The relationships and overall camaraderie that coach Mike Sherman built with Texas A&M’s incoming class, ranked No. 9 in the nation, made many of the 25 recruits want to commit. Some were even discussing the possibility of graduating high school early to enroll in the spring and get a jump on the offseason training.
But mere hours after Texas A&M athletic director Bill Byrne announced the firing of Sherman, those recruits were left with a sour taste in their mouths. The man who they were already calling “their head coach” was out.
It also left several commits, normally outspoken individuals, at a loss for words.
“I’m going to need some time to think about everything,” said Missouri City (Texas) Hightower four-star athlete Bralon Addison.
Houston Westside four-star offensive tackle Germain Ifedi, who decommitted from Missouri to play for Sherman and A&M, simply said, “I need time. This is tough.”
As the recruits sit and wait for what’s going to happen with the coaching search, some said they needed to let everything soak in. On the flip side, there were those who said no matter what, their commitment is solid to the Aggies.
“I loved the Aggies before Coach Sherman. It was always a dream,” said Brenham (Texas) HS four-star offensive tackle Adrian Bellard. “Seeing a guy who offered me a scholarship because he believed in me, it’s hard to see him go. I know he would want me to be an Aggie, so that’s what I’m going to do -- be an Aggie.”
Two other commits, four-star linebacker Jordan Richmond (Denton, Texas/Ryan) and four-star offensive tackle Michael Wilson (Aledo, Texas/Aledo) are still bound for College Station, Texas, barring any outrageous incident.
“I’m still committed and pretty solid,” Richmond said. “I’m just trying to see what happens next.”
Wilson added: “I’m committed to A&M, but I’d still like to meet the new coach.”
Houston coach Kevin Sumlin and Louisville coach Charlie Strong are two names mentioned as potential replacements for Sherman. Sumlin, whose Houston team is one of only two unbeatens left in FBS play, was an assistant at A&M from 2001-02. Strong was a graduate assistant at A&M in 1985. Alabama defensive coordinator Kirby Smart also has been mentioned as a possible replacement.
Four-star quarterback Matt Davis (Houston/Klein Forest) has been the de facto leader of the “Agg Swagg Movement,” a hype-man-type charge fueled through social media focusing on the immense talent of A&M’s incoming class. After hearing the news, he had a chance to speak with Sherman, who wanted him to stay committed and be the voice of reason for those who were wavering.
Even Davis, highly outspoken and full of flair, was left with minimal words Thursday night.
“What a great man,” he said of Sherman.
As of Friday morning, two commits had announced their decommitments. Junior college linebacker Eddie Porter (Brenham, Texas/Blinn College), who said he was pursuing other options and has an offer from and a heavy interest in Iowa State. Porter also holds offers from Arkansas, Mississippi State, Arizona, Baylor and California.
High three-star receiver Marcus Johnson (League City, Texas/Clear Springs) put himself back on the market after choosing A&M following the Aggies’ Thanksgiving game against Texas. The decommitment is his second after he chose A&M over Texas Tech, which he originally committed to in June. Johnson is expected to make an official visit to Texas the weekend of Dec. 9.
Sherman was 6-6 this season and finished 25-25 in four seasons as A&M’s head coach. The Aggies, who lost four of their last five games, opened the season ranked among the top 10.