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September 13, 2012
Moral of the story? Mack doesn't like the circus
Ron Burgundy: Boy, that escalated quickly... I mean, that really got out of hand fast.
Champ Kind: It jumped up a notch.
Ron Burgundy: It did, didn't it?
On the morning after the news broke that Mack Brown and the rest of the Texas coaches have made the decision to stop recruiting the state's top available prospect Ricky Seals-Jones, I couldn't help but think of the movie Anchorman. Yes, things have gotten out of hand rather quickly and it feels like they did jump up a notch.
Say it again out loud for yourself, so that the "alities" get taken care of in a way that is completely understood. You know… reality and finality. Ricky Seals-Jones will not be a Longhorn on national Signing Day.
From the very moment that Seals-Jones announced his de-commitment from the Longhorns earlier this summer, I've had my money on the rest of the field and been quite public about it. It is one thing for a kid to reopen the recruiting process and it's another thing for a school that's being declared the favorite to have its name taken through the mud in national publications over alleged death threats from alleged "fans" in the aftermath of the news.
In two decades of recruiting, I've never seen an alleged story like that end with smiles between the two parties. So, from the moment RSJ de-committed, I knew how this would end and I think many others understood as well, regardless of what was being said publicly. The death threat story only emboldened my thinking on the matter.
Hell, just last week RSJ made a Tweet during Texas' win over New Mexico commenting on the Texas passing game that involved some constructive criticism and as soon as it happened, I thought, "Uh oh."
This ticking bomb has been preparing to go off for months and I'm not sure what happened that served as the final straw for Mack, but it seems obvious that something was going to explode and it did on Wednesday night.
Bottom line? You can use whatever words you want to describe this recruitment, just know that Mack is tired of it and simply couldn't do it any longer.
Honestly, it kind of reminds me of Kansas' recruitment of JaRon Rush many, many, many moons ago. Back in 1997, Rush was one of the nation's most high-profile basketball recruits and as a Kansas City native, there was an immense amount of pressure for Roy Williams and Co. land him at Kansas. Well, that recruitment was a circus act (with a big top and everything) if there ever was one and there's no question that the tail was wagging the dog. All of the angst came to a head early in the 1997-98 season when Rush made comments to a local reporter that questioned what the Jayhawks did on offense.
A few days later, Williams announced on his weekly radio show that the program was not recruiting anyone from the Kansas City area that year. He never mentioned Rush by name, but everyone in both the state of Kansas and Missouri understood exactly what he was saying… Ol' Roy didn't play games with high school kids that wanted to talk about his coaching as part of the circus act.
Fifteen years later, as RSJ's recruitment heats up this fall, Mack seems to be sending the exact same message.
Mack doesn't do circuses any more. He's purchased his last ticket to Ringling Brothers.