Texas' offseason hasn't even officially started and it's already off to a rocky start. This week, the Longhorns lost commitments from their top two recruits: Dallas RB Jordan Stevenson and H-Town offensive tackle Toby Weathersby. Texas is losing the recruiting battle to in-state rivals for the first time in recent history. One part of that has to do with the school's commitment to stodgy traditions.
These days, the Longhorns maintain one of college football's most boring-ass images. Texas Defensive Coordinator Vance Bedford recently called Baylor and Texas Tech's uniforms "clown suits" – which is hilarious – but also embodies a certain pedantic attitude shared by try-hard fans who are clinging tooth and nail to a tradition that can actually evolve just like everything else in life. Schools like Baylor and TCU have won recruits by embracing the flashy uniforms that might be otherwise considered gimmicks.
There are a bevy of other reasons why those programs have outpaced the Longhorns over the last half decade, but that modern branding has gone a long way on the recruiting trail. Baylor alone has gone from 13 recruits rated three stars or higher in 2011, to 23 in 2014. I would imagine that most Texas fans would gladly sacrifice a little bit of tradition to be in the conversation for the BCS playoff.
It's impossible to quantify the exact effect new uniforms and video LED displays above lockers have on recruits, but there's no doubt that it works. There's a reason why car dealerships always have balloons up, why real estate agents spend millions staging houses, and why your iPhone gives you tiny orgasms every time you get a text. Marketing's designed to fire dopamine surges toward well-educated adults. It should be no surprise that it works on naive high schoolers.
Traditionalists must remember this is not an all-or-nothing situation. You don't have to have kids changing uniforms at halftime like it's an Ariana Grande concert, or send Bevo out onto the field twerking to new Skrillex, but would it kill you to throw together a badass looking alternate helmet or maybe a marching band uniform that doesn't look like it was designed by a vintage couch? If a reflective helmet can help the best high school players in the nation see themselves in a Texas uniform, maybe those "clown suits" aren't half bad.