Arch Manning shocked the world on Thursday by announcing his commitment to Texas over Georgia, Alabama, and others. Can you put a label on how big the addition of Arch is? And what is this going to do for recruiting?
Daniel Seahorn (@DanielSeahorn) - It is hard to understate what this means not only for Texas recruiting but for Steve Sarkisian and the Texas program as a whole. Getting the endorsement of one of the greatest football families is a huge deal and we are only at the tip of the iceberg for how it will impact Texas in a positive way. The phones of the Texas staff were ringing off the hook minutes after Arch’s commitment with recruits and their families absolutely buzzing. With a big recruiting weekend getting kicked off today don’t be surprised if Texas makes a splash in the near future with several recruits now trending towards the Longhorns.
Gerald Goodridge (@ghgoodridge) - From talking to folks in the recruiting world, it seems like there were always four different ceilings for Texas recruiting this cycle: Arch and a good season, no Arch and a good season, Arch and a poor season, and no Arch and a poor season. Obviously, the ceiling is the highest if you can piece together both the No. 1 QB in the class with the biggest name in quarterbacking as well as showing progress on the field. We all saw the crystal balls start dropping minutes after Arch tried his best to break Twitter, so you can see that the Arch effect is real. Now pair that with an eight or nine win season to show off the trajectory of the program and you can almost guarantee your second top-3 recruiting class. That’s how you build a program. I don’t think it’s too hyperbolic to say that if Texas avoids tripping all over itself on the field, this commitment could set the trajectory of the program under Steve Sarkisian.
Cameron Parker (@camerondparker) - It’s big to me because Arch’s commitment was never about getting the best NIL deals. His commitment is a show of confidence from him and the Manning family that Steve Sarkisian and Texas is the best place in the country to play at and hone his craft before the NFL. Other recruits across the country will see that and begin to flock to Texas. I understand you still have to get him on campus and win some ball games but this along with the Quinn Ewers transfer could change the football program. Also, the last recruit that was rated a perfect 1.000 to come to Austin was Vince Young. That ended pretty well right? Waiter, please refill my kool-aid.
Daniel - I’d say only slightly disappointing because of the preseason expectations, but once the season got into full swing and the pitching issues became what they were I think getting to has to be considered a win. Obviously going two and done in Omaha was frustrating, but I give Pierce and the team credit for circling the wagons in postseason play to make it to the final 8.
Gerald Goodridge- I think that’s the inherent problem with expectations. Based on preseason expectations, yes, this is a disappointment. Based on the fact that Texas lost a key member of its pitching rotation, dropped a few series in conference play as the pitching struggled, and looked like it had a legit shot to be on the road for regionals – this feels like a good, but not great season. The standard for Texas is making it to Omaha, so the fact that they got there feels like it’s a wash at this point.
Cameron - My disappointment is the lack of development in the bullpen and the decline of Aaron Nixon. Remember when Texas got swept by Oklahoma State at home? After that, I thought this was a regional team at best. But credit David Pierce, the bats, and Tristan Stevens for getting Texas to Omaha. However, the pitching was disappointing all post-season with some shaky performances from Pete Hansen and Lucas Gordon despite reaching the College World Series. I’ll never say a season that ends in Omaha is disappointing but the coaching from the pitching staff and the total disappearance of Aaron Nixon is unexcusable.
Pierce didn’t waste any time after the season ended to let go of pitching coach Sean Allen. With Troy Tulowitzki interviewing for head coaching jobs and a sizeable roster turnover incoming, are you concerned for Texas baseball next year?
Daniel - Definitely a bit concerned. Having that kind of turnover on the roster and the coaching staff simultaneously can be really tough to navigate, so I am curious to see how Pierce puts the pieces back together. Reminds me a bit of the LSU football team after they won their last title and there was a mass exodus of players and coaches. Tulo is obviously deserving of getting looks for bigger gigs, but it would be huge if Pierce could retain him if he doesn’t get picked up by another program.
Gerald - Absolutely I am concerned. I think the fact that Texas is becoming a destination for future head coaches is a positive, but that means that Pierce has little margin to reload each year. I am sure he is going to be active in the portal this offseason, trying to add some bulk to both the pitching rotation and the lineup. The thing that gives me the biggest pause is what will losing Sean Allen as a recruiter do to the team’s ability to reload?
Cameron - Yes. Pierce is going to have to hit the portal hard to add more pitching depth and experience with guys like Paul Skenes from Air Force. You’re also losing three of the biggest bats in the lineup in Melendez, Stehly, and Messinger. And I expect more to leave for the big leagues. And not only does Pierce have to replenish the roster, he’ll possibly have to replace two coaches. 2023 will be a big year for David Pierce.
Texas fans would like to forget being eliminated by Texas A&M in Omaha but Aggies fans certainly won’t soon. We’ve talked about what team you would want to beat either in a National Championship or elimination game but is A&M the worst team you want to lose to in a do-or-die situation as a Texas fan?
Daniel - As a Texas fan you never want your in-state rival to have bragging rights in any way, shape, or form and you can turn that energy up by 10 if that rival is Texas A&M. No matter how the season ended for A&M that is something the Aggies will never stop talking about moving forward and it will be used against Texas and their fans at every opportune moment.
Gerald - It sucks to lose to Aggy for any reason in any context. I don’t know what more there is to add to the proceedings.
Cameron - This is how I think about it. Imagine if Texas lost the last football game against A&M? Life would be about 5% less fun not being able to watch Justin Tucker’s game-winning field goal whenever we want. I’m already used to losing to Oklahoma anyways.