Three weeks after 2022 Southlake Carroll quarterback sent shockwaves through the college football recruiting world by decommitting from the Texas Longhorns, he announced his new destination — the Ohio State Buckeyes.
The news wasn’t particularly surprising — when Ewers reopened his recruitment, the Buckeyes quickly emerged as the new favorite, but the decision by the 6’3, 195-pounder will tilt the national landscape heavily in favor of Ohio State during the 2022 recruiting class.
And it once again puts into perspective the recruiting failures of Texas head coach Tom Herman, who used a significant portion of his Monday press conference to rant about negative recruiting against the Longhorns.
“When you have the things that have been written about us in our program, myself and our future — very unfounded articles that state, again, opinion as fact, that state unnamed sources as being factual, it’s very hard to defend against because if I’m a competing recruiter, what do you do?” Herman asked.
“You press print and you say, ‘Look, this is true. It must be true. It’s on, so and so, OrangeFans.com? It must be true. Or it was written by this guy, so it must be true. Or this source said this, so it must be true. And that is really, really the hard part in recruiting is because there’s these 16-year-old kids are very impressionable. And unfortunately, when negativity gets written — especially unfounded, rumor-based, unnamed source-based negativity gets written — then it makes our competing recruiter’s jobs just so much more easy. They just press print and say, ‘Here you go.’”
The problem is that previous recruiting failures likely impacted the decision by Ewers to end his commitment to Texas, especially at the offensive line position, where Herb Hand has failed to land top prospects in the 2021 class, including the Brockermeyer brothers, whose father played for the Longhorns.
Now the Horns will face an uphill battle to secure top prospects in the 2022 class with Ewers committed to head coach Ryan Day’s program. Texas has struggled to compete with Ohio State in recent years even without a potentially generational quarterback talent from the Lone Star State to make it more difficult. But it just became much more difficult, especially in a recruitment like that of five-star wide receiver Caleb Burton, an Austin-area product.
As FOX analyst Joel Klatt noted on The Herd with Colin Cowherd this week, the recruiting struggles are emerging as a threat to Herman’s job security.
“It’s a problem,” Klatt said. “It certainly wasn’t the case when Mack (Brown) was winning a lot of games. They’ve gotten a lot of good recruiting classes but they’ve lost that luster in the state. It’s not just Oklahoma and Texas A&M. LSU and Alabama have been getting in there. Ohio State… Tom Herman came out and said it’s hurting us in recruiting that there are rumors about Urban Meyer in Texas. You don’t address that. Tom, you don’t address that. Go out there and win games, keep your job, and you’ll be fine.”
But will winning be enough for Herman if the long-term future of the program keeps taking hits like losing out on Ewers?