On Wednesday, Aggie fans everywhere watched as Charlie Strong and Texas landed blue-chip recruit after blue-chip recruit. By the end of signing day, Texas had launched from a mid-30’s ranking past A&M to #11 nationally. Jeffrey McCulloch, Erick Fowler, Jordan Elliott, Jean Delance, Chris Daniels, Eric Cuffee, Demarco Boyd, Denzel Okafor, and D’Andre Christmas-Giles all held A&M offers, and they all picked Texas instead of A&M.
But the biggest upset of all was Brandon Jones. Jones had grown up an Aggie fan his whole life and was considered over the past two years to be a lock to A&M. The #1 safety in the nation cooled on A&M due to the perceived instability of two 5-star quarterbacks exiting the program in December.
When dust had settled, Charlie Strong led head-to-head against Kevin Sumlin 10-8 on recruits with offers to both schools. What’s worse is Charlie Strong did it coming off of a 5-7 season.
Sumlin had won the head-to-head against Texas every year since 2013, and this year should have been no different. A&M had a much better offense, defense, special teams, and overall record during the 2015 season, yet it still didn’t matter. The top recruits in Texas chose to either go play for Charlie Strong or other SEC West teams.
As frustrating as it was to lose many of those top recruits to a team that didn’t even make a bowl game, the prominent issue is actually in A&M’s own division. The SEC West continues to recruit at an astounding rate. Since 2013, Sumlin’s first full recruiting cycle, the division has broken down as follows.
So even though A&M recruiting is better than it has ever been, it is still only middle of the pack in the SEC West. And we wonder why we haven’t won more than 4 conference games the past 3 seasons.
The cold hard truth is that it simply isn’t good enough. Aggie alumni have gone all in on A&M football building state of the art facilities and a $450 million stadium renovation. They have given Sumlin a fat $5 million/year contract along with allowing him to hire the highest paid defensive coordinator in the nation and one of the top paid offensive coordinators. The money and the backing are there, but the results are not.
If Sumlin can’t leverage those resources on the recruiting front and during the season, the new Athletic Director will find someone who will.