The city of Houston is among the most fertile, nutrient-rich recruiting soil in the country this side of South Beach. But don't take new Houston head coach Tom Herman's word for it. "Best recruiting territory in the country," Baylor head coach and former head Cougar Art Briles told FootballScoop on a visit last month. "If they ever get in a Power Five, look out." SMU head coach Chad Morris said the same as well, calling Houston and East Texas the most target-rich area in America. According to a USA Football study, Houston is tied for second among all metro areas in producing NFL players, trailing only Miami.
Herman's top priority? Keep the Big 12, the SEC, the Big Ten, the American and, really, the rest of college football out of Harris and Fort Bend counties. He moved toward that goal last week with an "H-Town Takeover" recruiting event.
Miami of the 1980's (minus the fatigues, presumably) provides a blueprint for what Houston could turn into, and the Cougars' staff started the H-Town Takeover proceedings with a twist on Miami's 30 for 30 documentary "It's All About the U."
The presentation they put on was very neat," Katy (TX) High School recruit Paddy Fisher told CougarsDen.com. "Basically what they're trying to do is do what the University of Miami did for years in getting everyone to stay at home and making a powerful program by getting all the top recruits in Houston to stay at home.
CougarsDen listed 14 different high-profile Greater Houston recruits in attendance.
"I don't know about each individual situation but if we're all serious about doing this then we'll have to talk and see who all is on board and who's iffy," said Katy product Collin Wilder said. "We're still trying to pan everything out and see where everyone is at. I think if one or two guys do it, everyone else will," Wilder said of the possibility of a large group committing to the H-town takeover. "My situation is complicated right now being committed to Texas Tech and that's why I haven't really promoted anything yet. But I feel like if everyone buys into this we could put together a really good team. It would be like a Houston area all-star team."
Will it work? Time will tell. Every coach to ever don Houston colors has attempted to build his proverbial fence around Houston to varying degrees of success.
But the fact that the program moved to replace previous head coach Tony Levine after posting a 15-10 mark over the past two seasons shows where the program already stands and where it sees itself in the future. A new stadium is in place. The Cougars play in a winnable division, with a potential Group of Five access bowl spot in the New Year's Six an arm's reach away.
The pieces for success are there. How quickly can Herman put them together?