Texas A&M head coach Kevin Sumlin has accomplished quite a lot since accepting the position less than 30 months ago. He's ushered the Aggies into a new era as an SEC member, claimed two bowl victories, produced a Heisman Trophy winner and solidified the program's top two Coaches' Poll finishes since 1998.
The success has greatly altered his team's recruiting landscape, rewriting expectations in a state traditionally stocked with high school stars. Texas A&M is suddenly outclassing Texas in a region where the Longhorns have seemingly had first pick while filtering through prospects.
This trend may not last forever, but it's the unmistakable truth whether you bleed orange or maroon. It also appears to be seeping into the 2015 recruiting cycle.
Still 10 months shy of signing day, the Aggies have assembled America's top-rated class in 247Sports' composite team rankings. Texas A&M holds nine commitments, including 5-star defensive tackle Daylon Mack and seven fellow Texas recruits who each carry 4-star distinction.
The Aggies landed a top-five 2014 class in February, securing signatures from three 5-star recruits and 11 4-star prospects. It was a second straight top-10 class for Texas A&M.
For the record, Texas finished 17th. That placement matched the Longhorns' 2013 recruiting haul.
Sumlin extended his reach to procure top-tier talent from beyond state borders. Arizona quarterback Kyle Allen and Louisiana wide receiver Speedy Noil enrolled early and are already on campus trying to fill roles left behind by Johnny Manziel and Mike Evans.
Texas A&M continues to take advantage of the exposure created by Johnny Football's mystique. The Aggies' 10-6 record against SEC opponents since joining the conference signals has also turned heads.
Sumlin signed a six-year contract extension with the university in December, while Texas dealt with an occasionally messy high-profile coaching change. The move stabilizes his team's position as an upper-echelon recruit magnet and even a slight slide in on-field success this season shouldn't change the situation.
"We have only just begun to lay the foundation for sustained, long-term success here at Texas A&M, and we will work hard every day to make this great institution and the 12th Man proud," Sumlin said in a statement after agreeing to the extension (h/t ESPN.com).
Texas A&M bids farewell to college football's most publicized player since Tim Tebow, but the path has been paved for further strides in the near future. Last spring, the school approved a 20,000-seat expansion at Kyle Field that reportedly carries an anticipated tab of $450 million.
When a university wholeheartedly commits to an athletic program and a coach's vision, it becomes much easier for young prospects to do the same.
The most significant threat to a No. 1 recruiting ranking isn't internal issues. It's the collection of teams nipping at the Aggies' heels atop that list.
Penn State has quickly capitalized on its regime change, securing 11 commitments since mid-February. An impressive season under first-year head coach James Franklin would add more recruiting fuel for a program nearing the conclusion of Paterno-era sanctions.
Florida State will remain in the spotlight during the foreseeable future. The Seminoles' bid for a second straight national championship stars reigning Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston, who takes the mantle from Manziel as the new face of NCAA football.
LSU is always in the mix. After finishing the 2014 cycle on a high note, Les Miles is currently the only coach in the country to hold commitments from two 5-star prospects (cornerback Kevin Toliver and offensive tackle Maea Teuhema).
SEC rival Alabama owns an incredible recruiting streak, with four consecutive No. 1 classes. The Crimson Tide rank third nationally right now but 3-star defensive end Anfernee Jennings is the only prospect to commit since signing day.
Even Nick Saban's top targets have noticed the Aggies' rise in recruiting.
"I just hope we finish ahead of Texas A&M," 5-star Alabama pledge Mekhi Brown told Bleacher Report in February.
That's certainly the challenge facing coaching staffs across the country in months to come. Texas A&M is suddenly the team to beat in recruiting, and program momentum shows no signs of slowing anytime soon.
Odds Texas A&M Stays at No. 1 through signing day: 3-to-1
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