Recruiting brothers: deserved or strategic?

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Former Texas football coach Mack Brown had a history of recruiting brothers to the 40 Acres. And it seems current head coach Charlie Strong’s staff is on their way to following the trend.

Early Thursday morning Strong extended an offer to 2016 Gilmer Athlete Demarco Boyd. Demarco is a talented player in his own right, but most schools seem to understand that his best quality is his ability to influence his brother Kris Boyd, a 2015 Army All-American cornerback.  

The Boyd’s aren’t the first star brothers Strong’s staff has offered this year as 2015 RB Kirk Johnson and 2016 WR Collin Johnson have been committed to the Longhorns since April. The Johnson brothers were also seen as a package deal, but are widely regarded as high quality recruits no matter who they could bring with them.

The art of recruiting brothers is a time-honored practice. Brown was a master of it, recruiting some of the best talent in the country to Texas during his 16-year tenure. Sam and Emmanuel Acho, from the class of 2007 and 2008, respectively, benefited greatly from Brown’s willingness to offer within the family. The Acho brothers ended their careers at Texas as highly decorated linebackers, with both being named finalists for the Lott IMPACT Defensive Player of the Year Award while garnering All-Big 12 and All-American honors.

Though, on the other end, the Vaccaro brothers didn’t see the same equal results as the Acho’s. Older brother Kenny thrived as a defensive back under Brown, eventually being named All Big 12, All American, and a first-round pick in the 2013 NFL Draft. Younger brother Kevin, from the class of 2012, has dealt with a few injuries, but for the most part it seems that the junior safety has not been able to impress the new coaching staff enough to earn quality playing time. After recording five tackles in his freshman season on special teams, Vaccaro has played in just seven games without recording a stat.

But the McCoy brothers are perhaps the greatest example of recruiting both brothers based on the older brothers accomplishments. Former quarterback Colt McCoy left college as a two-time Heisman finalist and as the NCAA leader in career wins.  His legacy still lives strong at Texas, where many believe he should've won the 2009 National Championship. 

Younger brother Case McCoy is a different story. Though he was an accomplished high school quarterback, many saw his recruitment to Texas a favor from Brown, based on pedigree rather than potential. Case had an interesting career at Texas, splitting time with former quarterback David Ash for the better part of three years. Though he had some success at Texas, he was never near the player his brother was.

One half of Brown’s last brotherly recruits are still making an impact for the Longhorns. Senior WR Jaxon Shipley has been a consistent playmaker for the Longhorns throughout his career, breaking into the top 10 in school history in receptions, receiving yards, and punt return yardage. Older brother Jordan, who graduated in 2010, is one of the best Longhorn receivers in recent history, breaking records throughout his career including a school record 273 receiving yards against UCF in 2009. The eldest Shipley was a Consensus All-American as a senior, and recipient of the Paul Warfield Trophy, given to the nation’s best collegiate wide receiver.

Recruiting talented brothers is a long standing tradition in college football. Sometimes, as was the case for the Acho and Shipley brothers, both were recruited based on their own ability and potential. Other times, and probably too often, one brother is targeted by a school who has no intentions for him to contribute anything to the team besides a talented sibling.

It’s too early to tell where Coach Strong’s two sets of brothers will fall in this argument, though it seems as if the Boyd brothers fall into the same mold as the Vaccaro’s and McCoy’s. The Johnson’s seem to fit in with the Acho’s and Shipley’s, but it will not be clear until their time on the 40 Acres is up.