By Greg Tepper // TexasFootball.com
With all of the conference realignment going on in the state of Texas this season – Texas A&M leaving for the SEC, TCU leaving for the Big XII, Houston and SMU leaving (in 2013) for the Big East – it’s easy to forget that Texas will have two brand new FBS teams starting next season.
In case you forgot, both Texas-San Antonio and Texas State will be joining the FBS ranks next season, leaving the FCS for the Western Athletic Conference in the top tier of college football.
There’s excitement swirling around San Antonio and San Marcos for the 2012 football season, and for good reason: it’s a monumental leap for the programs. UTSA just wrapped up its very first season of football, going 4-6 in their inaugural season as an FCS independent. Texas State has a far longer history, playing every year since 1904 (the last 23 in the Southland Conference) and claiming 11 conference championships and two national championships (back-to-back in 1981-82).
And there’s big-name coaches in place to usher in the new eras, with former Miami coach Larry Coker running the Roadrunners in San Antonio, while former TCU, Texas A&M and Alabama coach Dennis Franchione leads the Texas State Bobcats.
But why wait to get excited about the 2012 season? After all, football is a year-round sport, and this is recruiting season!
Texas State and UTSA’s entry into the FBS ranks could have ripple effects across the entire state as far as recruiting. Think about it: there are now 12 schools vying for the same FBS-caliber recruits instead of just ten in the state. Now, should UTSA fans expect to take big-time recruits from Texas, or Texas State stealing away some of Texas A&M’s best prospects? No; or, at least, not for the time being. But if recruiting is a numbers game – and it is – the numbers just changed.
In the next couple of months, TexasFootball.com is going to be very recruiting-heavy, culminating around National Signing Day on February 1, 2012. And why not start with taking a glance at the currently constructed inaugural 2012 recruiting classes for UTSA and Texas State.
A note: both of these teams figure to be major players in the junior college ranks, but we’ll only deal with the high school recruits in this quick glance. And remember: these are only verbal commitments, which are non-binding until they put pen to paper starting on Feb. 1.
Onward! We’ll start with the Texas State Bobcats.
Justin Albritton DB Anahuac 5'11" 185
Damani Alexcee DB LC Clear Springs 6'1" 175
Matt Gray OL Prattville (AL) 6'6" 300
Jerrid Jeter-Gilmon LB Brenham 6'2" 205
Hayden Lambert OL Aledo 6'5" 255
Dallas McClarty DT LC Clear Springs 5'11" 280
Ryan Melton OL Liberty 6'5" 265
Fred Nixon QB Willis 6'3" 200
Felix Romero OL Cedar Park 6'3" 297
Stephen Smith LB Sugar Land 6'3" 220
Martel Summers DB Leander 6'1" 186
Dede Westbrook WR Cameron Yoe 5'11" 175
Coach Dennis Franchione is bringing the beef in this one early, getting a number of really nice linemen in his first haul. Aledo’s Hayden Lambert is one of the gems of this class from where I’m sitting, plowing the road for record-setting Texas commit Johnathan Gray, but I also think Cedar Park’s Felix Romero is a great get. Remember: the 2012 class is very good in the offensive line group, so getting a few here is very nice.
I’m a big fan of Brenham LB Jerrid Jeter-Gilmon; he’s a big bruising linebacker who’s got great pedigree coming from a defensive factory with the Cubs. The same goes for the pair from League City Clear Creek, DT Dallas McClarty and DB Damani Alexcee. McClarty notched 108 tackles and 8 sacks for the Chargers, while Alexcee had great success in the secondary, notching 92 tackles, three interceptions and seven pass defenses.
Everyone wants to talk about QBs, so let’s talk about Fred Nixon, who’s got great size at 6-foot-3 and had a great year, throwing for 2,261 yards and 23 TDs while adding another five scores on the ground. And Westbrook had a great season for the overall underwhelming Yoemen of Cameron this year, leading the team with 34 receptions for 468 yards and six touchdowns. He’s a bit undersized, projecting more as a slot receiver on the next level.