Open Thread | What do Parents and Top Prospects Really Think?

We will have an open post later this week, but with the Holiday week upon us and things being slow in regards to the recruiting cycle (until it explodes in June) I wanted to drop off a piece Darius Terrell had on both the Donor Sites last week. Some pretty interesting stuff to unpack in this feature. I appreciate Darius putting this together! – Charlie

With things in a holding pattern until the calendar turns to June, I thought that this week would be a good time to do some digging for the readers of our sites. You get the weekly updates on recruits and you see them saying a lot of the same things to everyone. You also have your handful that play to the audience and say what they believe wants to be heard.

I decided to do something a bit different. I used my contacts and decided to survey about a dozen individuals, spanning from 2022-2025 recruiting classes to get their real thoughts on things. I also made sure to get someone from each position group so that we could get the full picture.

Because this was an exercise completed in anonymity, I made sure to keep things relatively broad while still allowing folks to go into detail without possibly compromising their identities. The goal here was to bring you all some transparency to what recruits and parents in the state of Texas really feel about things currently.

Every father that I spoke with has a child that holds a Texas or Oklahoma offer and the younger guys will undoubtedly hold offers in the future.

Hope you all enjoy it.

Give me the first thing that comes to mind when you hear …

“Oklahoma”

2022 5 Star Parent

“Winning.”

2022 Defensive Parent

“Championships.”

2023 5 Star Parent

“Tradition. Great program that is consistent.”

2023 5 Star Parent

“Great program.”

2023 OL Parent

“Coach Bedenbaugh (Oklahoma)”

2022 DL

“Great School.”

2023 Standout

“Classy program.”

2023 5-Star

“Cee Dee lamb. Wide-open O. Big stats.”

2023 Offer

“Good Offense. On Defense, I have to do some more research.”

2024 5-Star

“Consistency. Good every year.”

2025 5-Star

“One of my top schools, I’ve been wanting to go there since I was like 8 years old.”

“Ohio State”

2022 5 Star Parent

“Eddie George.”

2022 Defensive Parent

“Underachieving.”

2023 5 Star Parent

“Great Defensive Line play. Coach Larry Johnson.”

2023 5 Star Parent

“Very prestigious. We want that offer.”

2023 OL Parent

“Big Ten Power

2022 DL

“Great D-Line.”

2023 Offensive Standout

“Championship football.”

2023 5-Star

“Garrett Wilson, Mike Thomas. Winning program.”

2023 Offer

“Defensive Lineman University right there. Love Chase Young, the Bosa brothers, etc.”

2024 5-Star

“Wide Receiver U”

2025 5-Star

“That’s my #1 school right there. That’s the offer I really want.”

“Texas”

2022 5 Star Parent

“The Burnt Orange. Mack Brown.”

2022 Defensive Parent

“Not very good.”

2023 5 Star Parent

“Hmmmmm. Tradition. They don’t recruit as hard as others. They rely on the big name more than building relationships so far. My son is disenchanted with them right now.”

2023 5 Star Parent

“That burnt orange. Big fans of Sark.”

2023 OL Parent

“On the come up. *laughs*

2022 DL

“Good Defense.”

2023 Standout

“Uhhhh, very slow to recruit local guys.”

2023 5-Star

“Coach Sark. Good offense. I want to see them first this season before I comment too much.”

2023 Defensive offer

“Very comfortable with Texas.”

2024 5-Star

“Ooh. On and off. Inconsistent.”

2025 5-Star

“My mom wants me to go to Texas so bad. I don’t know about that, though.”

“Alabama”

2022 5 Star Parent

“Nick Saban. Champions.”

2022 Defensive Parent

“Pinnacle of success.”

2023 5 Star Parent

“Championships, Nick Saban.”

2023 5 Star Parent

“Who wouldn’t want to play for Alabama.”

2023 OL Parent

“*laughs* the top dog. Alabama is the golden standard.”

2022 DL

“Great all-around.”

2023 Offensive Standout

“Nick Saban. One of the GOATs.”

2023 5-Star

“Nick Saban. Devonta Smith. Football factory.”

2023 Defensive offer

“National Championships. Playoffs every year.”

2024 5-Star

“Greatness.”

2025 5-Star

“Kind of far, but I like them a lot.”

