After a relatively disappointing finish to the 2017 recruiting class highlighted by the Texas Longhorns missing on five-star edge rusher K’Lavon Chaisson, head coach Tom Herman’s revolution, a.k.a. #RevolUTion18, is officially underway in Austin.
And that revolution is coming largely at the expense of the Oklahoma Sooners and head coach Bob Stoops.
Marking the exact beginning of the revolution may largely be a matter of personal opinion, but there’s no question that Wednesday’s surprise commitment from Oklahoma product Ron Tatum, the nation’s No. 5 strong-side defensive end according to the 247Sports Composite, marked the high water point for Herman’s brief tenure with Texas.
In a ceremony at Putnam City High School, Tatum pulled out a Longhorns hat and a Sooners hat, considered the Oklahoma headgear, then donned a white Texas cap.
And while the recruitment of Tatum is hardly over, going into the Sooner State and pulling out another prospect was an extraordinarily impressive feat for Herman and defensive line coach Oscar Giles.
Sure, there was some late momentum and apparently well-deserved confidence from the Texas staff, but the industry consensus didn’t swing in favor of the ‘Horns until the early hours of Wednesday morning.
“When I went there, I just felt like it was a great fit,” Tatum told Horns247 prior to his pledge. “The people there were great. The coaches are great. Coach (Oscar) Giles visited me a few days ago and texts me every other day. It was just a great fit.”
Oklahoma will keep pursuing Tatum, but there are other factors working in favor of Texas as the staff continues to recruit the big defensive end and the other pledges.
Among the most significant of those factors is the recent recruiting momentum for Herman and company, as Tatum’s pledge marks the fifth for a prospect with an Oklahoma offer since early April.
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Those pledges include Sooners legacy Casey Thompson, a quarterback prospect from Moore in Oklahoma, former OU quarterback commit Cameron Rising, and high-upside edge rusher Byron Hobbs, in addition to projectable offensive tackle Reese Moore.
So not only has Herman stemmed the tide of advancing crimson and cream creep in the state that climaxed with the 2017 class after a prolonged absence from the Lone Star State, he’s gone into the state of Oklahoma and landed several of its top prospects.
With Rising now in the mix and Bob Stoops and his staff now in hot pursuit of a flip from Thompson, there is a potential weakness in the growing group.
However, if there’s one thing that’s clear about the 2018 class for the Longhorns, it’s that the majority of the group has already decided to become anti-Sooner, despite a handful of deep ties to that state’s flagship school and the state itself.
In a class that features two talented quarterbacks, there’s not a clear leader yet, but that commonality of spurning Oklahoma, which has won so many more games and league titles than Texas in recent years, could potentially help keep the class together.
Only time will reveal the ultimate fragility of those bonds, but right now, Tatum and the group of pledges have confidence in Herman and the future that he’s selling in Austin.
“I think Coach Herman has things going in the right direction,” Tatum said. “I think they are on the right path and will have a pretty good season this year.”
Meanwhile, sources tell BON that Stoops has conscripted a staffer to provide headset assistance as the longtime head coach continuously perfects his headset-spiking skills in anticipation of needing them this fall in the Cotton Bowl.