Recruiting can be all about momentum. When it comes to landing the best prospects in the state of Texas for the 2014 class, Texas A&M and head coach Kevin Sumlin have all the momentum.
At least compared to their in-state rival, Texas.
A&M and UT no longer compete on the football field, of course, but the recruiting rivalry lives on—and the Aggies have taken the decisive advantage. A&M has the No. 5 class in the country for 2014, according to 247Sports, and the No. 1 player in the state of Texas: 5-star defensive end Myles Garrett.
In all, the Aggies signed 10 players from 247Sports' top 50 prospects in the state of Texas on Wednesday. The Longhorns signed eight. (Interestingly, the state of Texas was open season for recruiting in 2014. The top 50 players in the state signed to 18 different schools from six different conferences.)
That's no runaway effort in favor of A&M, but consider the recent recruiting history of the Lone Star State.
In 2012, Texas signed 17 of the state's top 50 players. In 2011, Texas signed 13 top in-state players. In 2010, it was 18 of the top in-state prospects. In each of those years, the Horns out-recruited A&M for in-state talent, oftentimes considerably.
Things began shifting in favor of A&M in 2013, when the Aggies pulled in 14 of the top 50 players in Texas. The Horns, meanwhile, got eight. This year, the Aggies had more 5-star signatures than the Big 12 had combined.
5-star recruits signed by Texas A&M: 3 5-star recruits signed by Big 12 schools: 2 Source: @247Sports— rcb05 (@rcb05) February 5, 2014
Though every recruiting site ranks prospects differently, A&M's trend of surpassing Texas on the recruiting trail is not limited to one site. ESPN Stats & Info tweets that Texas, once a Longhorn state, has had more elite high school players commit to Texas A&M over the past two years.
Top-100 recruits from 2006-12: Texas 53, Texas A&M 9... From 2013-14: Texas A&M 9, Texas 3.— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) February 5, 2014
What's more: According to ESPN's recruiting services, none of top nine recruits in Texas committed to the Horns in 2014.
Does that mean it's time to panic in Austin? Not necessarily, though it is obvious that A&M is capitalizing on the publicity that comes from being part of the SEC and a Heisman Trophy winning quarterback in Johnny Manziel.
Texas, meanwhile, isn't able to sell Vince Young and the 2006 Rose Bowl victory over USC as well as it once could.
Of course, momentum changes quickly, and it can swing in the Longhorns' favor in a matter of a year.
In many ways, new Texas coach Charlie Strong and his staff should be given a mulligan for '14. Strong accepted the job a little less than a month ago. The string of decommitments that followed, while tough, wasn't anything out of the ordinary.
It's already apparent Texas' coaching staff has its eyes on next year, too. Speaking to Kaylee Hartung of the Longhorn Network, Horns defensive coordinator Vance Bedford said, "Next year, 2015, we’re coming and we’re coming to get everybody."
Does that mean Texas "gave up" on 2014's class? Not in the least, but Strong and his staff should be more accurately judged on how they perform on the recruiting trail in the future.
In the meantime, Texas A&M and Sumlin can enjoy the rewards that come with being the champions of Texas recruiting.
Ben Kercheval is the lead writer for Big 12 football. All recruiting information courtesy of 247Sports Composite Rankings unless explicitly noted otherwise.