The brewing battle between Texas A&M’s recruiting resurgence under new head coach Jimbo Fisher and former Big XII rivals Texas and Oklahoma continues apace. On paper, A&M continues to pull away by doubling down in-state, but Texas and Oklahoma are countering by leaving some of their traditional power base in the Lone Star State.
On another big football recruiting weekend in Texas, the Aggies of Texas A&M made the biggest noise by adding offensive tackle Kenyon Green. The Atascocita five-star offensive tackle is ranked as the top-overall recruit in the state of Texas and a top-five offensive tackle nationally. While Green’s commitment is significant in that it shores up the Aggies’ offensive line, it’s almost equally notable in what it does for their standing in the state under Fisher; Texas A&M now has verbal commitments from the state’s top-two players in the Class of 2019.
“I like the new offense they run,” Green told 247 Sports before his commitment. “I could see myself in that for sure. I got to sit down with him again and talk to [Fisher]. It was nice. He’s a great guy.”
Still, it was a holdover who was the true key to Green’s commitment; A&M offensive line coach Jim Turner has stayed on as the conduit between Kevin Sumlin and Jimbo Fisher’s staff, and his involvement in recruiting Green throughout played a pivotal role in his pledge.
The path for Texas to four-star wide receiver Jake Smith was less direct, yet the Notre Dame Prep star chose the Longhorns ahead of west coast powers like USC and Arizona State, not to mention the likes of Alabama, Michigan, Notre Dame and Ohio State.
And while USC was Smith’s runner-up, he said the Longhorns staff and Austin in general felt more like home than Southern California.
“I think it’s a sleeping giant,” Smith told 247 Sports. “They are working their way back up to national championship form. The University of Texas is going to be a powerhouse in college football again in no time.
“I love Coach (Tom) Herman, Coach (Tim) Beck and Coach (Drew) Mehringer. We text on a daily basis. Coach Beck and Coach Mehringer flew out to see me. They are all great guys. I think they are building up that program.
Smith would have been an impressive commitment regardless of his origin, but the fact that he’s not from Texas can be interpreted as either a concerning erosion of the Longhorns’ pull within state or an impressive indicator of Herman’s ability to draw talent from across the country. When seen alongside the rest of the Longhorns’ Class of 2019, which already features a Californian, Georgian and another native of Arizona, Herman’s national reach begins to take sharper focus and form.
A similar case continues to emerge with Oklahoma, where four-star defensive end Joseph Weté pledged to the Sooners from one of Washington D.C.’s powerhouse programs. Weté was the anchor of Gonzaga’s College High’s offensive line in D.C.
“My family and I are very excited,” Wete said. “Oklahoma is an amazing university. So many opportunities to become a better person, athletically and academically. I really like the coaching staff. I also had a great visit.”
Weté’s pledge to Oklahoma marks players from six different states who have decided to join the Sooners. That’s an impressive way to respond if Texas A&M continues to dominate recruiting in the state of Texas.