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AUSTIN — When head coach Tom Herman and offensive coordinator Tim Beck arrived at Texas, the quarterback room was nothing like the one both had a hand in coaching at Ohio State, or even the one Herman and Major Applewhite had at Houston.
The room had a lot of vacant seats at the start. Beck was joined by a sophomore in Shane Buechele and an early-enrollee in Sam Ehlinger, along with several walk-ons. After seeing what the Longhorns were working with, Beck and Herman worked tirelessly throughout their first spring in Austin to give themselves a healthy quarterback room to work with going forward.
While making final preparations for Herman’s first spring game, Beck was locking down then-Southmoore quarterback and Oklahoma legacy Casey Thompson from north of the Red River. Two days before Ehlinger and Buechele split snaps for Team Orange and Team White, Thompson committed, joining Byron Hobbs and Justin Watkins as the first members of the #revolUTion18.
Eight days later, Beck and Herman made what was Texas’ first big wave in the 2018 recruiting cycle, flipping Newbury Park (CA) gunslinger Cameron Rising from Oklahoma, shocking the recruiting landscape.
The ripple effects were notable as well. Thompson made it known on Twitter he knew there was a good chance Rising would join him, the coaches had informed him about it, and he had no issue with the move. In addition, Seminole OL Reese Moore committed to Texas a day after Rising. Moore and Rising became friends after visiting Oklahoma, but Moore jumped at the opportunity to protect Rising after he jumped in the class at Texas.
As the cycle went on, Thompson and Rising gave Texas fans little reason to worry despite overtures from Michigan, LSU, Oregon, Arkansas, and others. The duo made sure to put all consternation to rest by starting their careers the best possible way a college quarterback can; enrolling early.
With their seniors committed, the head coach and OC looked to the 2019 class for its next quarterback of choice. At Texas’ signature summer camp, Stars at Night, the choice became pretty easy.
After winning a 40-yard dash competition, Port Neches-Groves’ Roschon Johnson grabbed the mic and told all those in attendance, including Texas coaches, that he had committed to the Longhorns. He meant it as he has completely locked himself into Texas and is taking measures to make sure he only hears from Longhorn coaches.
The effort to reshape the room with four high quality options for 2018, who each bring something a little different to the table, doesn’t excuse some of the mismanagement (throwing on 3rd and two with a lead) Beck and Herman had with the quarterback position throughout 2017. There is plenty to improve on the field, and all these quality options won’t matter if they aren’t properly utilized.
That said, going from two scholarship options in 2017, to four in 2018, to possibly five with spacing between classes in 2019 is quite a turnaround in just over a year considering what the coaches started with in January of 2017.
Beck and Herman will have to utilize the talent they had such a pivotal role in bringing to Austin in order for the recruiting victories to turn into actual victories. However, the pieces they’ve brought in should make that task much more attainable. It was no easy job to get them to Austin, but the efforts to get the QB room into a healthy state was a difficult test Beck and Herman passed with flying colors.