Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Recruiting in Texas

I get asked this a lot and have heard it twice in the last two weeks. People want to know why Sam Houston can't recruit a top quarterback straight out of high school.

With the exception of Brett Hicks, all the top quarterbacks at Sam Houston since 1999 have been transfers. Chris Chaloupka (Oklahoma State), Josh McCown (SMU), Dustin Long (Texas A&M) and Rhett Bomar (Oklahoma) were all transfers and all had or have had in the case of Rhett, great careers.

What people don't understand is truly how difficult it is to recruit a quarterback in the state of Texas. You are not just competing against the other Texas schools, you are competing against the nation when it comes to quarterbacks.

I was listening to Rivals Radio this morning and they had a recruiting expert on the show. The topic of quarterbacks came up and he started talking about Texas. He said there are 20 to 25 quarterbacks in the state of Texas who are going to get FBS scholarships this year and that number is only going to go up in the years to follow.

Take a look at the landscape of college football right now and everyone is going to the spread. One of the reasons Texas has become such a hotbed for quarterback recruiting is because so many high schools have switched to this offense. Also, because 7-on-7 has become so big in Texas and kids are learning how to sit back and play pitch and catch.

If you look at college football, there are countless numbers of quarterbacks who are from Texas. In fact, I decided to take a look. I pulled the list of the top 120 quarterbacks in the nation in terms of passing yards and here is the list of guys from Texas:

1. Graham Harrell, Texas Tech, Ennis Tx
3. Case Keenum, Houston Abilene, TX
4. Chase Daniel, Missouri, Southlake Carroll
6. Chase Clement, Rice, Alamo Heights
9. Todd Reesing, Kansas, Austin Westlake
10. Colt McCoy, Texas,Tuscola, TX
13. Matthew Stafford, Georgia, Highland Park, TX
15. Chase Holbrook, New Mexico St, Hurst TX
16. Bo Levi Mitchell, SMU, Katy TX
19. Casey Dick, Arkansas, Allen TX
21. Giovanni Vizza, N Texas , San Antonio, TX
26. Trevor Vittatoe, UTEP, Bedford, TX
27. Jerrod Johnson, Texas A&M, Humble, TX
34. Brian Johnson, Utah, Baytown Lee TX
51. Jevan Snead, Ole Miss, Stephenville, Tx
56. Robert Griffin, Baylor Copperas Cove, Tx
61. Andy Dalton, TCU Katy, TX
67. Kevin Moore, Tulane Highland Village, Tx
74. Jarrett Lee, LSU, Brenham Tx
80. Christian Ponder, Florida St, Colleyville, Tx
86. Daniel Raudabaugh, Miami (OH), Coppel, Tx
112. Nick Stephens, Tennessee Flower Mound

That is 22 guys in the top 112 who played high school ball in Texas, nearly 20 percent. The list is very top heavy with Texas guys, with six of the top 10 and 14 of the top 34.

That is why schools from across the nation are coming into Texas to recruit, which makes it increasingly more difficult to pull some of the top talent in Texas to Sam Houston State. Fact of the matter is, kids in Texas will almost always be drawn to the allure of "big-time college football."

Even if it is UNLV, Miami Ohio, Utah or New Mexico State, 18-year-olds are going to be more inclined to take a look at an FBS school even if they may be a better fit at Sam Houston, where the offense is tailored for a quarterback to shine. Part of it is ignorance and part of it is arrogance. They can tell their classmates they got a scholarship to play "Division I" football.

While I don't think the answer is to stop recruiting the best talent you can get to play quarterback, you have to always have your eye open for a transfer. Too many people make that to sound like a negative, like that is all you can get. However, what needs to be done is go after that talent and then hope after a year or two has passed those kids will realize they have made a mistake and opt to come back to a school that had been recruiting them all along.

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