Matt Rhule hasn’t been at Baylor long, but he’s already figured out that any success he’s able to sustain in Waco will come down to his ability to recruit and attract the best talent in Texas.
That Lone Star focus was brought into even higher relief during a Texas high school football coaches event on Tuesday, when Rhule laid down the most aggressive pro-Texas high school football stance yet, insisting that he and his staff will not even set foot on campus at high schools that recruit players out of the state of Texas.
The stance is notable in its extremity. While many of Rhule’s high school counterparts have been critical of the border raiding of IMG Academy and other programs, Rhule is the first at a power program to assert what is essentially a unilateral ban on IMG prospects.
As Football Scoop noted, one of Rhule’s native Texan hires could be a significant influence on the new stance, too. The Bears’ new associate athletic director for football relations is former San Antonio Regan head coach David Wetzel. It was Wetzel who was burned by the late transfer of quarterback Kellen Mond to IMG, with Mond later decommitting from Baylor in favor of Texas A&M in the aftermath of the school’s sexual assault scandal.
With Wetzel on staff at Baylor, perhaps it’s no surprise that the IMG grudge has continued, in super-sized form at that. The bigger question now is whether any other college program takes the bait, and whether Rhule’s stance helps or hurts his efforts to sustain a Baylor program that was on the verge of competing for a national title just three years ago.