Ten years ago, the Texas Longhorns won a national championship. Six years ago, they played for another, ultimately losing to Alabama.
It’s been pretty much downhill ever since.
Since 2010, Texas has gone 41-35, including 11-14 under Charlie Strong. This past season, the Longhorns went 5-7 – their worst finish since 1997 (4-7).
The Houston Cougars don’t seem to care. In fact, while Texas has fallen on hard times, Houston has become the class of the Group of Five – both on the field and on the recruiting trail.
“No doubt,” CBS Sports Network recruiting insider Tom Lemming said on CBS Sports Radio’s The DA Show. “Houston is a great area to recruit. If you remember in the old days, they used to do great. When I first started, Houston was a powerhouse of a school in the late-’70s. Then they fell on hard times for the next 25 years, but they’re on their way back.”
Houston currently has 2016 commitments from five-star defensive tackle Ed Oliver and four-star wide receiver Tyrie Cleveland, among others. Both are from Houston, while the vast majority of the class is from the state of Texas.
That’s not a case of head coach Tom Herman being stubborn. That’s a case of head coach Tom Herman being smart.
“I like the way they’re recruiting, particularly obviously in South Texas and particularly in Southeast Texas,” Lemming said. “They go into Louisiana looking for ball players. They’re one of the true teams that go after the 300-mile radius. All the schools say, ‘We’ve got to recruit players within a 300-mile radius.’ Houston is one of the teams that actually sticks to that, while most of them have become national teams right now. But they’re doing well and taking advantage of the Longhorns’ problems, as is Baylor, as is TCU, LSU, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State. They’re all kind of splitting the bounty right now in the state of Texas.”
The Longhorns won at least 10 games in nine straight seasons from 2001 to 2009, but have finished with six wins or fewer in three of the last six seasons, including two straight.
This year’s recruiting class? Meh.
“The Longhorns hopefully can get things turned around by next year,” Lemming said. “Because right now, the class is all right, but it’s nothing that’s going to get them to the top in a hurry.”