“Texas A&M” 

2022 5 Star Parent

“Damontre Moore.”

2022 Defensive Parent

“On the upswing.”

2023 5 Star Parent

“Up and coming. Doing things the right way, they recruit very hard. Night and day between A&M and Texas on the recruiting trail right now in my opinion. They actually try. Tradition isn’t as big as Texas but they are shaking bushes and building relationships.”

2023 5 Star Parent

“Same deal as Texas. I like Jimbo Fisher. They’re in the picture.”

2023 OL Parent

“Coach Henson is a good guy. They have a really nice stadium.”

2022 DL

“Good for education and football.”

2023 Offensive Standout

“Uhhhh, definitely a great crowd and atmosphere.”

2023 5-Star

“Mmmm. Mike Evans, big stadium, big fan base. Good program.”

2023 Defensive Offer

“Have to do more research but I’ve heard they have one of the best Defensive programs in the country.”

2024 5-Star

“On the rise.”

2025 5-Star

“I like A&M. It’s close to home.”

“USC”

2022 5 Star Parent

“Snoop Dogg.”

2022 Defensive Parent

“*laughs* Dismal.”

2023 5 Star Parent

“Aw man, it’s just a fun place to be. You can’t go wrong with USC. Fun in the sun.”

2023 5 Star Parent

“Two of my guys are over there. I like them.”

2023 OL Parent

“Coach Carrington is a great guy, really genuine.”

2022 DL

“LA is cool.”

2023 Offensive Standout

“Honestly, I think of Juju Smith-Schuster and Wide Receivers.”

2023 5-Star

“Juju Smith, Los Angeles, Good school, OK in Football.”

2023 Defensive Offer

“One of my trainers used to work there and he always has good things to say about them.”

2024 5-Star

“Adoree Jackson”

2025 5-Star

“A lot of WRs have come out of there.”

“SEC”

2022 5 Star Parent

“Tough. It doesn’t get much better. Have to be a dog.”

2022 Defensive Parent

“Best conference for football.”

2023 5 Star Parent

“Top of the food chain. They are the big dogs right now.”

2023 5 Star Parent

“The powerhouse of everything. If the goal is NFL, that’s where you go.”

2023 OL Parent

“Overrated.”

2022 DL

“Some of the best players in college football.”

2023 Offensive Standout

“Definitely one of the best.”

2023 5-Star

“The baby NFL.”

2023 Defensive Offer

“Pretty much all of those guys end up playing in the NFL.”

2024 5-Star

“Best of the best.”

“Big XII”

2022 5 Star Parent

“Scheme and high-scoring. Big Offense.”

2022 Defensive Parent

“Decent.”

2023 5 Star Parent

“A lot of Offense. Folks put up a lot of points. Great QB play.”

2023 5 Star Parent

“Good Conference. More of a skills conference. Oklahoma has been running it lately.”

2023 OL Parent

“Oklahoma and Texas.”

2022 DL

“If you look hard you can find some diamonds.”

2023 Offensive Standout

“Honestly, they get a lot of talent but they don’t get many NFL looks.”

2023 5-Star

“Air-Raid conference. Big stats. Definitely for WRs and DBs.”

2023 Defensive Offer

“Fast. Lots of speed and skill. A little different from SEC. More skill than power.”

2024 5-Star

“Skill.”

“BIG TEN” 

2022 5 Star Parent

“It’s a slower pace game up there.”

2022 Defensive Parent

“Underwhelming.”

2023 5 Star Parent

“Just hard-nosed Football. More trenches-oriented league. You think of blue-collar when you think Big Ten.”

2023 5 Star Parent

“Great too. Don’t know too much but Ohio State runs it.”

2023 OL Parent

“Go Blue (Michigan). A lot of talent, but a lot to prove as a whole.”

2022 DL

“I guess good academic schools.”

2023 Standout

“A lot of underrated teams. Similar to Big XII. Not as much exposure as SEC.”

2023 5-Star

“Mmmmmm. Another decent conference, Ohio State runs it though.”

2023 Defensive Offer

“Just Ohio State. More of a pro style league.”

2024 5-Star

“Besides Ohio State, kind of lackluster.”

“ACC”

2022 5 Star Parent

“Honestly, don’t know much about it.”

2022 Defensive Parent

“Good football.”

