They say one man's trash is another man's treasure. Mack Brown's just doing his part to make it true in college football.
As Texas A&M's Johnny Manziel walked across the stage in New York City to collect the 2012 Heisman Trophy, coaches from around the country descended upon Texas' infamous "Convert To DB" landfill to search for scraps in their quest to find game-breaking offensive players. Redshirt freshman Manziel settled on the Aggies after a brief commitment to Oregon because Texas, his childhood favorite team, recruited him only as a defensive back. The coaches were quick to notice that Johnny Football's win comes on the heels of Texas defensive back recruit and Baylor QB Robert Griffin III winning the Heisman trophy last year, and UT DB recruit and Texas Tech WR Michael Crabtree's back to back Biletnikoff awards in 2007 and 2008.
The success of players in the Longhorn "Convert To DB" landfill has even led recruiting services to add another category to their rankings. Rivals.com's Jason Brusewitz announced that TDBR, Texas Defensive Back Recruit, would be listed on the website immediately. Currently, it looks like the Oklahoma State Cowboys are in line to land 2014's #1 TDBR, Jamal Wilkinson. Wilkinson's stat line of 4,127 yards passing and 72 total TDs (48 rushing) in 2012 was not well received by Longhorn coaches, with one position coach noting that Wilkinson's 1 to 2 passing TD to rushing TD ratio is a clear sign of poor development potential.
Iowa State's Paul Rhoads reacted to the Rivals news by issuing a statement that he has created an additional spot on his staff for a TDBR consultant. This staff member's sole responsibility is browsing Texas message boards to find out which high school offensive players in the state of Texas have been offered a scholarship by Mack Brown as a defensive back. The TDBR consultant would then quickly notify top recruiter Shane Burnham and Rhoads for an immediate in-house visit with the recruit.
New Tennessee coach Butch Jones decided to join the fray and use this logic to appeal to Volunteer fans: "I know I was the 5th choice for Tennessee, but Manziel was like, Texas' 287th choice for QB, and look how well he's doing."
Time will heal the sting of having to watch another throwaway recruit win a Heisman Trophy, but the one question that will always haunt Mack Brown is: "Would Blake Gideon have been the greatest QB of all time?"