In the beginning it was Jake Raulerson who had to wait.
Forty-five minutes passed as he and his father tapped their feet in the Texas coaches’ offices in the spring of 2011. But the 6-foot-5, 250-pound lineman from the tiny town (Celina, Texas) just wanted to make his presence known. This was the only way he knew how.
So he waited.
Ten months later Texas did not have to wait on him. Raulerson became the first commitment of the 2013 class. It was a long climb in a short time for the player who had just wanted to make sure Texas offensive line coach Stacy Searels knew his name and had his tape that spring day.
From that day to this, Raulerson became one of the top players in the class of 2013. When he committed to Texas, Raulerson held offers from many big-name schools in the country.
Now Texas has turned to him to be the lead recruiter in 2013, the player who not only elevates the class to top-five status, but helps bring in the players to do just that. This is what was explained to him as he sat at the breakfast table with Mack and Sally Brown as well as Texas president Bill Powers and his wife, Kim, two weeks ago. This is to be his role for 2013.
Beyond that no one yet knows what Raulerson’s role will be for the Texas football team. Undoubtedly he will be one of the top freshmen of the 2103 class. If his performance in Texas’ camp over the summer is any indication, Raulerson could have a shot at playing time as a true freshman.
It was in that 2011 summer camp where Raulerson showed just how dominant he could be. Player after player from the class of 2012 lined up against the younger Raulerson. Most were beaten. Badly.
After that display, Brown told Raulerson he would have his pick of colleges, he just hoped Texas would be at the top. That Texas did finish at the top, and grabbed that spot so early in the process, was maybe more important this year than in the past.
Texas A&M, with its new coach Kevin Sumlin, has grabbed some significant talent within the state. While Raulerson is rated as the state’s top prospect by ESPNU, the Aggies have commitments from quarterback Kohl Stewart (Houston/St. Pius X), who is rated just behind Raulerson, as well as two top-100 wide receivers in Jamar Gibson (Sterling, Texas/Sterling) and Derrick Griffin (Terry, Texas/Terry).
With Sumlin breathing some life into the Aggies, particularly on the offensive side of the ball, and TCU now able to claim it is one a level playing field, at least on Saturdays, with Texas, the Longhorns could face more competition for the top in-state prospect than it has in the past.
But what the Raulerson commitment allows is for Texas to show other recruits that it is still dominant in the state, it is still going to be grab the top player in the state and that it is still committed to building the program back to where it had been for the first decade of this century.
That will be the message, whether overtly or covertly, at the first junior day at Texas Feb. 12. The class is going to be significantly smaller than the 28 taken in 2012.
Because of that Texas, doesn’t have the time to wait on a prospect. If most are like Raulerson, the Longhorns won’t have to.