This man is smiling for a reason.
Texas committed it's first athlete from the 2014 class, Abilene Cooper Athlete/WR Lorenzo Joe.
Joe is a fine prospect and a good get for the Longhorns, but this move signals a much deeper change for Mack Brown's recruiting paradigm. From HornsNation:
Joe originally gave his verbal pledge to Texas after being approved for a 2014 offer at the Longhorns’ June 10 camp. At the time, UT coaches told him he’d have to wait until February for that pledge to become official.
Right. Standard practice. But we've seen teams like LSU, OU, Alabama, Oregon, and Texas A&M get into recruit's heads early by offering them as early as their sophomore years. Although Texas often makes up that ground later, it's getting increasingly difficult as more schools do it, and their negative recruiting tactics create a sense of unanimity that "Texas just isn't that interested in you, but we've liked you from the start."
But change is a'comin':
But on Thursday, Texas coaches swiftly changed course in their long-held beliefs on early offers. Even Joe was surprised when he got the call from Davis.
This is kind of a big deal. Clearly the staff sees the landscape changing and, once accustomed to shaping that landscape, we're now forced to adapt to it. And in so doing, we're back in the point position.
There are downsides to this adaptation, which I'll explore later, but it's based largely around the fact that player development projection is incredibly difficult for 15 and16 year olds (to amuse yourself, check out some early sophomore and junior lists from years past and see how their development and final school choices played out - lots of them stuck, but several faded).
Our competitors adapt to uneven or slow development from a commitment by simply dropping the players that don't grow their game. That's something Texas hasn't done, and it doesn't fit with us culturally.
Yet. We'll see how we play this. My early guess: we move early to lock up the bluest of the blue and wait on the rest.
Welcome Lorenzo Joe. And welcome to the Brave New World of Texas recruiting.