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Texas A&M was already struggling to recruit. An assistant's tweets made it worse

Welcome to The Crootletter (sign up to get this in your inbox every morning!). I'm Bud Elliott, SB Nation's National Recruiting Analyst, and in this space I'll be sharing news, rumors and musings on the world of college football recruiting.

Tate Martel
Student Sports

I'm not going to write the "Texas A&M recruiting is toast under Sumlin" column.

I'm not going to write the "Texas A&M recruiting is toast under Sumlin" column.

I'm not going to write the "Texas A&M recruiting is toast under Sumlin" column.

I told myself that this morning. It's only May. But I easily could.

In Early April I wrote a report after taking two trips to Texas (Dallas and Houston) and seeing and talking with over 100 recruits and sources. It said that recruits are in a holding pattern with respect to the Longhorns and Aggies, but noted that recruits seem to prefer Charlie Strong to Kevin Sumlin because of the trust and family atmosphere he promotes at Texas. A&M fans were angry that I wrote elite Texas prospects rarely mentioned the Aggies.

But it was the truth.

One of the few elite players who was ready to jump aboard the A&M hype train was Tate Martell, the No. 1 dual-threat quarterback in the country out of Las Vegas Bishop Gorman, a powerhouse program. I'm a bit skeptical of Martell being rated as highly as he is because he's 5'10.5 and old for his grade level, and no quarterback that small has won a championship during his lifetime, but he has skills.

Wednesday night, Martell decommitted from the Aggies, a move that wasn't unexpected as he had warned the A&M fan base a few weeks back that he planned to take all his official visits before making his final decision.

Where does A&M turn?

From our excellent Texas A&M outlet, Good Bull Hunting.

Considering that Texas A&M offered San Clemente (Calif.) quarterback Jack Sears a little more than two weeks ago and made a recent visit to IMG Academy in Florida to see Baylor quarterback Kellen Mond, it's safe to say that the staff at least made plans to deal with this eventuality.

I wrote about both players in the 2017 quarterback recruiting race timeline. At this time I don't believe A&M would be considered the favorite to land either Mond or Sears, but again, it's only May.

Where does Martell turn?

People from Ohio State and USC are high on their chances to land Martell, but I expect he'll be taking some visits before he again gets serious about a commitment.

I think the PR hit might be worse than the football hit for A&M.

Martell is the third five-star quarterback to break up with the Aggies in the last calendar year. After badly mismanaging the situation, head coach Kevin Sumlin lost both Kyle Allen (class of 2014) and Kyler Murray (class of 2015) to transfers. As several elite recruits told me in March and April, when you lose both stud quarterbacks, something ain't right in College Station.

With Wednesday night's news of elite quarterback Martell's decommitment, things got worse.

Really, really worse because a coach who has been at four schools in seven years started subtweeting about loyalty!

Seriously. Coach Aaron Moorehead fired off three tweets (some have been deleted).

Scared for this next group of kids. There is no accountability and no sense of positivity when it comes to adversity. #selfish #allaboutme

I feel sorry for ppl who never understand loyalty. I can't really even vibe with u. At the end of the day trust is & everything else is BS

I wasn't even talking about who everyone thinks I'm talking about. I didn't even know #badtiming #relevanttho #stillnoloyalty

Recruits did not take kindly to this. Eno Benjamin, one of the state's top running backs, tweeted (since deleted) that A&M would be "trash without Martell." Five-star linebacker Baron Browning laughed with him about it (also since deleted). Jeffrey Okudah, an elite Texas safety prospect tweeted the popular D.J. Khaled "another one" gif. Superstar California receiver Tyjon Lindsey, who is close with Martell but wasn't expected to follow him to A&M, tweeted that he would no longer consider the Aggies.

But another recruit took it a step further, as A&M lost the commitment from four-star receiver Mannie Netherly, writing that after Wednesday night he saw what kind of person his "future coach" is. This is a big deal. Netherly is from Crosby, Texas, an area that is usually slam dunk for A&M because of its proximity. Losing kids from Crosby should be a red flag.

A&M was already recruiting poorly

Wednesday's disaster comes just a half year after A&M's 2016 class collapsed and limped to the finish line. Kevin Sumlin's Aggies have simply not turned stud recruits (55 four- and five-stars signed from 2012-15) into wins, and recruits view the culture as toxic. The Aggies currently have one blue-chip recruit.

If recruits were previously waiting to see if Sumlin was going to turn things around, I wonder if it will now take a new coach to catch their eye. It's certainly possible that Sumlin rights the ship, but how big of a season would that take? 11 wins? 12? Against a schedule that features games against UCLA, at Auburn, Arkansas, at South Carolina, Tennessee, at Alabama, at Mississippi State, Ole Miss and LSU, what are the odds of that?

In the meantime, things aren't exactly going great in Austin, but compared to rival A&M Longhorn fans are celebrating like they won the national title.


A&M was not the only recruiting news Wednesday. Oregon lost four-star QB commitment Ryan Kelley. A source tells me he did not get along with the new QB coach after coordinator/QB coach Scott Frost left to become UCF"s head coach. Oregon's quarterback recruiting of late outside Marcus Mariota has been abysmal. The buzz around the Ducks program is just not what it was under Chip Kelly. But Oregon has some options. Look for them to kick the tires on Martell and recent Hawaiian Alabama commit Tua Tagovailoa before they move on to lesser-rated prospects.