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Sarkisian on recruiting and relationships

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In Steve Sarkisian’s introductory press conference in Austin on Tuesday, he made a statement that not only resonates with the current players, but it’s something recruits need to know.

“Everything we’re going to in this program is going to be centered around what is best for our players,” said Sarkisian. “Our goal is to put our players in the best position to be successful, whether that’s in life, on the football field, or in the classroom. They will be the priority of our program, and we will make sure we have everything in place surrounding them to put them in the best position to do that. I think that starts with building authentic relationships with them.”

At Alabama, Sarkisian put on a showcase of how to put his players in the best positions to succeed. Helping DeVonta Smith become the first Heisman winner at wide receiver since Michigan’s Desmond Howard in 1991 was the cherry on top of a perfect 2020 season and national championship. Now, he has the task of doing the same in Austin.

Sarkisian mentioned his top two priorities are finalizing the coaching staff and wrapping up the 2021 recruiting class. But even before that statement, he snagged a 2022 verbal pledge from Lewisville’s four-star wideout, Armani Winfield.

“To the high school coaches in the state of Texas, this is your program,” said Sarkisian. “Our doors are always open.”

Like Mack Brown before him, a call to the Texas high school football coaches was a must in his introductory presser. As was his insistence that the best high school prospects in Texas can’t be poached.

“We need to keep the best players in the state of Texas home, and that will be the priority when it comes to recruiting,” Sarkisian said.

One of Sarkisian’s first stops on Wednesday was attending the THSCA Board Meeting. Straight line recruiting at its finest. He also mentioned the phrase ‘authentic relationships’ numerous times in his press conference. That’s something that will serve him overwhelmingly well with recruits in the state. Relationships are the foundation of recruiting and Sarkisian seems to understand this well.

When asked about recruiting during his CFB Playoff media availability prior to Alabama-Ohio State, Sarkisian had an astute observation.

“Everybody is different,” said Sarkisian. “At the end of the day, when you can recruit good people and the staff to develop them, we can be in the position to win.”

It sounds simple, and it can be when applied properly. Recruiting at the University of Texas isn’t difficult, but it can be tough when you don’t win consistently or build strong relationships. For Sark, it might be the most important factor in the pursuit of top prospects.

I’m in, as well.