Who got better deal out of Texas A&M joining SEC? Aggies or new rivals?

How much will the SEC benefit from recruiting with Texas A&M joining the SEC?

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From strictly a recruiting standpoint, who got the better deal out of Texas A&M joining the SEC? The SEC or the Aggies?

We know Texas A&M boosted its football reputation by joining the conference that has a stranglehold on BCS championships. We know they will get rich from the SEC’s renegotiated TV contact.

But we’re looking at it from a recruiting perspective: Now the SEC has highly-visible representation in Texas, coaches and scouts will be overrunning the border patrol to steal talent from one of the top three talent-rich states in the country.

Who got the better deal?

“I don’t know,” Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin told the AJC.

“We’re joining a league that is established, and is the best league in college football. It’s hard to say … when you’re coming in a league that has won six straight national championships, has more NFL Draft choices in the last 10 years than any other league, and is already established.

“I don’t think being in the SEC has hurt us one bit with recruiting. In the state of Texas, kids have a choice of playing in the Big 12, the Big East, the SEC, or other places. There’s a lot of student-athletes out there in Texas that want to play at the highest level possible, and the SEC gives the young man that opportunity.

“We’ve had a good response about joining the SEC from prospects. It’s hard for me to compare to other years because this is my first year here as head coach. I would say the response has been great. We’ve been very well-received by some of the higher caliber players in the region about it.”

Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin will likely see a lot of his new SEC pals recruiting his home turf within the next few years (Photo courtesy of Texas A&M)

Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin will likely see a lot of his new SEC pals recruiting his home turf within the next few years (Photo courtesy of Texas A&M)

Sumlin knows rival SEC schools are headed to Texas and will be recruiting with more confidence than ever. But he doesn’t think the “floodgates” will suddenly open like some are speculating.

“There are 11 Div. I football-playing schools in this state; People forget about that,” Sumlin said. “We did a study when I was at Houston which showed us something like 70-80 D1 schools come into the state of Texas A&M. So it wouldn’t be anything new, I’ll put it that way. The competition for recruits has always been great in this state.

“It may have opened some doors [for other SEC schools] for whatever battles may be around here. But I think it may have opened the doors for us a little bit and increased our footprint with moving East in recruiting, if anything. There’s some minuses in recruiting with all of this, but there’s also some pluses. We’ve been received a little bit better as we move toward Louisiana and Mississippi.”

Sumlin said Texas A&M’s recruiting strategy will remain just about the same under his regime. The top priority is Texas, with a heavy emphasis on Louisiana and Mississippi (especially the junior colleges). Texas A&M will also target the home states of fellow SEC members for any special needs at a position.

We had a few more questions for the Texas A&M coach:

With Texas A&M as a new member of the SEC, it had to abide by the conference’s new rules on over-signing. How did it impact Texas A&M’s recruiting this year? “It kind of affected us this year, from the standpoint of when I got here there were some guys committed that we had to evaluate, not only athletically but academically. Guys  that I thought would have difficulty qualifying, we went ahead and had that discussion with them … about going ahead and going to a junior college or releasing them to be recruited by somebody else, instead of signing a kid to scholarship that we possibly couldn’t use. That’s kind of where that was. It affected us in recruiting. I can see the pluses and minuses in [the rules].”

Last season at Houston, you coached Heisman candidate QB Case Keenum, who set the FBS records for total offense and career TD passes. Would Case have had the same type of success in the SEC? “You know, I don’t know. That’s a pretty broad question. Having success has to do with the players around you. It’s not just being a good QB but having players around you that will compete. Obviously, we had some success going to Mississippi State and winning there [in 2009], and going to Oklahoma State and winning there [in 2009]. It’s more than just one player. Case is very talented and great and a special guy. But to play week in and week out [like that in the SEC], it would probably take depth. I think, given the right situation with the right talent around him, a guy like that would be successful. I think that’s why he’ll be successful in the NFL.”

What does he think about the Big Ten’s so-called “gentlemen’s agreement” to not recruit players committed to other member schools that Ohio State’s Urban Meyer called “nonsense”? And is he aware of any similar agreements in the SEC? “No. I don’t get into what they’re talking about in the Big Ten. I’ve got my own problems. I don’t know if there’s any SEC gentlemen’s agreement. I’ll guess I’ll learn about that this year.”

