When Oklahoma President Joseph Harroz seized on the big reasons he wanted to move to the SEC, he finally got to the baffling factor that influences almost every college sports decision, one that will end up affecting not only the Longhorns, but also the Gators and the Seminoles.
“This will allow us to continue to attract the best student-athletes from across the country to the future,” Harroz told the university’s governing board last month.
Oklahoma and Texas have good recruiting when they move from the Big 12 to the SEC during the 2025 season or earlier. Other coaches are waiting for him as well.
“I think it will help both schools,” said Chris Thomsen, Florida state assistant coach, a native of Texas and a former assistant to Texas Tech and TCU. “I think you’ve seen it with (Texas) A&M.”
When A&M moved from the Big 12 to the SEC in 2012, the Aggies could have presented themselves as the only SEC school in a talented state: if you want to be close to home and play at the country’s most important conference, sign up with us .
It worked. In the nine recruitment cycles prior to the move, the average A&M class rating was 20.9. In the new one since the transfer took place, its average rating is 10.1.
Neither the Sooners nor the Longhorns (average class rating in the last four years: 8.3) have as much room to increase. But they can still benefit.
During his decade, he covered recruitment for Sooners, Bob Przybylo he said he has listened to many renowned recruits in the Big 12 for his low reputation in producing NFL players. When Oklahoma and Texas move to the SEC, that argument disappears.
“(If) you add one or two per class that you wouldn’t get before, that will add up,” said Przybylo, who writes for Oklahoma’s Rivals site SoonerScoop.
Florida and other current SEC members could also benefit from partnership. The addition of two renowned programs with championship pedigree makes the SEC brand even more powerful.
“I think the impact of hiring is strengthening the league …,” Gators coach Dan Mullen said. “Now it will be an even stronger footprint of the teams.”
The footprint will not only be stronger. It will be bigger, another advantage for current and future members.
Oklahoma will move from a league that is in five states to one that is in 12. The expanded scope, according to Harroz to the regents, will help the school recruit more students (not just athletes) and teachers.
Recent realignment history suggests that it will also appear in the field. In 2011, Missouri and Texas A&M had two Floridians each. This year, the Aggies have six Florida natives on their roster, while the Tigers have up to seven, including Chamberlain High product Johnny Walker.
The Longhorns and Sooners only recruit Florida by waves (Oklahoma reached a commitment in 2023 with Fort Lauderdale five-star receiver Brandon Inniss), but will gain more local exposure after changing. The compromise: Gators and other SEC programs will extend further west.
“I think it will definitely help us in the state of Texas and Oklahoma,” said Tim Brewster, UF coach, former Longhorns and Aggies assistant.
Recent realignment supports it. In the nine recruiting classes before the Missouri change, the state only had seven SEC signatories in four schools. Of the nine, since then, 13 have signed six SEC schools (excluding Mizzou).
In 2011, SEC schools only added three Texas recruits. In this last class, they signed 14 (except the Aggies). The Gators have expanded their roster from a Texan in 2011 to four this year, including the start of offensive offense Jean Delance.
“Obviously, the inclusion of Texas A&M opened the door in Texas for SEC schools,” Przybylo said. “This move should only be rejected.”
If programs like Florida and LSU incur even more in Texas, their Lone Star success will come at the expense of other teams. The power of the Big 12 will likely slip and the state of Florida could also be affected.
Second-year coach Mike Norvell, a native of Texas, has a couple of 2022 engagements from the suburb of Duncanville, Dallas. He credited his relations with the home state to help him sign an ignored defender, Jordan Eubanks, in December.
“It’s a new day in college athletics,” Norvell said. “There is a lot of movement. There will always be different things to adapt to and adjust to. “
Like recruitment, the ripples of realignment never stop.
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