The traditional National Signing Day for football players is in 58 days, but the first early signing period for high school players is a mere nine days away.
Meanwhile, college teams and those sought-after recruits continue to find the right match before the big moment.
Lone Star State recruiting was handed a plot twist last week with Texas A&M’s hiring of former Florida State coach and national champion Jimbo Fisher.
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Will Fisher make a good impression in Texas? How will he fare in Dallas-Fort Worth?
The Star-Telegram spoke with Brian Perroni, A&M Recruiting Insider for 247Sports, to get his take on the new move.
Q: What is the expectation for Jimbo Fisher and the recruiting trail in Texas?
A: Fisher had top five classes, or at least close to it, pretty much every season at Florida State. The state of Florida is just as competitive recruiting-wise as the state of Texas so that is an impressive feat. He has also surrounded himself with assistant coaches known as recruiters in the past and the first hire he made at A&M was Dameyune Craig, who is known for his recruiting relationships. It will be a bit of a transition to Texas, but Fisher and company had come into the state a bit recently. A year ago, they signed five-star defensive tackle Marvin Wilson. All of the coaches that have met Fisher so far that we have talked to have said he is very approachable.
Q: It hasn’t been that long since he took over, but it looks like Fisher has already made several stops in Dallas. Outside of Houston, is Dallas-Fort Worth the hub he needs to try and control the most early-on?
A: For the first time in a long time, Houston has a lot more top talent than DFW in the class of 2018. Because of that, Fisher has only spent one day in the DFW area. DFW is definitely important, but Houston is only an hour-and-a-half down the road and will likely be the bread and butter. With the University of Oklahoma relatively close to Dallas, there is a little more competition there. You can bet Fisher will go after all the top prospects in the state, though.
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Q: What’s the perception of Fisher among the Texas high school football coaches community, which we all know is a close-knit family? Is there a concern that he isn’t “one of them” so he might have trouble?
A: I have not heard any concerns yet about Fisher not fitting in. Some of the schools he went by in his first week, he had already been to in the past with Florida State. He has also been described as personable by them. But, Texas football is definitely a fraternity so he will have to bring some familiar faces to the state’s coaches on staff. That will likely be retaining a name or two from the previous staff and looking at others who have recruited the state in the past as well.
Q: If trouble is on the horizon there, what does he need to do to get in with Texas high school football coaches?
A: I don’t see trouble, but I think it’s just about getting out there on the road. Mack Brown did a good job of doing that, saying hello to all the employees of the school, taking pictures, etcetera. He quickly worked his way into that fraternity after coming over from North Carolina.
Q: A&M currently has the No. 18 class in 2018 on 247Sports.com. Do you expect that ranking to go up or down by the time national signing day is over?
A: A&M is in good shape with several top prospects so I think a top 10 class is a possibility. With only 15 commitments currently, there will be plenty of additions before signing day to help out the ranking.
Q: Should A&M be concerned about any recruits looking elsewhere because of their loyalty to Kevin Sumlin? If so, whom?
A: The one big concern for A&M right now is DaShaun White from Richland. Alabama has the attention of Arlington Lamar’s Bobby Brown as well, but if [A&M] defensive ends coach Terry Price is retained as most expect, that will be big. White is strongly looking at Oklahoma and you can bet that’s a reason Fisher visited him only a couple days on the job. White will be in College Station for his official visit this coming weekend.
Q: What are A&M’s biggest positions of need moving forward and who are the big fish they are going after the most to fill those needs?
A: A&M needs linebackers and defensive linemen. The Aggies have several defensive linemen committed, but Conroe Oak Ridge four-star defensive end Joseph Ossai is a big priority as a pass-rusher as is defensive end Jeremiah Martin from California. A&M is also working to flip Texas commit Keondre Coburn. At linebacker, there are a lot of questions about possible targets. It is extremely important for them to keep White in the fold and then maybe look to the junior college ranks for immediate help.