Applewhite weighs in on early commits

There’s a Texas connection to this story about the continued acceleration of early commitments, evidenced by more than 50 members (out of 300) among the ESPN Watch List, released Thursday, for the Class of 2014.

UT pledge Lorenzo Joe (Abilene, Texas/Cooper) is quoted, in addition to Texas target Nick Watkins of Dallas Bishop Dunne and Texas A&M commit Cedric Collins of Dallas Skyline.

Texas co-offensive coordinator and running backs coach Major Applewhite weighed in on the issue of early pledges and discussed the dilemma UT faced this year in extending scholarship offers to prospects before their junior seasons – a new practice for the Longhorns.

Here's a sampling of Applewhite comments that did not appear in the article:

He described the NCAA rules as “antiquated” that limit contact between college coaches and young prospects about whom decisions must now be made.

As offers from UT recruiting rivals accumulated for rising-junior prospects over the summer, Texas’ opted to join the party. It collected five commitments for 2014 in August.

Regardless, Applewhite said, the task is difficult to evaluate prospects at such a young age.

“I know he’s big. I know he’s fast on tape,” Applewhite said. “I know he’s got 25 great plays from his sophomore year. But I haven’t talked to his trainer about how many injuries he’s had. And I don’t know if this kid loves football.

"I don’t know many businesses that operate like that, where you hire people without talking to them,” Applewhite said. “When you’re taking these commitments so early, there’s very little on the docket as far as what they’ve done on the field, off the field. Many of these kids haven’t faced adversity.”