Tevin Mitchel is happy where he is in Arkansas.
But the Razorbacks cornerback, whose father Eric played college football at Oklahoma, says things might've gone differently with his recruitment had Texas A&M been in the SEC when he was being recruited out of Mansfield (Texas) Legacy.
“It probably would've been in my decision,” Mitchel said. “I honestly probably would've still came here, but it would've made it more difficult.”
Arkansas and LSU have long selectively gone into Texas with success and other SEC schools have been able to recruit in the state as well.
But Texas A&M's move from the Big 12 to the SEC has changed the recruiting dynamic in the Lone Star state.
The Aggies can sell in-state players on staying home and playing in the nation's most prestigious conference while other schools can sell the opportunity to at least occasionally go back home to Texas for a game.
Things went the other way for Will Hines, a sophomore cornerback from Waco, Texas.
Hines was committed to Missouri until the Tigers announced they would move to the SEC.
“They were going to be playing all my friends and everything in Texas. I wanted to play against them, I didn't want to play with them,” Hines said. “Then they came to the SEC so I came to Arkansas. Now that Texas A&M is in the SEC, since they come here and we go there, I think it'll help other teams recruit in Texas.”
After getting at least five of the Lone Star state's top 50 recruits in every signing class from 2004-2010, Oklahoma has combined for just five in the past two seasons.
Last season, for the first time since 2005, Texas A&M signed more state top 50 players than Texas.
Of the top five committed players in Texas, according to Rivals.com, Texas A&M has two of them. Alabama and LSU have one each, while Baylor has the only one of the group that isn't committed to an SEC school.
Texas A&M commit Nick Harvey, a safety from Richmond (Texas) Travis who is one of that group of five, told 247sports.com that the Aggies being in the SEC played a big part in his decision.
“I always wanted to play in the SEC,” Harvey told the site. “I'd say them being in the SEC had about 25 or 30 percent to do with my decision.”
Mitchel was recruited by the Aggies out of high school, but the draw of playing in the SEC wound up being too much to ignore.
He wound up choosing the Razorbacks over Nebraska.
“Toward the end of my decision, I wanted to go somewhere where I'm playing against the best,” Mitchel said. “When you go against the best, that's when it really brings out your talent. You have to play the best to be the best.”
By Ryan Aber