No one said there’d be days like this. Not even mama.
For Texas Longhorns head coach Tom Herman, the last several weeks have illustrated what he called the “unintended consequences” of the early signing day — a grueling schedule featuring constant cross-country recruiting trips interspersed with practices as the team prepares for the Texas Bowl against the Missouri Tigers.
Oh yeah, and hosting prospects on official visits.
“These last three weeks have been a blur for me because as a head coach, you only get to see each kid one time off campus,” Herman said on Friday. “If we’re going to sign 20 guys on signing day on Dec. 20, we’re recruiting probably 26 to 28 guys. To go try and see 26 guys, and have bowl practices, and host official visitors each weekend — 26 guys in three weeks plus practice — the math doesn’t really add up real well. It’s been a blur.”
Sunday, Herman was in Los Angeles recruiting early enrollee quarterback Cameron Rising. On Monday, he sealed a commitment from offensive lineman Junior Angilau in Salt Lake City before flying back to Austin. Hours later, it was time for practice on Tuesday morning.
Later that day, he flew to Louisville to meet with wavering wide receiver commit Rondale Moore. Then it was on to Bradenton, Florida to meet with wavering linebacker commit Ayodele Adeoye on Wednesday. After catching a flight to Houston, Herman was at the Touchdown Club that evening. And back to Austin on another late-night flight.
Thursday morning featured another practice before Herman flew to Shreveport to visit the nation’s top wide receiver, Terrace Marshall. He squeezed in a flight to Dallas afterwards prior to yet another late-night flight to Austin.
Then practice again on Friday morning before the final official visit weekend before the early signing period opens on Wednesday and closes on Friday.
“And that’s just one week, and the other weeks have been very similar,” Herman said. “It’s been a grind but I think it will be very worth it.”
During the wild three-week stretch leading up to the early signing period, assistants have missed practices, mostly leaving the coordinators to oversee a lot of 11-on-11 work and situational football. Now the team will start preparing in earnest for Missouri.
The immediate payoff will come as the majority of the recruiting class signs this week — Herman estimates that two thirds to three fourths of his 2018 group will ink, significantly reducing the pressure on the staff in January and early February.
“You’ve got to suck it up and do it — there’s no complaints,” he said. “It is difficult for head coaches. I’m not sure we all realized the percentage of kids that would sign on the early signing day.”
Herman believes the benefits will be significant. After the players sign, there are no more limits on the amount of contact from the staff. The coaches can visit campus as often as they want. Playbooks will go out to the newest members of the Texas football program. So too will nutrition and workout plans.
So instead of waiting until early February for those recruits to start preparing for life as a Longhorn, the signees will have an extra six weeks or so to shape their minds and bodies into the staff’s preferred molds.
As a result, all of the grind will be worth it in several days as the ‘Horns secure the majority of the nation’s No. 2 recruiting class.