AUSTIN, Texas — At the approximate address of 34433 Katy FWY in Brookshire, Texas with an optimal viewing location of the right side of the eastbound lane, Texas Longhorns quarterback signee Trey Owens looks down on traffic in a burnt orange jersey beside the lettering, “Trey Owens —— is a Texas Longhorn”.
It was one of the billboards the Longhorns commissioned for members of the 2024 class.
“How cool was that?” Texas head coach Steve Sarkisian asked near the end of his Early Signing Day press conference on Wednesday.
“I love you guys saw that, but those billboards are awesome, by the way.”
It was an idea crafted by the Texas recruiting department, led by Director of Recruiting Operations Taylor Searels and Recruiting Operations Coordinator Kyndal Perry.
“It’s brilliant,” one NIL agent told On3. “Usually, billboards are reserved for Heisman Trophy candidates. This sure is something. It’ll help the players begin to build their NIL brand with Texas fans.”
But as Sarkisian and Searels billed it, the billboards weren’t about building the NIL brand of the new signees or a new frontier in recruiting — it was about celebrating the signees and the entire communities that helped them achieve their goals of playing college football.
“We were putting those billboards up to celebrate them in their hometowns. All these kids when they grow up, the whole community raises them — their high school coaches, their little league coaches, their teachers, their principals, their moms and dads or aunts or uncles, all these people in that community,” said Sarkisian.
“To celebrate them and to celebrate their community that they’re coming to University of Texas, that’s a heck of an honor that not just that young man is getting, but everybody in that community that put in a lot of work and time and effort and driving them to games and workouts and things and so that wasn’t a recruiting tool for them — they’re already signed with us — it was more about celebrating them and their community.”