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Texas Football Recruiting Top Talent Despite Staff Upheaval (See: Rich Get Richer)

Texas football enjoyed a robust and painful bellyflop of a 2010 season. A five win total snapped Mack Brown's streak of 10-win seasons, they lost five of those games at home, missed a bowl game, and ended the year with Brown slaughtering half of his staff in a purge of some of his oldest and most loyal coaches.  We mean this: he actually killed them, but is exempt from prosecution under a unique quirk in the Texas legal code. (See "Texas Legal Code, Sec 124.29.18, "Cost-Cutting Measures for 2002, Re: Coaching Severance Packages and the Prevention of Payment.")

Entering the recruiting season, one would assume Texas' recruiting would take a slight dip due to staff turnover and the crucial rupture of key recruiting relationships. In this case, one would be wrong.

Texas' 2011 recruiting class stands at number two in Rivals' rankings, and boasts the greatest number of four star commits to this point with 15. If all of this holds through signing day, Texas will finish in the top three in recruiting after their worst year in recent football history.

None of this would make sense without noting the the particularly effective bits of the Longhorn recruiting machine that remain in place.

Of greatest importance on that list is Mack Brown himself, a world-class backslapper whose relationships with high school coaches form the backbone of Texas' magnetic talent pipeline. Brown may have looked petulant in the media when he blamed his coaching staff for some of the difficulties of 2010, but he was also engaging in a canny bit of ground-prepping (intentional or not) for the upcoming recruiting season by signaling that change would come to Texas, and that Mack Brown would be the one controlling it. If this sounds a little bit like a dictator calming the peasants by warning them in advance of distant but looming upheaval, well it should, and there's no other way Brown would have it. (Get this man a fancy marble balcony and some epaulets.) 

Next are the holdovers from his old staff who remain specifically for their recruiting prowess, particularly Texas' recruiting coordinator Bruce Chambers and Major Applewhite, the Longhorns' co-offensive coordinator. Chambers has many of the same relationships Brown has at the local level, while Applewhite's status as a Texas hero and attractive young coaching commodity have kept many in the fold. A little bit of continuity in this case has gone a very long way.

Finally, the new coaches in Austin certainly have done little to deter new talent from coming to Texas. Manny Diaz already had a reputation as an aggressive recruiter and play-caller on the defensive side of the ball from his time at Mississippi State, and the addition of Bryan Harsin from Boise on the offensive side had to be a welcome one for potential signees dreading a long sentence in the moribund offense of former offensive coordinator Greg Davis. New coaches sometimes mean upheaval, and sometimes they mean fat stacks of talent lining up at your door. When you combine new blood with Texas' already alluring packaging and Mack Brown's undimmed commitment to being the head coach for the near future, they mean the latter and most definitely not the former.