If you believe in recruiting rankings, Texas is hauling in all the State's top talent. Literally all of it. Texas currently hold either signatures or commitments from eleven of the top 20 rated recruits according to 24/7. A&M holds commitments from three. No other Texas school holds commits from a player in the top 20.
If you want to discount recruiting rankings, you do so at your peril. Recruiting services are getting better and better at evaluating talent. The days of forged 40 times and inflated weights are gone. Offseason combines poke and prod players to get accurate measurables, and digital media allows almost anyone to view the tape. Coaches and evaluators don't have to drive four hours to evaluate someone, the mysteries of the universe are revealed.
Still, you can debate the rankings; you can't debate the recruiting. Tom Herman said he would remake Texas football on the recruiting trail and that's exactly what he's done. A&M, TCU, and Baylor are grabbing players, but they're all miles behind what's happening in Austin. That's great news for Austin, bad news for everyone else. But it's not new, this is what Texas has done for 50 years. Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.
If the Longhorns can transition the recruiting rankings into wins on the field, and that's no guarantee, then Tom Herman's rebuild will be complete. Texas ranks third in the 24/7 team rankings, TCU comes in at 21st, A&M at 23rd, and Baylor at 24th. Let's remember both A&M and Texas have been in these lofty positions before, in recent years, and that talent accumulation hasn't translated on the field.
In a global sense, Texas' historic in-state haul, doesn't bode well for the rest of the Texas Power 5 schools. For all of Baylor's rebirth, or maybe birth, and TCU's continued excellence under Gary Patterson, the Longhorn brand still reigns in the hearts and minds of seventeen-year-olds, even if the results on the field are mediocre. There's a saying, "Texas is still Texas," and it's true. For all the shiny new stadiums in Fort Worth, Waco, College Station, and Houston, for as much as A&M wanted to run the state, Texas is still Texas. The Texas brand still resonates.
Mack Brown, for most of his career at Texas, could pick and choose the elite talent from inside the state. The results on the field spoke for themselves. Texas finished first or second in the Big 12 South in thirteen of his sixteen years. Darrell Royal had his pick of Texas' top players. For a time so did Fred Akers. Other caretakers have failed to maintain the level that the program has historically enjoyed.
Texas, as a program, has every resource, more than 99% of its fellow FBS competitors, but it needs a caretaker, someone who won't let weeds grow or rust develop. It's not hard to recruit to Texas, and if you're good at it, you'll be able to compete for National Titles. Since 1957 the Longhorns have won 72% of their conference games and 71% of their games overall. No one else in the state comes close to that.
That's Herman's charge now, to take his wealth of assembled talent to turn it into a consistent winner. That's the real test of a Texas head coach.