Even though 2014 Arlington (TX) Bowie safety/outside linebacker Edwin Freeman admits that he grew up a big Texas fan, the Longhorns are not the top school on his list.
Right now, Texas A&M holds that spot, with the Oklahoma Sooners currently standing in second place and the Longhorns in third, which was actually an improvement in the last several days, as he told GigEm247 just days ago that Oregon was in third place ($). Freeman also has interest in USC, a school that just recently offered, Alabama, and the Ducks.
Why the Aggies on top?
Being the first school to extend an offer certainly didn't hurt them ($):
They were the first to offer me. That stands out a lot. Plus they're in the SEC and have been doing great. I like their entire coaching staff a lot and they have an amazing crowd at their home games. Those are a few of the reasons I'm so high on them.
In that recent update previously mentioned, Freeman said about A&M, "I love that school."
Hardly an uncommon sentiment these days for prospects in the state of Texas, especially in the 2014 class.
And though the consensus four-star prospect told SB Nation Recruiting at the Fox Sports Southwest 7-on-7 state championship that he grew up disliking the Sooners because of their rivalry with his childhood favorite, they've managed to climb ahead of Texas on his list:
They're a great program just like Texas. They've been talking to me a lot. Their coaches always stay in contact with me over the phone or on Facebook. I went to the Red River Rivalry and left that game being very impressed with their play. Their fans were also crazy like A&M's fans are.
The Longhorns extended an offer to Freeman back in August when the Texas staff made the unprecedented move of offering junior prospects prior to the February after their junior season. However, Freeman hasn't been hearing from them as much as other schools:
It's always been a dream of mine to be a Longhorn. If they started recruiting me harder, then it would probably change things. I like Coach (Bruce) Chambers a lot and he is my recruiter from there. He seems like a pretty cool guy, so maybe things will pick back up.
Past extending an offer, in the recruiting game schools show their interest in recruits in the level of contact that they make. And for recruits, the reaction is understandable -- if a school doesn't show interest, their interest in that school will likely dip as a result.
The odd thing for Texas is that Freeman was one of only a handful of prospects who received offers back in August. In other words, the Longhorns hardly blanketed the staff with offers, choosing instead to offer those who appeared to be their top targets.
It's difficult to say what changed, though Freeman did play linebacker this season for Bowie, the position he could end up playing in college, as the 6-1, 200-pounder has plenty of room for growth on his long frame and will probably reach the 220-230 range once he gets into a collegiate strength and conditioning program.
For now, the Aggies and Sooners will continue to lead Freeman's childhood favorite until the Longhorns decide to show more interest.
With Freeman not planning to make a decision until late in the process, Texas has plenty of time to close the gap, but given how well Texas A&M is recruiting right now, even increased contact with Freeman may not be enough -- the recruiting landscape in the state of Texas has changed that much since A&M moved to the SEC and hired Kevin Sumlin.