Texas A&M has not offered football scholarships to any 2013 Georgia recruits, according to Rivals.




– By Michael Carvell, AJC Recruiting Blog

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27 comments Add your comment


March 14th, 2012
2:18 am

Texas A&M is a great school and always has a good football team. There are just too many great high school players in Texas for all the colleges there not to get a pretty decent recruiting class . They will fit in just fine . Hopefully the Texas recruits will see the benefit in being apart of the SEC and other schools of the SEC will get in on the abundant talent. They will find out that the difference in the Big-12 and SEC is in the Big -12 you will have two sometimes 3 hard games and maybe 2 more really good games where in the SEC Texas A&M will find out you will have to play 3 to 5 really hard games and 3 to 5 more really good games, meaning all 8 SEC games can be lost if you take your opponent for granted.

bitter dope smoking corner back

March 14th, 2012
6:32 am

welcome to the SEC aggies, perpare to stand along side miss, miss st, vandy

dont you people open with bamma————-lots to worry about————–eat moonpies


FL Jacket

March 14th, 2012
7:51 am

How many times will he hear “WOOP!” before having a nervous breakdown?


March 14th, 2012
8:15 am

Texas A&M, Mizzou, Miss State, OleMiss, Vandy and Kentucky, Will always be poor performers in SEC.


March 14th, 2012
8:39 am

George P Burdell

March 14th, 2012
8:47 am

In terms of recruiting, the effect is going to be very small.
Yes, the SEC will get more “exposure” (media, air time) in Texas than before.
But every good athlete in Texas was already well aware of the SEC (Arkansas & La nearby, etc.).
And every SEC school that could successfully recruit in a very competitve Texas recruting environment was already doing it.
Net effect, if an SEC coach could successfully recruit in Texas . he was already doing it.
If he couldn’t, having A&M in the SEC is not going to improve his recruiting skills.

Dawg Haus

March 14th, 2012
8:54 am

A&M’s move to the SEC might impact recruiting in the West a little bit, but I don’t see it having much of an effect on the East. Conference member or not, College Station is still really far from places like Athens, Columbia and Gainesville.


March 14th, 2012
9:52 am

I’d guess that joining the SEC will do more for A&M’s recruiting then for the rest of us. The other SEC schools recruit just fine. But Texas Longhorns has always been 1st choice in their state for recruiting. Now A&M can tell those Texas recruits hey you can go to UT, or you can come here and compete in the best NCAA football in the land. There is no doubt to me that will intrigue many elite Texas high school recruits. In fact, if A&M’s new coach pans out then they are a program to really watch out for in a few years IMO.


March 14th, 2012
10:09 am

Texas A & M should have stayed in their previous conference (the Big 12) and maintained rivalries within the immediate southwestern United States. Missouri should have jumped on the opportunity to join the Big 10 when they were being pursued years ago. Both would be a better fit in Conference USA.


March 14th, 2012
11:43 am

If he recruits texas (old SWC) style there’s gonna be a whole new level of cheating.

did he really mention big (l)east as recruiting competion? lol

March 14th, 2012
11:49 am

TX only helps existing sec teams on the tv contract. Not going to change how, or if they recruit TX.
A&M has the advantage now of the SEC cache.

Alabama | MrSEC

March 14th, 2012
12:21 pm

[...] expanding Scott Field.10.  Let the offseason questions begin in Starkville.11.  Kevin Sumlin says Texas A&M’s gotten good response from recruits on its move to the SEC.More to [...]

Hey Hey Hey We're the Monkees

March 14th, 2012
12:33 pm

A lot of the top players in Texas will now have the opportunity to stay close to home and still compete in the SEC. Texas A&M should do well.


March 14th, 2012
1:41 pm

Tradition is important is a few cases but with the advancements in technology covering games and parents being able to Skype in order to see and talk in person to there college kids,every day, it’s not near as important to maintain every rivalry that developed over the years because of adjusting to the era they were living in at the time. Changes are good for the most part and nothing says that if you change something and don’t like it that you can’t go back to where it was before the change. Just by trying it makes you a lot smarter than if nothing was done.
The biggest thing right now is whether to have a playoff? We want know if it is a great idea until we try it.


