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Recruiting in Texas would heat up if Texas A&M joins the SEC

by Jenni Carlson Published: August 20, 2011

Joe DeForest has been recruiting Houston for more than two decades. He knows the programs. He knows the coaches. He knows the prospects.

But he knows the lay of that fertile recruiting land will change if Texas A&M goes to the SEC.

“It's going to let the SEC into Texas more,” the Oklahoma State assistant coach said. “You're just going to have more teams in there recruiting and fighting for the same players.

“It'll be interesting.”

Not just for DeForest and the Cowboys, but for every team in the Big 12 that likes to recruit Lone Star State talent.

While the Aggies leaving for the SEC would have numerous ramifications for the Big 12, the impact that move would have on recruiting is among the biggest. The league that has produced the past five national champions will suddenly have a foothold in the state of Texas.

This isn't to say that SEC have never recruited Texas before.

Jarrett Lee, the LSU quarterback who might be the starter if Jordan Jefferson's bar-fighting ways are serious, is from Brenham. Knile Davis, the Arkansas running back who was expected to carry the load before busting his left ankle this preseason, is from Missouri City.

Still ...

“They're not blanketing like we do or any of the Big 12 schools are,” DeForest said of the SEC recruiting Texas.

Should Texas A&M eventually join the SEC, expect that to change.

Texas A&M would likely be in the Western Division with Alabama, Arkansas, Auburn, LSU, Mississippi and Mississippi State. That means those teams would be able to go into the Lone Star State and tell a recruit that they'd get to come back to their home state to play every other year. That sort of thing holds sway with recruits, especially when their families can't afford to travel very far for games.

Obviously if a player is being recruited by a Big 12 school, that's a card that those teams could play, too, but if a recruit is leaning toward the SEC, that come-back-home-to-play carrot could be the thing that ultimately sways him.

But it might not just be the SEC teams in A&M's division that try to take advantage of the new recruiting area.

“Now if there's a great player in Houston,” DeForest said, “you might see a Florida or a Georgia come over there and try to get 'em.”

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by Jenni Carlson
Jenni Carlson, a sports columnist at The Oklahoman since 1999, came by her love of sports honestly. She grew up in a sports-loving family in Kansas. Her dad coached baseball and did color commentary on the radio for the high school football...
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