TCU has owned the series against Texas in football for three years, winning by more than 100 points combined in that stretch.
But as the teams go head-to-head in recruiting, it’s still Texas’ game.
The Longhorns continue to win recruiting battles against the Horned Frogs, despite the lopsidedness of the series since 2014.
And even if TCU picks up another runaway win Saturday night, it’s unlikely to tilt the recruiting battle much, some recruiting experts say.
“If TCU continues to beat Texas, I think it would kind of start showing in 2019,” said Jeremy Clark, publisher of HornedFrogBlitz.com. “But that’s what we’ve been saying the last few years — ‘Is it going to make a difference on the recruiting trail?’ And it really hasn’t.”
Of the 18 commitments in Texas’ 2018 class, 13 had TCU offers, Clark said.
“I’m only counting two guys that had offers from Texas on TCU’s commitment list,” he said.
Saturday night, TCU expects to have some of its top committed players at the game, including quarterback Justin Rogers of Bossier City, La., Parkway and running back Ta’Zhawn Henry of Houston Lamar. It’s the last big showcase game weekend for the Frogs.
“It’s always a big weekend when you play UT,” said Billy Wessels, publisher of PurpleMenace.com. “It’s the name and the brand that everyone knows.”
In the best-case scenario for TCU, a big win might sway a recruit who is leaning Texas.
“It wouldn’t shock me if a couple of kids TCU went after and Texas went after do show up for the game just because it’s a good game to watch,” Clark said. “I’m sure TCU wouldn’t mind having them there if they were able to win.”
But for TCU, there aren’t many chances left to win a head-to-head recruiting battle against Texas. The Horned Frogs lost out on Houston Lamar cornerback D’Shawn Jamison when he committed to Texas on Oct. 14.
So despite a 4-1 record in Big 12 games against Texas, TCU continues an uphill climb in recruiting against the Longhorns.
“TCU’s always in an uphill battle because you have family members, relatives, coaches that have grown up Longhorn fans, and they’re telling you to go to Texas,” Clark said. “It’s kind of frustrating from TCU’s perspective because no matter how much success they’ve had on the field, it hasn’t translated into beating Texas for recruits.”
But going head-to-head against Texas in recruiting is a game that at one time TCU never even played .
Last spring, TCU beat out LSU for Rogers’ commitment.
“You used to be fighting with Boise State and Colorado State and Air Force and SMU,” said Matt Jennings, Big 12 reporter for DieHards.com. “And then you got to the point early in the Big 12 days when you were going up against Oklahoma State and Texas Tech, and now you win against them and Baylor. And now you’re getting to the point where you can steal a couple of guys from Texas and Oklahoma and LSU. It’s about context.”
Texas had the Big 12’s top-rated recruiting class for 2018 by the 247Sports rankings. TCU is third.
Nationally, the Longhorns rank second and TCU 19th.
“TCU is never going to recruit at the same level as Texas, for a million different reasons,” Jennings. “But the fact they are competing and can win select battles is a testament to where this program is compared to where it was even five, 10 years ago. It won’t be that lopsided forever, but winning head-to-head on the field is one of your best pitches to players, especially the in-state guys.”
No. 8 TCU vs. Texas
6:15 p.m. Saturday, ESPN
Head to head
TCU (7-1, 4-1)
Texas (4-4, 3-2)