Texas Longhorns push their recruiting towards a new frontier: Louisiana

Memphis Tigers head coach Larry Porter talks to a game official during their game against the Memphis Tigers at M.M. Roberts Stadium. (Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports)

Former Memphis Tigers head coach Larry Porter is now leading the Texas Longhorns’ recruiting push into the state of Louisiana. (Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports)

Coach Mack Brown and the Texas Longhorns have never really been forced to recruit star high school players from very far outside of their home state. Everyone knows that the Lonestar State is an absolute college football recruiting hotbed, and Texas’ Austin campus is the crown jewel of the state system. It is the most profitable athletic department in the nation and nearly every pee wee player in the state wants to sport the Burnt Orange after graduating from the prep ranks.

However, the state of Louisiana actually turns out more NFL players per capita than any other state in the country, according to Max Olsen of ESPN’s HornsNation, and Brown has brought a man on board who has already helped the program to develop that interstate pipeline.

In 2002, Porter joined coach Les Miles at Oklahoma State as the Cowboys’ running backs coach. When Miles accepted the open head coaching duties at LSU, Porter followed. The former Memphis star spent the next five seasons in Baton Rouge, earning a reputation as one of the nation’s top recruiters.

In fact, Rivals.com named Porter the Recruiter of the Year in both 2007 and 2009, no small feat.

Now, Porter heads into Spring practices as the Horns’ running backs coach, but mainly, as the team’s connection to some fertile recruiting grounds that has traditionally been dominated by SEC schools.

This, also according the Olsen.

“The addition of new running backs coach Larry Porter, who built his reputation as an elite national recruiter during his five-year stint at LSU, should give Texas an opportunity to establish a foothold in Louisiana in the next few years. Porter is assigned to recruit an area he knows all too well, and the initial results are impressive.

“The Longhorns have already offered scholarships to at least six of the state’s best prospects and could offer a seventh, New Orleans Edna Karr tight end Anthony Jones, in the near future. Four of those seven were on campus last weekend for Texas’ second junior day.”

Since 2006, LSU has signed 23 of the state’s 36 ESPN150-rated recruits. Obviously, Miles and the Tigers have a decided recruiting advantage in their home state.

However, the program could have a real challenge on their hands when it comes to signing their home-grown talent, and it will be in a very familiar face in Larry Porter.

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