clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

What Ole Miss’ win in Houston could mean for recruiting in Texas

SB Nation’s Bud Elliott discusses the longterm recruiting fallout of the Rebels’ win over Texas Tech.

NCAA Football: Mississippi at Texas Tech Thomas B. Shea-USA TODAY Sports

Following Ole Miss’ 47-27 win over Texas Tech in Houston, I got up with SB Nation’s Bud Elliott to discuss how and why playing games in the Lone Star State can benefit the Rebels on the recruiting trail.

Ole Miss—and any other major program—needs to be recruiting in Texas.

“It’s really just a numbers game. If you look at just this year’s class, there are 14 blue chip players in Mississippi. The 30th rated player in Mississippi this year is barely inside the top 1,000 nationally. There are 41 kids rated four stars or better in Texas this year. The No. 30 kid in Texas is top 250 nationally. That kind of says it all right there.

“The average player in Texas is probably better than the average player in Mississippi just because of the population. We know that on a per capita basis, Mississippi puts out great players—you see all of the NFL players and Hall of Famers. But per capita doesn’t win you football games because you have to fill out 85 roster spots. It’s great if you’re super efficient but you also need volume. I think that’s where Texas comes in.

Blue chip prospects by state

Year Mississippi Texas
Year Mississippi Texas
2019 14 41
2018 4 50
2017 7 49
2016 11 55
2015 7 46
This table counts the number of high school prospects rated four or five stars by the 247Sports Composite

Playing games in Texas helps Ole Miss build its brand in the state.

“I don’t know that playing one game in Houston has a measurable impact—it’s more about building a presence in the state. If you’ve already recruited the state of Texas some and you tell kids that you care about Texas, then you can back up that pitch by saying ‘We just played a game here. We play every other year in College Station. We played in Cotton Bowls here within the last decade. We’re trying to schedule more.’ If I’m Ole Miss, that’s what I’m pitching.

Ole Miss has won 6 straight in the state of Texas

Year City Opponent Game type Score
Year City Opponent Game type Score
2018 Houston Texas Tech regular season 47-27, Ole Miss
2016 College Station Texas A&M regular season 29-28, Ole Miss
2014 College Station Texas A&M regular season 35-20, Ole Miss
2013 Austin Texas regular season 44-23, Ole Miss
2010 Dallas Oklahoma St. Cotton Bowl 21-7, Ole Miss
2009 Dallas Texas Tech Cotton Bowl 47-34, Ole Miss

“What also helps is the result. It’s one thing to just play there. You can say you went down there and crushed a Big 12 team. You can say, ‘The SEC is a hell of a lot better than the Big 12 is. You can still catch a bunch of balls but you can also play against more quality competition.’

The Rebels have had recent success in Texas.

“Ole Miss has had some success in Texas. You look at Greg Little and DaMarkus Lodge. Kids in Texas almost universally grow up playing in the wide-open spread. I think what Ole Miss does is attractive to them because of the familiarity. They’re like, ‘Oh, I’ve played this my whole life. I can ball out in this offense.’ It doesn’t take a whole lot of projection to visualize themselves in that offense.

“If I’m Ole Miss, I’m taking Lodge and Little and making a graphic with their grades or stats from that game and putting the state of Texas behind it and sending it to all of the Texas kids.”

Ole Miss Texas signees since 2015

State rank Name Year Stars Position Hometown
State rank Name Year Stars Position Hometown
1 Greg Little 2016 5 OL Allen
8 Deontay Anderson 2016 4 DB Manvel
9 DaMarkus Lodge 2015 4 WR Cedar Hill
33 Jaylon Jones 2016 4 DB Allen
39 D'Vaughn Pennamon 2016 4 RB Manvel
42 Miles Battle 2018 4 WR Houston
54 Mohammed Sanogo 2017 3 LB Plano
88 Greg Eisworth 2016 3 DB Grand Prairie
94 Ross Donnelly 2015 3 DL Cypress
186 Ryder Anderson 2017 3 DL Katy

“We’ve seen the SEC expand into Texas officially with A&M. Alabama has recruited Texas harder. We saw Georgia go to Texas a good bit last year. LSU has always recruited Texas, especially the Houston area. It just makes sense to go and see what you can do.

“When’s the last time a team from the Big 12 won a national championship? Not since Texas in 2005. It’s been a long time since the Big 12 was better than the SEC.”