Longhorns preparing to sign a recruiting class filled with blue-chippers, but not nearly as large as last year’s class


Elisabeth Dillon

Johnathan Gray, running back.

Michael Marks

By Jan. 23 2012, Texas had put together a veritable recruiting masterpiece.

24 out of 28 members of the class of 2012 had already verbally committed to Texas, including a slew of hand-picked blue chip recruits.  

“I feel like we took a huge step forward toward where we want to get with this class,” head coach Mack Brown said of the 2012 class during his Feb. 1 National Signing Day press conference. A year later, however, the glowing enthusiasm for Texas recruiting seems to have largely diminished. With two weeks until National Signing Day, Texas has struggled to fill the last remaining spots for the class of 2013. Monday’s verbal commitment of offensive tackle Desmond Harrison, a highly-regarded junior college prospect, marked a first for the Longhorns after three months of decommitments and lost recruiting battles.

The energy and momentum of the 2012 class has fled, replaced by an emerging, uneasy sentiment that Texas’ vaunted position as the state’s flagship football school is slipping away.

When juxtaposing the 2012 and 2013 classes as a whole, however, a very different picture comes into focus. Despite the obvious differences in size and public perception, on balance, the two classes are more alike than different.

Notably, both the 2012 and 2013 classes are concentrated around linemen and defensive backs. Fifteen out of 28 commitments in the 2012 class and eight out of 14 in the 2013 class play either on the line or in the secondary.

The two classes are also rated to be similar in quality. According to rivals.com, the 2013 class’ average star rating is 3.71, compared to 3.64 for the 2012 class. 

It’s important to note that while rivals.com ranks the 2012 class as the second-best class in the nation, respectively, the 2013 class clocks in at 19th by the same service. The difference in size between the two classes accounts for this disparity, as rivals.com considers the total number of commitments into its rankings, rather than the average rating of each player.

Even if this year’s class is just as talented as last year’s, that doesn’t mean that the class of 2013 will see the field as often as the 2012 freshmen did.

Twelve players from the 2012 class were listed on the two-deep for Texas’ last regular season game against Kansas State, with several others seeing significant playing time throughout the season. Consequently, the state of the depth chart makes it unlikely that as many members of the incoming class will play during their first year at Texas.

Even if the 2013 class fails to make an impact as quickly as the 2012 class did, history hints that big things are in store for it nonetheless. Of the 15 members of the class of 2005 (the last time Texas recruited a class of less than 20 players), seven have played in the NFL — the highest percentage of any class in the Mack Brown era. Members of the class of 2005 were freshmen or redshirted during Texas’ most recent championship season.

This isn’t to say that the 2013 class will assuredly reach the heights of its 2005 or even 2012 predecessors. Just a reminder, rather, of the class’ potential — and that doom and gloom before any of them have played a down may be a bit unwarranted.

Published on January 23, 2013 as "Signing day draws near".