The players are coming to Austin, Texas, thanks to a 17-year-old pied piper by the name of Arch Manning.
Since the latest member of America’s first family of quarterbacks announced his plans to sign as part of Texas' 2023 recruiting class, the dominos have all been falling in the Longhorns’ favor.
Future Texas teams will be loaded, and we will find out in a hurry if coach Steve Sarkisian can apply some winning gloss to a talented locker room. Gone are the days of saying Texas doesn’t have enough in its arsenal to compete with the big boys in the Big 12 and, yes, the SEC.
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Sark is winning in the summer. As a result, already enlarged expectations for the fall are increasing exponentially.
Bergen (New Jersey) Catholic four-star defensive lineman Sydir Mitchell is the latest pledge, announcing Sunday that he had chosen Texas over Georgia, Texas A&M and Miami, adding to a recruiting class that’s currently regarded as No. 2 in the nation.
Championships aren’t won in July, but the Longhorns should be feeling pretty spry with the abundance of talent that’s set to arrive here, even if some have the unmitigated gall to say Texas is (gulp) buying players.
Schools have been laying out heavy bread for the best prep talent for the better part of 50 years, the only difference now being that the table has been turned over. Those dollars that were once handed out underneath have become legally tendered transactions for all to see.
Just like Texas A&M, which caught some criticism from Alabama coach Nick Saban after landing a great recruiting class, Texas can expect it to come from all angles. I’d rather just give the program supporters and check writers credit for navigating this new way of doing business in the NIL era.
The collectives and nonprofits — whatever you want to call them — have changed the recruiting game forever, and the people around the program have deftly used their sizable financial muscle to fortify a program that hasn’t had a regular season with double-digit wins since losing in the 2009 national championship game to Alabama.
Fifty grand per offensive lineman? A reported $10 million pledged to the Clark Field Collective, established by Longhorns supporters to further the program? These are necessary developments to keep Texas relevant in national living rooms, especially when the school makes that move to the SEC.
If the current way of conducting business is what it takes to get wins, I would suggest the critics congratulate instead of hate, dollar signs be damned. Sarkisian still had to go into those homes and persuade moms and dads to take Texas’ package over the others.
In a much simpler time, Mack Brown built his program in a more conventional fashion. The year after Heisman Trophy winner Ricky Williams started with the signings of prized 1999 recruits Chris Simms and Cory Redding. One year later, a three-headed receiving monster of Roy Williams, B.J. Johnson and Sloan Thomas arrived.
After that, linebacker Derrick Johnson and running back Cedric Benson. Then quarterback Vince Young and many others.
It’s a new landscape, and we’re about to find out if Sarkisian has the chops to coach up players he got to buy in to his vision over other name programs. He must win while moving ever forward while the critics line up to pour salt on his recruiting acumen.
Comedian Katt Williams had a great line when describing how one should handle those bashers.
"A hater’s job is to hate," Williams said. "Ladies, if you’ve got 14 women hating on you, you need to figure out how to get to 16 before the summer gets here."
I deleted the adult language, but you get the gist.
Texas football, if they’re ripping you for landing these four- and five-star recruits, then you must be doing something right.
This article originally appeared on Austin American-Statesman: Texas can shrug off haters now that it has pied piper Arch Manning