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Saturday, January 20, 2018


Houston, we have a recruiting problem

After Tom Herman’s departure from the program, six players from the 2017 class have de-committed | The Daily Cougar

Undoubtedly, the Houston Cougars are in the midst of a recruiting crisis two weeks before signing day. A total of 10 high school prospects have de-committed from UH, and the Cougars’ recruiting class rank has plummeted.

On Nov. 28, a few days after Herman left the team, the Cougars’ recruiting class rank was No. 35 nationally, according to 247Sports. As of this article’s publication, the Cougars lie at No. 65 nationally and No. 3 in the American Conference behind Memphis and UCF.

The de-committing began with cornerback Javelin Guidry. After Guidry, five more players followed suit, totaling six post-Herman de-commits.

In a Twitter post, Guidry revealed that his lack of faith in the new coaching staff drove his decision to begin looking elsewhere.

“Based upon the recent coaching changes and uncertainty of the program, I am de-committing from the University of Houston and re-opening my recruitment,” Guidry wrote.

Guidry has received offers from Utah and Texas since de-committing from Houston.

Daniel Young, a 3 star RB, and Marqez Bimage, a 3 star OLB, both de-committed from Houston and committed to Texas.

Current head coach Major Applewhite inherited the sinking ship but has a different take on what drives players to commit to schools.

In a press conference last week, Applewhite argued that if a coach can emphasize to his players that they are going to their school based on the program, they will find that most coaches are similar. In the end, players stay at a school for the culture in the city, the academics of the university and the winning tradition.

“What I think prospects find is all coaches are about the same,” Applewhite said. “It’s reemphasizing to them, ‘I’m going to Houston because of the program.’”

Applewhite added that he wouldn’t sign anyone for the sake of signing them to inflate the class rank. He’s making sure that he’s signing the right recruits that fit the program best.

Houston isn’t the only school in the country experiencing this problem. Western Michigan’s 2017 class has 14 total de-commits, with 11 in January. Students are fleeing the school because of former head coach, P.J. Fleck.

Fleck was the head coach at WMU from 2013-2016 and recently led the Broncos to a New Year’s Six bowl game. Like Herman, Fleck left for a Power Five school after leading a Group of Five school to national recognition. Minnesota offered him the head coaching position, and he took it.

He didn’t leave alone. Within 24 hours, Fleck flipped six players from WMU to Minnesota. Within a few days, that number increased to nine.

Chris Autman-Bell, a three-star prospect recruited by Fleck at WMU, posted on his Twitter: “Due to Coach Fleck taking the University of Minnesota job, I will like to say that I am De-Committing from Western Michigan and attending The University of Minnesota.”

This is not the first time that Houston has had an abysmal recruiting class because of a new head coach. Herman’s first year at Houston saw the Cougars’ recruiting class rank at No. 92 nationally and No. 7 in the AAC. The 2015 recruiting class  managed to sign only five three-star recruits.

However in his next year as head coach, Herman surpassed expectations, signing Ed Oliver, the first five-star recruit to enroll at a Group of Five school and three four-star recruits. The 2016 recruiting class was No. 1 in the AAC and No. 36 nationally.

How did Herman recruit so well in 2016?

He won games in 2015. He took the Cougars to the Peach Bowl where they upset the Florida State Seminoles and ended the season as the second best team in Texas.

If the 2018 recruiting class is to be anything like the 2016 class, the Cougars have to prove that they can win — even without Herman.

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  • coachv79

    Mr Gibson. You have just written an article that justifies the current trend of “fake news”. No, this class does not look anything like 2015 nor was the 2015 class “abysmal”. Perhaps a walk across campus to discuss with Football’s Director of Recruiting could have helped you from being so misinformed. Isn’t that part of being a sports reporter?0

    I have been a follower of UH Football for 40 years, thick and thin. In those 40 years I have seen “abysmal” recruiting classes and there have been several. However, 2015 was not one of them and I question your selection of a 92 ranking. There are many rankings and, I’m sure, I could selectively pick out one much higher with little effort.

    Mr. Gibson, in the future work a little harder on your piece. Make a visit to the football office and gain their perspective. That isn’t too far from The Cougar offices is it? This article is critical when there is no need to be critical since all that matters in recruiting is what happens on signing day. In that light we did have decommittments which could be of the following reasons; 1) Our former coach recruited them 2) They didn’t fit our new program 3) Decided to reopen their recruiting due to the coaching change.

    I’ve mentored a few young men through this process. I advised both they and their parents to pick the school not the coach. That the chances are slim of ever getting a paycheck for playing football one must look to the degree and alumni as a basis of support in your career. UH has strong alumni support and Tier One degrees so I doubt we will ever suffer from abysmal recruiting classes now or in the future.

    • The Man

      One of the “trends” of “fake news” is when the news is actually accurate and you try to spin your way out of it which is what you just did.

      • James

        The class ended up being the highest rated among G5 based on ESPN rankings and 4th highest based on 24/7 rankings. Can we also bring up that 4 of the 10 decommitments were during the Summer in which the Cougars signed more than that amount to replace them. At the time of the article, the Cougars had 4 less commitments than they did the day Herman left. A better article might be about talking to rating services and asking them why 4 UH recruits went up in ratings from the time the decommitted to UH to after committing to UT and Baylor.

  • Brad S.

    As an alumni, I’m completely embarrassed by Daily Cougar sports reporting. Wait until signing day to call a recruiting class abysmal. The author probably had to look it up in the dictionary. With any luck, the author won’t graduate from UH and tarnish the reputation of competent alumni with integrity.

  • Jorge

    Leonard Gibson.. your article is anti-cougar as you are making inflamatory comments about decommitments. You ahould be aware that decommitments are common in college football and that a recruiting class is not finalized until signing day. Perhaps you should start by understanding what a ‘crisis’ is.
    Some players go and some come. A recruiting crisis would be not able to recruit and not having enough recruited players at the end of the signing period. Given the fact that signing day is still ahead of us, your poor written article is badly timed and not accurate. Please consider removing this piece of fake news.. specially shown in The Daily Cougar.
    Worst article I have read this year.
    It is the players mentality, influenced by their coach, that determines how good they will be. In many cases, some players are special and very talented but in most of the cases it is the college coaching years that set them apart.

  • Some free advice to journalism students — never ever use the phrase “Houston, we have a …..” It’s a decades-old cliche and it’s tacky and unoriginal in 2017. Just eww.

  • Derrick4ril

    Donovan Stiner+ Sam Cosmi+ Carlos Grace+ Terrel Bernard+ Chidi Ogbonnaya= Crisis….Shame the Devil Mr Gibson with truth!!!

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