Jackson Jeffcoat, Jordan Hicks Put Texas Right Back in the National Title Hunt

Bryan KellySenior Analyst IJanuary 29, 2010

Longhorns fans, give it up for your man, Mack Brown.

At the tail end of a solid but relatively quiet recruiting season for the Texas Longhorns, Brown and his staff just pocketed commitments from arguably the two top defenders in the class of 2010, on the same day.

DE Jackson Jeffcoat and OLB Jordan Hicks committed to Texas at two separate ceremonies earlier today. Not only are they the two most decorated players in the class of 2010 for Texas, but they have catapulted Texas to the forefront of national recruiting once again.

Yet what Mack and co. really deserve credit for is their patience. It's well known in Hook 'Em circles that Mack is not the most patient coach when it comes to recruiting. Nor is he a fan of out-of-state players. Ideally, he'll take Texas kids that want to commit out of junior high and know no other color than burnt orange.

He takes the waffling and the need to look around as affronts to the preeminence of his program, and he's been known to get an itchy trigger finger with late-developing offers and silent commits.

With Hicks' and Jeffcoat's commitments, Brown had to wait until practically Signing Day Eve to open his presents. But that patience really paid off.

The Longhorns now field a top three—and maybe the top—recruiting class on National Signing Day. Rivals has already bumped Texas to No. 2 overall, behind Florida, and the Gators are moving in the wrong direction after dropping five-star safety/ATH Demar Dorsey.

The only position lacking in talent and depth is quarterback, and now that we know Garrett Gilbert has got guts, the Longhorns have no need to worry.

(Not to mention their lone QB commit is Case McCoy, the younger brother of Colt, who was also a three-star back in the day before becoming the winningest college quarterback in history.)

To be fair, Texas always recruits well and raids their home state year after year with little need for out-of-state players. Nor were the Longhorns way down the totem prior to these two commitments. Nineteen of their 22 players came into the day as four-stars or better.

But in the past, when Brown preached landing the easy commits and shunning the ones that took hard work, it has sometimes meant losing out on the top players.

That's fine when you're Texas, and kids like Sergio Kindle and Brian Orakpo call Texas home. But when Mack Brown can land in-state players like Jeffcoat and out-of-state studs like Hicks (at whom Ohio State threw everything but the kitchen sink), it shows he has conquered his ego in a way that will benefit the program immensely.

That, or the infusion of young, competitive blood Will Muschamp is bringing to the table is even more pronounced than first thought.

Either way, it's players like Jeffcoat and Hicks that make great recruiting classes truly outstanding. These kids are playmakers, gamers, game-changers—whatever Jon Gruden is calling them these days, that's what they are.

In a year when the Longhorns' defense is losing many of its top contributors on defense—Sergio Kindle and LaMarr Houston on the D-line, Roddrick Muckelroy in the LB corps, and S Earl Thomas in the defensive backfield—their commitments guarantee continuity in Muschamp's ferocious defense.

When Jeffcoat dropped earlier today, my immediate reaction was that Texas' class had topped Oklahoma's for Big 12 supremacy. Where the Sooners have added size and depth to their roster with 30 commits, Texas has been more frugal, more discerning, though no less successful.

But with all due respect to Bob Stoops, Hicks' commitment leaves Oklahoma and the rest of the Big 12—and most of the country, really—in the rear-view mirror.

Texas is gunning for the top spot in national recruiting as ferociously as it pursued the national championship throughout this past season.

As long as National Signing Day is bereft of the metaphorical poorly timed shovel pass, you're looking at one of the best classes Brown and company have ever put together. Another round of applause for the Mack, if you would.