Monday was a bad day for Texas A&M recruiting. We lost two key players from an otherwise pretty solid 2017 recruiting class. It's not the end of the world, and it is only August (more on that later), but it's something to be aware of.
Let's try and break them down a little bit to figure out what's really going on here.
Creed Humphrey, 4* Center from Shawnee, OK
Losing this guy sucks. He was arguably the best center in the country, and it was a total coup by Jim Turner to land him. But if there's one decommit you shouldn't stress, it's this one. There was little our coaches could do. Creed is an Oklahoma kid who we somehow convinced to leave...but now he's staying at home to play for a Sooner team fresh off a playoff appearance, a Big XII title, and an AP Top 5 ranking.
Not a huge surprise that the Sooners managed to get him in the fold.
I'm confident in Turner's ability to both scout/coach up talent, though. We might not find someone as highly ranked as Creed, but we'll be ok.
Devodrick "Buddy" Johnson, 4* ATH from Dallas, TX
This one hurts for a variety of reasons. First, this staff has struggled to recruit really good LB's. We've gotten a few over the years (and we have a very good one this year committed in Santino Marchiol), but it seems like we're playing from behind on almost every other blue chip LB in the state. And after signing 1 LB last year in Tyrel Dodson...that's not a good thing.
Johnson decommitted immediately after visiting the Longhorns, which should indicate his next move. While we've struggled mightily to land blue chip LB's, Charlie Strong's horns have been able to land them left and right -- and recruits notice stuff like that. It seems like Johnson is the Horns back up play for Ken Murray (who is likely to commit to the Sooners), and we were the odd man out on both.
Editor's note: Ken Murray committed to the Sooners earlier today.
A few other thoughts:
Chalk talk: Listen, no player is going to decommit solely because of chalk talk. Especially when it's not their position coach on stage. Chalk talk was embarrassing, but it also gave rival coaches an easy excuse to feed players leaning away from A&M.
Incidents like chalk talk and the Moorehead tweets aren't enough to steer players away, but they can certainly cloud a players judgement about the long-term stability of our coaches.
Front seven recruiting: Our defensive line this year is going to be really, really good. We've got four stars backing up five stars across the board. In 2017, despite losing Garrett and Hall, we should still be pretty darn good. That's possible because we were damn near 100% on landing elite defensive line talent from 2012-2015.
Our 2016 class was solid enough with Madubuike and TD Moton, but man we really need to pick it up for 2017 given that we have no DL committed. And this isn't just about having warm bodies...this is about having 4/5 stars in the fold.
"It's August": Yes, it's August and it's way too early to be concerned with recruiting. As with every year, there's going to be players that come and go during the season, and it's going to finish with a frantic race to the end. But the summer is a good time for us to find out who has really deep interest, and who seems likely to make it to signing day. It's a pretty decent litmus test about what you need to do for the season.
The Season: There is so much riding on this season. If we get 10 wins, then all is well and recruiting should reflect our on field success. 9 wins? We struggle a bit, but still come out ok. 8 wins? We're kinda screwed. At that point, we start to look like an 8 win program that somehow magically won 11 in 2012.
Anything fewer than 8 and we see a coaching change.
The good news is that we have the talent and coaching (i think) to win 9-10. We have the players (and facilities) that we need to be successful. It's now up to the coaches to perform and get the job done.
Moral of the story?
Dont worry too much about these decommits, but don't immediately dismiss them, either. For the first time in Sumlin's career, there is no amount of style that can overcome substance on the field. Recruits know we have cool uniforms and great facilities. They now want to see whether we can win consistently.
Do that, and the recruits will take notice.