Texas’ hiring of Tom Herman will have a major impact on the Longhorns’ success on the recruiting trail.
The Tom Herman era has officially begun in Austin, and it’s not a moment too soon.
Charlie Strong has done a great job as a head coach and as a recruiter throughout the majority of his career, though the former simply wasn’t true while with Texas. With Strong at the helm, the Longhorns went 16-21, a mark that was ultimately his undoing.
However, he did recruit well at Texas. When he was hired, Strong had less than a month to close out the 2014 class; the Longhorns finished at No. 15 in the recruiting class rankings. In 2015, they finished No. 7, and Strong’s final class was ranked No. 3 in the nation.
Currently, though, Texas sits at No. 39 in the 2017 rankings with seven total commits. Now, it’s Herman who is tasked with salvaging what’s left of the cycle.
There are many who are in favor of the Longhorns’ decision to hire Herman, who was once a graduate assistant at Texas, and that includes some of the current Texas commits.
Three-star prospect Kobe Boyce, the No. 5-ranked cornerback in the state of Texas, spoke with Campus Insiders and expressed his excitement regarding his future head coach.
“I think it was a great hire, and everything is good,” Boyce said before praising Herman’s character. “I like that he’s straight up [with you].”
When Herman was introduced as Texas’ head coach, he made it clear he intends to dominate the recruiting trail with the Longhorns thanks to his experience in the Lone Star State.
“I’ve recruited this state for 20-some-odd years. I’ve grown up with the high school football coaches in this great state,” Herman said before transitioning to how he’ll bring recruits to Austin.
“I think the sales pitch will be that there is talent here. You’re gonna’ be playing with some talented players, and you’re gonna’ be the best trained team in America. You’re gonna’ be physically and mentally tough. You’re gonna’ be the most physically and mentally tough team on the field. Never once, have I ever seen a football coach ever hoist a championship trophy — whether it be Super Bowl, college, conference trophy, it doesn’t matter — and [you] say ‘Coach, how did you win this championship?’ And they said, ‘You know, we out-finessed them.’ That’s never come out of any coach’s mouth, ever.”
And Herman was not wrong. The Longhorns do have some talented players to build around, including quarterback Shane Buechele, linebacker Malik Jefferson and safety Brandon Jones, to name a few.
That’s a message that certainly resonates with prospects, including Boyce.
“He’s gonna’ convince everyone that we’re gonna’ win games because that’s what he does,” Boyce said. “We have a good shot at making a good bowl game next year, I think.”
Four-star defensive end Lagaryonn Carson has been committed to Texas since October of 2015, and even though he was a big fan of Strong, he loved the hiring of Herman.
“It was a good hire. I’m excited and ready to rock burnt orange,” he said before explaining why he likes Herman. “[He’s] young with swagger. That’s big with recruits, and from what I hear, he is big family man, so that’s always good.”
Carson also believes Texas’ stock with recruits will skyrocket once the Longhorns are winning again.
“It will take off,” he said of Texas recruiting. “Recruits love him, and when we pick up these wins, he won’t have to sell anything about Texas. Everyone will see.”
Carson has been one of the program’s biggest recruiters — along with 4-star quarterback Sam Ehlinger. However, that time has come to an end. By now, in his eyes, you’re either going to hook ’em or be hooked.
“I haven’t talked with anyone but Sam, but I’m pretty much done recruiting,” Carson said. “If you wanna’ be great, [come to Texas]. If not, we gotta’ keep pushing. Now, if coach [Herman] wants met to chat with a few savages, I’m down.”
With Herman in the picture, the Longhorns could surge in the minds of many recruits — especially if the new coach of the Longhorns fills his staff with like-minded, dynamic recruiters.
The offensive-minded Herman could make a big splash by turning his attention to a couple of in-state, 4-star wide receivers in Omar Manning and Jalen Reagor, both of whom are currently committed to TCU. The Horned Frogs can offer a pass friendly offense and 4-star quarterback commit Shawn Robinson, but the Longhorns do have Buechele’s impressive freshman season to boast. Buechele completed 60.4 percent of his passes for 2,958 yards, 21 touchdowns and 11 interceptions this season. That’s a nice building block to lean on.
The real power move, however, would come on the defensive side of the ball.
Five-star prospect Baron Browning, the No. 2 outside linebacker and No. 25 overall player in the nation, delayed his commitment after he was scheduled to announce on Nov. 29 following his visit to Ohio State for the Buckeyes’ 30-27 overtime win over rival Michigan.
Could the Kennedale, Texas native be eyeing the Longhorns as a possible suitor? If so, it would take an in-home visit and a lot of work from Herman to nab Browning, considering the prospect has already used up his other four official visits at UCLA, Florida State, Alabama and Michigan.
Five-star recruit Marvin Wilson was also at Ohio State this past weekend. The No. 1 defensive tackle and No. 11 overall player in the 2017 class is from Bellaire, Texas, and an official visit to Austin would not be out of the question. Oklahoma and FSU have also received official visits, and LSU is in the mix for one as well.
Adding Wilson and/or Browning would headline a prolific first class for Herman. And it would set the Longhorns up for future success on the recruiting trail — not to mention a nasty front seven that would also include Carson and 4-star defensive end Taquon Graham, who committed in August.
It may happen. It may not. But it’s at least possible now that Herman is in the driver’s seat.