2023 5 Star Parent

“Uhhhh. The ACC is top-heavy. Clemson, Miami, sometimes Florida State and then it falls off to everyone else. Almost like the old Big East.”

2023 5 Star Parent

“I wouldn’t mind my boy going out there to Clemson or with the O.G. Mack Brown.”

2023 OL Parent

“Needs someone to push Clemson.”

2022 DL

“I’m not too sure honestly.”

2023 Offensive Standout

“Clemson is the first thing that comes to mind.”

2023 5-Star

“Clemson, Florida State. That’s about it.”

2023 Defensive Offer

“Beyond Clemson I don’t know much about them. I actually talked to Clemson (Coach Hall) today. They take grades and sports serious.”

2024 5-Star

“Second-best”

“Nick Saban”

2022 5 Star Parent

“A winner, man. Knows how to get sh** done.”

2022 Defensive Parent

“Shoot. A master.”

2023 Defensive 5 Star Parent

“He’s the GOAT. First thing that comes to mind. One word.”

2023 5 Star Parent

“The GOAT. In 20 years, he has 10 titles. All of his kids have a ring that have played for him.”

2023 OL Parent

“One of the best to ever do it.”

2022 DL

“Not much to be said. The GOAT.”

2023 Offensive Standout

“Best college football coach ever.”

2023 5-Star

“The GOAT.”

2023 Defensive Offer

“Very hard-working guy. Has everything on lock and cares about his players.”

2024 5-Star

“Greatest in college.”

2025 5-Star

“I’ve heard he’s the GOAT even though he’s an older coach.”

“Lincoln Riley”

2022 5 Star Parent

“Smart guy. Young with good pieces around him. On his way up.”

2022 Defensive Parent

“Good coach.”

2022 5 Star Parent

“Great coach. He kept the tradition and they haven’t missed beat.”

2023 5 Star Parent

“Great coach. Offensive coach that can bring out the best in offensive players. Genius.”

2023 OL Parent

“He runs a good program. Really solid. Haven’t met him in person yet.”

2022 DL

“Smart guy. Probably will coach in the NFL soon.”

2023 Offensive Standout

“He’s done great at Oklahoma and is very knowledgeable.”

2023 5-Star

“One of the best play-callers right now. One of two.”

2023 Defensive Offer

“I don’t know yet.”

2024 5-Star

“What school is he at? Great at development.”

“Jimbo Fisher”

2022 5 Star Parent

“Ole Jimbo. I honestly don’t know too much about him. He seems like a good enough dude. Definitely a Players” Coach.”

2022 Defensive Parent

“Good coach.”

2023 5 Star Parent

“Another awesome coach. Turning A&M around and I think he will have them in a National Title game within the next 5 years.”

2023 5 Star Parent

“I put him in the same category as folks like Saban and Swinney. We will be at that Bama-A&M.”

2023 OL Parent

“Building something special in my opinion.”

2022 DL

“He seems cool. His guys make it.”

2023 Offensive Standout

“Definitely confident and he can turn a program around.”

2023 5-Star

“Pretty good coach. I really don’t know much about him.”

2023 Defensive Offer

“Outstanding.”

2024 5-Star

“Oooh. Not bad, could be better.”

“Steve Sarkisian”

2022 5 Star Parent

“I don’t think he’s gonna be denied. He has something brewing at Texas. It might take two or three years but he has it setting up in my opinion.”

2022 Defensive Parent

“*laughs* …. Um, we’ll have to see. Hasn’t done much yet.”

2023 5 Star Parent

“Aw man, great Offensive mind. Great Offensive Coach. Very easy to talk to.”

2023 5 Star Parent

“You’ve seen his work. Amazing coach. He’s a lot like Lincoln Riley. They’re in the same category.”

2023 OL Parent

*Son chimes in* “Good first impression”

2022 DL

“I don’t really have an opinion yet on him.”

2023 Offensive Standout

“Coach Sark is definitely a great offensive coach. I think he can turn Texas around.”

2023 5-Star

“The other best play-caller in college football. He’s gonna get playmakers the ball.”

2023 Defensive Offer

“Very organized. He explains things well, easy to talk to.”

2024 5-Star

“Going to help them build”

“Who is your favorite (assistant) coach to talk to?”

