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January 21, 2012
Texas hasn't had any trouble getting out-of-state recruits to commit to the school in recent years.
Getting them to sign Letters of Intent? That's been another story.
Since 2005, three five-star recruits and two highly sought-after four-star recruits have reneged on their verbal commitments to the school.
That trend may be changing.
Connor Brewer, a four-star quarterback from Scottsdale (Ariz.) Chaparral, made a verbal commitment to the Longhorns last February. Since then, several recruiters attempted to get Brewer to reconsider - even pointing out that the school has a commitment from a Texas quarterback, three-star athlete Jalen Overstreet of Tatum.
It didn't work.
"There has been some (recruiters) here and there whether in-state or Pac-12 schools that were trying to talk to me, especially when Texas took a second quarterback," Brewer said. "They bring up all that stuff. I don't listen to that.
"When (Texas) offered me on the day of the Super Bowl last year, I went through the top three or four schools and the pros and cons of each place. The area of Austin, the coaches, the facilities, the players there, the potential recruiting class - it was a no-brainer. I committed and never changed my mind. I know they've had a couple of big-name guys change their mind, but not me, though."
Brewer's commitment was so firm that he enrolled at Texas earlier this week.
That has continued a recent streak of luck the Longhorns have had with out-of-state prospects.
[ More Texas: OrangeBloods.com ]
"When Hicks committed late everybody kind of knew all along Texas was the school he wanted to be at inside his heart," said Jason Suchomel of Orangebloods.com. "Everybody knew it was going to be tough to get him out of the state of Ohio, but he had a long-standing relationship with (strength coach Jeff) Madden. Hicks was strong on Texas."
Others had been, too.
In 2005, Louisiana quarterback Ryan Perrilloux and Florida receiver Fred Rouse, both rated five-star prospects by Rivals.com, reneged on verbal commitments. Two years later, four-star Florida quarterback John Brantley did the same.
In 2008, five-star Los Angeles running back Darrell Scott committed to Texas, but signed with Colorado. And then in 2010, four-star Arizona offensive lineman Christian Westerman reneged on a Texas commitment and instead signed with Auburn.
Although Texas has the luxury of recruiting the vast majority of its roster from within its state, Suchomel feels the Longhorns' problems out of state were actually a misconception.
And in many cases, losing those late decisions for out-of-state prospects turned out to be blessings in disguise for Texas.
"The running joke among Longhorns fans is there a Mack Brown curse," Suchomel said. "Guys that have decommitted don't seem to pan out the way most thought they would."
Brantley followed Tim Tebow as Florida's starting quarterback but had a mundane career in which he passed for 4,750 yards with 30 touchdowns and 18 interceptions while going 15-11 as a starter.
At least he stayed at Florida. Scott left Colorado after two seasons in which he rushed for fewer than 500 yards. He sat out the 2010 season after transferring to South Florida where he rushed for more than 800 yards this past season. He has declared for the NFL draft and his considered a likely late-round selection.
"Mack Brown always says he wants players that know they want to be at Texas," Suchomel said. "Guys that are from Texas or grow up wanting to be at Texas are the guys that seem to do well at Texas."
That should be a good omen for Brewer.
Texas needs improved quarterback play to return among the elite teams in college football. Perhaps Brewer can provide that.
"I think Texas is a special place and I think in the near future they can get back to the BCS and be national championship caliber," Brewer said. "I want to help them achieve that goal."
It would get easier if another out-of-state target signs on.
Texas is in contention to land Springfield (Mo.) Hillcrest wide receiver Dorial Green-Beckham, the No. 1 recruit in the country.
Picking Texas would be the ultimate for the Longhorns.
"This year is kind of unique," Suchomel said. "Texas doesn't get many recruiting battles that go down to the wire. This year they're in on Beckham. A lot of Longhorns fans won't hold their breath because Texas hasn't won out on many late decisions."