Playing Through

This Valentine's Day, the Longhorns have learned to love the one they're with, not the one who got away

Vondrell McGee
Vondrell McGee (Courtesy of UT)

The one who got away always seems to be the one wanted the most. But today being Valentine's Day, it's important to put the lie to those unrequited romantic longings and remember to love the one(s) we're with.

In case you're confused, I'm talking about the University of Texas and the high school football star whom the Longhorns failed to sign last week. Longhorns sports aficionados refer to this recruit as "you know who," as if it were simply too painful to say Darrell Scott's name. Standing 6-feet-2-inches, weighing 215 pounds, and running a 4.4-second 40-yard dash (Adrian Peterson specs, basically), Scott is considered the best high school running back in the country.

A couple of days before signing day last week, Scott and his mother had sat down and pulled out four 3-inch-by-5-inch index cards, on which they had written the names of four schools: the University of Colorado, Louisiana State University, the UCLA, and UT. They went through the pros and cons of each.

Perhaps Scott's mom had read the bestseller He's Just Not That Into You. Anyway, although Louisiana State University is the national champion, the school just didn't seem all that into her son.

Coach Mack Brown and his staff were, though, especially after Jamaal Charles announced that he would be entering the NFL draft. Scott had already given Texas a private, unofficial commitment. But he was having second thoughts. The running back coach with whom he thought he'd be working had taken another position. Instead, Scott would be working with Major Applewhite. The former Longhorn quarterback may have "future head coach" written all over him, but understandably Scott had more immediate, self-centered concerns and doubted whether Applewhite was the position coach he needed.

"I like the area," he'd said of Austin. "I like the atmosphere, the fans, everything. The coaching staff."


"But the more time I thought about it, the more [the coaching change] scared me."

Scott was reminded of Texas' commitment to the running game. The word "Heisman" was mentioned. Often. Colt McCoy left messages.

But Scott just wasn't feeling it and chose Colorado, leaving Brown's recruiters speechless.

Colorado? A team that went 6-7 last year, that won only 44% of its games in the last five years, that has only had one Heisman Trophy winner?

Yep, that Colorado.

This is supposed to be a big deal, a heartbreaker. Even The New York Times wrote about it. But it's not. There are always going to be high school stars who get away – and the comfort is usually that most of them never fulfill their spectacular promise, while the players you've been taking for granted (say, Vondrell McGee, slated to be UT's starting running back regardless of Scott's decision) somehow do. The Texas backfield abhors a vacuum. Someone will step up and fill it nicely.

Fortunately, Mack Brown knows this. "You can't worry about guys who didn't come. You have to concern yourself with guys you got."

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Mack Brown, Darrell Scott, Adrian Peterson, Vondrell McGee, Major Applewhite

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