If conference realignment is going to drastically change how many top recruits leave the state of Texas, it hasn’t happened yet.
Of the state’s top 50 prospects for the 2013 class, 21 are currently committed to out-of-state programs. That might seem like a high number, but it’s right on par with the four-year average (20) between 2009 and 2012.
All but three of those 50 have already committed, and one -- Katy Cinco Ranch running back Jamel James -- will likely push that number to 22.
The trend holds up with the elite prospects of that group, too. Four of the state’s top 10 prospects and 10 of its top 25 are currently committed to leaving Texas to play their college ball. Again, that’s awful close to the recent four-year averages of 3 and 10.
What does that mean, exactly? While Texas A&M’s conference move did motivate most SEC schools to hit the state harder than ever with offers and visits, the results haven’t been exceedingly significant so far.
That being said, the results are somewhat promising. For out-of-state schools, this was actually a bit of a bounce-back year after the numbers were quite skewed in 2012.
Last year, only one of the top 10, five of the top 25 and 11 of the top 50 left Texas. That list includes No. 1 prospect and Florida State signee Mario Edwards Jr., but few other big names followed.
The difference? Oklahoma signed only one top-50 prospect that year. Oklahoma State has pledges from six in 2013 but only signed three in 2012. And for the first time in years, Nebraska didn’t land any after netting three the previous year.
The Sooners have shifted to a more national focus in recruiting in recent years, but they’ve come back and landed 11 Texans for 2013. Nebraska’s ties to the state are fraying since leaving for the Big Ten, but the Huskers did grab the state’s No. 5 ranked running back Adam Taylor from Katy this year.
Another factor: Rising programs TCU and Baylor signed a combined seven top-50 prospects last year and are set to land five this year. Their rise to relevance in the Big 12 has the potential to help offset the SEC’s increased investment in Texas.
LSU has always had a strong foothold in Texas. Alabama, Florida, Ole Miss and others are making progress, building bonds now that will land the big fish in the years to come.
Still, a top Texas high school prospect has to turn down five major Texas programs first. Texas A&M, TCU and Baylor are enjoying heydays. Texas and Texas Tech are rising.
Opting to leave the state of Texas could become more popular in the years to come. But saying no to in-state schools isn’t getting any easier.