2022 5 Star Parent

“Coach Cain at Oklahoma. Straightforward guy. Maybe Chris Gilbert at Texas.”

2022 Defensive Parent

“Coach Price (Texas A&M).”

2023 5 Star Parent

“I don’t know. I’m not sure there is one yet.”

2023 5 Star Parent

“Brandon Harris (Texas), Jay Valai (Alabama), Eron Hodges (Texas Tech), and Jeff Martin (USC).”

2023 OL Parent

“Coach Carrington at USC.”

2022 DL

“Coach Randolph (Texas Tech) and Coach Browning (Cal).”

2023 Offensive Standout

“David Shaw from Stanford for sure. I love talking to him, he’s so knowledgeable about not just football but everything.”

2023 5-Star

“Coach (Brandon) Harris.”

2023 Defensive Offer

“Arizona State (Coach Rod) for sure.”

2024 5-Star

“Coach Chinander at Nebraska.”

“Which school does the most negative recruiting?”

2022 5 Star Parent

“Nobody. I haven’t heard any of that. I actually have had two programs speak highly of Larry Johnson (DL Coach) at Ohio State.”

2022 Defensive Parent

“Alabama.”

2023 5 Star Parent

“We haven’t really experienced any of that yet. Just folks saying Texas kids need to get out of Texas and spread their wings.”

2023 5 Star Parent

“A coach at Oklahoma.”

2023 OL Parent

“Texas Tech”

2022 DL

“Nobody.”

2023 Offensive Standout

“Texas”

2023 5-Star

“Baylor”

2023 Defensive Offer

“Probably SMU.”

2024 5-Star

“I haven’t heard anything yet really negative.”

2025 5-Star

“Nobody really”

“More important: Being a featured player or making the CFP?”

2022 5 Star Parent

“Great question. I’d have to say being featured.”

2022 Defensive Parent

“Making CFP.”

2023 5 Star Parent

“I think making the Playoff is more important. Scheme is important too and I think he would be a great fit at TCU, but it’s not up to me.”

2023 5 Star Parent

“Being featured in the scheme.”

2023 OL Parent

“Being in the proper scheme. Development matters.”

2022 DL

“I think being featured for overall success.”

2023 Offensive Standout

“Honestly, this is a tough one. I think being a feature guy, man.”

2023 5 Star

“Being featured.”

2023 Defensive Offer

“Being featured for sure. Have to be in the right situation to be able to make plays. The rest will take care of itself.”

2024 5-Star

“Being featured in the scheme.”

2025 5-Star

“Probably making it to the playoffs. I want the big stage.”

“What’s really the most important factor when it comes to your son’s decision?

2022 5 Star Parent

“You know it’s about the league. It’s still early for us and I’m letting him do him. We’ll probably sit down after the visits in the summer and have a real serious conversation about it all.”

2022 Defensive Parent

“Him being comfortable.”

2023 5 Star Parent

“The environment outside of Football. Is the system in place a system that helps kids grow? Is it a place that he would want to stay outside of just Football? Can you really enjoy being in college there?”

2023 5 Star Parent

“You have to show us you’re a real family. We’re prioritizing the “real” and we will be seeing through any fake stuff. Has to be a program that develops players and can get him where he wants to go as a man and athlete.”

2023 OL Parent

“Academics for me. And when I say academics I don’t mean ratings. Do they have a good alumni base? Are they pushing the kids through or is it a genuine program where kids are learning and truly being prepared for the real world as men?”

2022 DL

“The culture is the most important. The best blend of Football and a real education.”

2023 Offensive Standout

“My relationship with my position coach. That’s going to be #1. It’s all about trust.”

2023 5-Star

“Am I going to play early, relationship with position coach, can you get me where I’m trying to go (NFL).”

2023 Defensive Offer

“Has to feel like home and I won’t just settle for going for a big-name school. It has to be real and my family has to agree with it too.”

2024 5-Star

“How it feels. I have to feel like I can spend the next 3-5 years of my life there and that the position coach has my best interest in mind.”

2025 5-Star

“Definitely will be based on relationships and how my mom feels. She has to be able to see me play.”

*I thought that there was a lot to unpack here. I’ll be sure to leave some more thoughts below later. I’d love to hear what you all concluded from this deal.*