At least Garrett Wilson grew up in Columbus.
In the 2022 cycle, Del Valle wide receiver Caleb Burton, a consensus five-star prospect ranked as the No. 15 player nationally, according to the 247Sports Composite rankings, is also headed to Columbus to join Southlake Carroll quarterback Quinn Ewers, the former Longhorns pledge who announced his commitment to the Buckeyes last Wednesday.
Burton grew up in the Houston area before his father took the head coaching job at Del Valle in 2013.
Monday’s decision from the 6’0, 165-pounder merely marks the first major pledge influenced by Ewers, but it won’t be the last — the best-case scenario for Texas is that the national prospects that Ohio State will bring into the fold thanks to the commitment from Ewers won’t also be major targets for the Longhorns like Burton.
There aren’t any more five-star wide receiver prospects in the Austin area to leave for Ohio State, at least. Of course, that’s the huge problem here, exacerbated by the fact that Burton’s father is not only a current high school coach who spent years as the defensive coordinator at Fort Bend Dulles, he also played linebacker at Syracuse.
Plenty of families make the best decisions possible for their sons based on the information they receive and their ability to navigate a difficult process for which they may or may not have relevant life experience upon which to draw, but not many families can approach that process with the depth of understanding possessed by a family like the Burtons.
And that makes the vote of no confidence in the local flagship program even more problematic for the Longhorns.
Burton’s decision, like decisions by Ewers and 2021 stud Billy Bowman, now committed to Oklahoma, illustrates the extent to which embattled Texas head coach Tom Herman doesn’t completely control his own destiny by winning on the field. The reality is that recruits are currently determining the program’s long-term future in deciding whether or not Herman’s much-cherished truth telling is believable.
So Herman can stand in front of the podium on a Monday afternoon and claim that his notably silent boss has given him a vote of confidence in private, but sometimes on a Monday evening or a Wednesday evening, recruits make their own voices heard.
What they are saying, loudly and clearly, is as inescapable as the eyes of Texas.