The Dallas-to-Austin movement is alive and well at the moment, and that’s especially ideal news for a Texas Longhorns program that’s struggled to recruit the DFW Metroplex over the years, often losing head-to-head battles with their Red River rivals, the Oklahoma Sooners.
Unsurprisingly, the Sooners’ success recruiting the state of Texas, and the DFW area, in particular, is largely why Oklahoma has, far-and-away, solidified itself as the alpha in the Big 12, cruising to back-to-back-to-back-to-back conference titles, as Oklahoma head coach Lincoln Riley detailed on Monday at Big 12 Media Days.
“It’s a critical area for us and it has been historically and even maybe more so in the last few years. It’s almost like our second home base, really, the state of Oklahoma and then the Metroplex and those are absolutely critical for us, for the distance, the number of games that we play here each year, the talent, the coaching that you get here in the Metroplex area,” Riley said of the abundance of Texas talent on Oklahoma’s roster.
“We devote a lot of our resources to this area, a lot of our coaches are here many, many days throughout the year,” Riley added. “We’ve got a good familiarity and trust with the coaches in this area, so a lot of respect for this area. We have had so many of our great players have come from here and we certainly hope that can continue.”
During the 2018 cycle, while piecing together a class that ranked No. 6 nationally and trailed only Texas in the Big 12, Oklahoma secured seven signatures out of the DFW Metroplex, including the additions of five-star Allen wide receiver Theo Wease and dynamic Carrolton Hebron pass-catcher Trejan Bridges.
The hope from the Sooners’ side, of course, is that Wease and Bridges may ultimately go on to follow in the footsteps of fellow Texas natives at the position, such as Dede Westbrook (Cameron Yoe) and CeeDee Lamb (Richmond Foster).
“I think the coaching in the state of Texas is extremely good, along with great athletes and great resources. That’s a pretty good combination,” Riley said of his extensive efforts in recruiting receivers from Texas. “There have been some really strong years like the year before of receivers in this area and it’s been an area that we have been able to attack.”
Meanwhile, as Oklahoma built another elite class around talent from the Metroplex, Texas signed just two talents from the area to cap the 2019 class — Plano East safety Tyler Owens and Melissa wide receiver Kennedy Lewis.
Moving forward, though, Texas is aiming to take back at least of the portion of the region’s fertile recruiting soil, and though not quite to the extent of the Sooners just yet, the Longhorns are doing so with success.
Thus far throughout the 2020 cycle, Texas has already secured pledges from four Dallas-area talents — three of whom rank within the top 150 nationally — and remain in a fairly ideal position with a few others. Even as is, Texas has already doubled its Dallas-area haul from the previous cycle and matched its Metroplex additions from the previous two classes combined. Furthermore, Texas 2021 class kicked off with a June commitment from Dallas Skyline receiver Quaydarius Davis, who’s regarded as a top 75 prospect nationally, per the 247Sports Composite.
Is this a sign of dominance in the Dallas area? Not exactly, but it’s positive progress, to be sure. And that’s not only notable, but necessary when bearing in mind that Texas’ Red River rival boasts back-to-back-to-back-to-back Big 12 titles, largely due to their recruiting efforts in a DFW region in which Texas is aggressively aiming to establish itself.