March 14th, 2012
2:29 pm

Dawg Haus

March 14th, 2012
8:54 am

“A&M’s move to the SEC might impact recruiting in the West a little bit, but I don’t see it having much of an effect on the East. Conference member or not, College Station is still really far from places like Athens, Columbia and Gainesville.” Good comment. Fact is Texas based players who look forward to the challenge of the SEC are more likely to sign with Texas A&M. Live in Texas, play the SEC at home for all the family to see and be an Aggie. That’s a winning formula!

The Bear

March 14th, 2012
4:05 pm

From a personal point of view I did not want Texas A&M or Missouri. Not because of the brand of football they play but because this is the SEC and neither are geographically located here. I would have thought Georgia Tech/Clemson/Florida State would have been a better choice. But with that said both of the new schools coming to the SEC are very good football teams and should not be taken lightly.

Roll Tide


March 14th, 2012
11:06 pm

Texas A&M will benefit in recruiting from this move. Too many positives for it not too. #1 National Exposure: Most Big 12 team were only on national TV 1-3 times a year. The SEC has a better track record, plus A&M will get exposure from its very competitive non-revenue sports in the conference too.#2 Perception: Not a 14K student military college anymore that looses to Texas every year. It is a 50K student University which has played Texas to an almost “dead even” record since it became a fully integrated University around 1975. A&M will have the ‘bully pulpit’ when it enters conference next year. #3$$$: A&M spent the last decade in the highly competitive Big 12 South and won 20% of that divisions conference titles behind Oklahoma 53% and Texas 33% (shared titles), but garnered less than 50% of the revenue of those two teams. A&M will be on equal footing among its peers in the SEC West which will affect recruiting. #4 SEC Athletes: The recruits coming from Big 12 states outside of TX were garbage. KS, MO, IA, and OK produce very few athletes. Big 12 schools raided TX. SEC states almost all produce high caliber athletes and with only 25 scholarships a year per school the odds are that A&M gets a higher quality of athlete than they did before.

Herschel Statue

March 15th, 2012
9:15 am

Mike, how many members is the facebook group up to now?

Old Army Bob

March 15th, 2012
9:31 am

The old SWC was a good conference at one time and full of regional rivalry. However, that changed over time with the emergence of Texas and their clout within the NCAA. Don’t think for a minute that Texas didn’t exert influence on the SMU situation with the death penalty. SMU was clearly a threat to Texas within the conference.

The Big 12 took two disparate conferences and married them to each other. But several members of the SWC were not invited to the wedding. Texas A&M has much more in common with schools in the SEC than they do with schools in Oklahoma, Kansas, Iowa, or Nebraska and Colorado (both charter members of the Big 12). The Aggies are a good fit in the SEC and will bring something to the table.


March 15th, 2012
10:22 am

I’ll say this for aTm….while they may not win big or put a solid product on the field every single year, the Aggies get it. Theirs is a hard-core football climate with serious history and tradition. They understand what it takes to have a successsful football program and compete at the highest level. That’s not to say they’re going to be serious contenders, but I do think they’re in a better place right now than South Carolina and Arkansas were when they joined the league. The Aggies are not going to be shocked by what they see in the SEC.

Missouri, on the other hand….

2012 Preseason Fulmer Cup Champs

March 15th, 2012
10:25 am

I have to agree with The Bear on this one. Neither school is located anywhere near the southeast. We might as well let Oregon and Hawaii in. Makes about as much sense.


March 15th, 2012
1:31 pm

Funny to her about locations when UK is closer to Cinn., OH than Knox.,Tenn. They are also closer to the great lakes than the Gulf of Mex.


March 15th, 2012
9:22 pm

The ags were banking on a bunch of great recruits choosing the aggies because of the SEC that would ordinarily have chosen to play for A&M. It ain’t happening. Even their own website guru’s top 44 for 2013 shows exactly that. As of today the #1 recruit in Texas (Ricky Seal-Jones), the #2 recruit in Texas (Kent Perkins), the #4 recruit in Texas (Tyrone Swoopes), the # 5 recruit in Texas (Darius James), the #8 recruit in Texas (A’shawn Robinson), the #11 recruit in Texas (Jake Oliver, whose Dad started at WR for A&M under Sherrill), and the #15 recruit in Texas (Jake Raulerson) have already committed to The University of Texas. The # 6 and #9 recruits in Texas are still considering The University of Texas.

