director Scott Woodward, the Friday hire substantiated his decision to think big by targeting Fisher, who experienced a degree of success with the Seminoles that the Aggies have long aspired to reach, but have consistently fallen short of attaining.
The hope is that Fisher will now change that, despite the challenges of playing in the toughest division in college football.
What does this mean for the Longhorns?
The most immediate impact could be on the recruiting trail — there hasn’t been much momentum developing for Texas with any of the Texas A&M commits since Kevin Sumlin was fired last weekend and Fisher’s hire could further limit any progress.
As a result, don’t expect for the ‘Horns to be able to pick off multiple Aggie pledges, as Sumlin did when Charlie Strong arrived in Austin at the beginning of 2014.
From the wider perspective, bringing in Fisher will re-energize the program’s in-state recruiting in the 2019 class and beyond.
If Fisher brings recruiting coordinator Tim Brewster with him to College Station, as seems likely, Brewster has the connections and charisma to make a big impact recruiting the Houston area. So after Texas head coach Tom Herman and his staff largely dominated Texas A&M in that critical battleground city in the 2018 class, the momentum could swing back to the Aggies in the near future.
The challenge for Fisher will be in recruiting a state to which he doesn’t have especially deep ties, though he did have success at times recruiting Texas, largely due to Brewster’s presence. Expect him to learn from Strong’s mistakes and hire assistants who do have relationships with Texas high school football coaches, who can sometimes be wary of outsiders and in need of appeasement.
Make no mistakes, however — following a disappointing debut season in Austin, Herman now faces a more difficult task as he seeks to return the Longhorns program to dominance by landing top-tier talent from the Lone Star State.