- ESPN staff writer
- Joined ESPN in 2011
- Graduated from Central Michigan
The Texas football program isn’t holding back in its recruiting visits, but the effort paid off this summer to the tune of the currently No. 3-ranked recruiting class led by No. 2 quarterback Arch Manning.
According to public records obtained by The Athletic, the Longhorns spent nearly $630,000 on two recruiting weekends in June, including the June 17-19 official visit by Manning and eight other recruits that featured five-star accommodations and virtually all-you-can-eat fare for them and their families.
The Manning visit — where almost $280,000 was spent on the nine recruits, according to The Athletic — has resulted in four commitments so far. Manning, the nephew of Super Bowl winners Eli and Peyton Manning, announced he would play for the Longhorns on June 23, four days after his recruiting trip. His high school teammate, three-star tight end Will Randle, committed at the end of the visit on June 19.
Among the highlights of the visit, according to The Athletic: a full spread in their rooms at the Four Seasons Austin, a photo shoot at DKR Texas Memorial Stadium, a trip to driving range Top Golf, multiple lavish meals and a breakfast at the home of coach Steve Sarkisian.
The extravagance appears to be standard at Texas, which spent nearly $350,000 the weekend of June 24 on 14 recruits; 12 players from that group have committed to the Longhorns.
The $630,000 total on two weekend visits shows how much Texas has invested in recruiting compared to recent years. Athletic Director U and INFLCR published NCAA financial reports that showed Texas spent $1,275,368 on recruiting for the 2019 fiscal year. That was the 13th most spent on recruiting that year, which was led by Georgia at $3,676,858.
The Bulldogs spent $2.7 million on recruiting in 2020, which was affected by recruiting restrictions from the COVID-19 pandemic.
The increase in recruiting spending is not unusual to see, as the Orlando Sentinel reported in July that the University of Florida Athletic Association increased its football spending by $4.72 million recently, with $700,000 added to the recruiting budget. That was a 55% increase that gave new coach Billy Napier close to a $2 million budget for recruiting and does not include Napier’s access to two private jets with a budget of $839,000, according to the report.
The increase in spending has become essential for major programs to keep up. For Texas, which currently has 12 ESPN 300 commitments in the Class of 2023, the spending, while eye popping, has paid off under Sarkisian.
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