The closest A&M has in a player who just wants to play in the SEC is OT and #21 recruit in Texas (Ishmael Wilson) who desparately wanteed an LSU offer and, when he didn’t get one at the LSU junior day, committed to A&M the next weekend at their 2nd junior day.

The vast majority of the kids in Texas know A&M as mediocre and changing conferences only changes the names of the teams who’ll finish above A&M in their conference race, not A&M’s position in the conference race. Unless the SEC lays down for the Ags enmasse, nothing will change for the ags, ‘cept they’ll get paid more to take their a**whippings and the SEC biggies will pay more for another conference win.

Crimson Crush

March 19th, 2012
12:02 am

Arkansas is the biggest beneficiary of the move to add Texas A & M . They have been boxed in recruiting for a long timed geographically . Once the Hawgs were stuck outskirts of the SEC … competing against the Big 12 if they tried to utilize their old SWC recruiting base and competing to SEC schools to their east if they went that way without a large enough population base to pull an LSU ( although even LSU successfully used Houston to their west and Mississippi to their north ) .

That yoke is now lifted for the Hawgs . The Razorbacks will be a more consistent and very serious problem for everyone in the SEC down the road . Of course I could care less about “everyone” … I only care about how the Tide manages to deal with them . ;-)

[...] Who got better recruiting deal in SEC expansion? Texas AM or SEC schools that will be raiding the Lo… [...]

Old Ag Steve

March 21st, 2012
9:33 pm

First and foremost the vast majority of the aggie nation is tickled to death about joining the SEC. We wanted to move there when the SWC broke up , but the Balor Grad Gov and Baylor Grad Attorney packaged us up with Texas, Baylor, and Texas Tech then merged us with the Big 8 , for the most part it was okay, but if your not Texas your just in that conferance to help Texas get to a National Championship. We were tired of it in the SWC and tired of it in the Big 12. In fact the act that finally made us jump was Texas trying to package the the 4 of us Texas Schools and OU /OSU and pack us all off to the Pack 10. They were negotiating all of this behind all of our backs. Well we got wind of it and basically we shut it down. Some in the know say we actually saved the Big12. Tipped off the Pack 10 to the Longhorn Network and that fairly much cooked their goose. Hence, why they have their panties in a wod and won’t renew our Thankgiving tradition. Oh well, when Deloss Dodds leaves we will probably play again.

I think we are the biggest winners the SEC managed without us for over a 100 years and would do well without us for another 100 years. We are getting a great place to call home. We have a lot more in comon with more of the schools in the SEC than we do in the big 12. Why we wanted to move to the SEC back then. I think its a natural fit. I really hope that in a few year everyone in the conferance is really glad we are in the conferance because we helped make it even better. We have lost alot of players to Ga, Bama, AR and especially LSU cause they wanted to play in the SEC. Not to mention alot of great coaches have come through A&M on their way to the SEC. Recruiting will should be even better. Now we give them a chance for their families to be an easy drive from home to see 8 great home games a year. I think Ark and LSU will benifit as well also.

We have a lot of history with LSU and Ark and some with Bama. I think all of you who come down to game will really enjoy your visit. You will meet the best of the kids in Texas. Polite and welcoming. Don’t be surprised if a total stranger invites you to their Tailgate to talk about the game over a beer. Aggie land is a great place steeped in tradition and proud. Much of what is instilled into the Corps of Cadets is also part of the student body. An Aggie does not lie cheat or steal , or tolerate those who do. Win or lose we are good sports about it. I don’t know how we will do next season, but its going to be alot of fun. I hate moving into a new conference with a new Coach and no established QB. If Sumlin is the offensive genious he is supposed to be we do have a good shot at winning more games than what most people think. Talent wise we are in real good shape. Infact its the most talented team since the mid ninties when we were in the top ten for several seasons. Winning begets recruits. Talented kids like to win and if they can go to schools that are winning why would’nt they. Every time we beat Texas in rankings and in the game we score big time recruits. I am optimistic not delusional and we have a rough road ahead , but so do all of ya’ll so I guess missery loves company.