WACO _ They say recruitment of high school football players in an inexact science. But if the Texas Longhorns would have played their cards right, they could have had Baylor's Robert Griffin starting for them as their quarterback right now.
And wouldn't everyone in Longhorn Nation would like to see Griffin as their quarterback rather than you know who?
After all, Griffin is as close to another version of former UT quarterback Vince Young as anyone in college football. And remember, the only national title the Longhorns have won over the past 40 years came when Young took them there at the conclusion of the 2005 season.
Yeah, Texas did recruit Griffin, who was a standout high school quarterback up the road from Austin in Copperas Cove. But somebody at Texas ultimately dropped the ball when Griffin said the Longhorns didn't believe he could continue that success and become a polished college quarterback.
On Monday, Griffin was named a semifinalist for the Davey O'Brien National Quarterback Award, an honor which goes to the country's best quarterback. So, it will be interesting to see how Griffin performs against a UT coaching staff who didn't think he had what it takes to be a quarterback on this level.
"Texas did not recruit me as a quarterback,'' Griffin said Monday. "But they walked into my (high school) coach's office and placed an offer on the table as an "athlete,'' then walked out, so I never saw them.''
"That's Texas for you,'' Griffin said. "But they get talent from anywhere they want.
"If they put an offer on the table and you don't accept it, they'll go find some other guy.''
Griffin didn't necessarily view Texas' "offer'' as a sign of disrespect to his ability _ or lack there of _ to play quarterback on the collegiate level.
"I was one (player) that didn't go to (summer) camps,'' Griffin said. "I felt like my game tapes did the talking for me, and I didn't have to go prove it.
"I only went to two camps -- one in Houston and one in Tulsa.''
Griffin orally committed to play for coach Art Briles at the University of Houston, because Briles promised he wanted him as his quarterback. And when Briles resigned at Houston and became Baylor's coach on Nov. 28, 2007, shortly thereafter Griffin withdrew his oral commitment to UH and decided to follow Briles at Baylor.
Less than three years later, Griffin is the main reason Baylor (6-2) is bowl eligible for the first time since 1995. Meanwhile, Brown and the Longhorns are struggling with a 4-3 record going into Saturday's big matchup against Griffin and the Bears.
Statisically, Griffin is the second-best quarterback in the nation behind Hawaii's Bryant Moniz. A 6-2, 220-pound sophomore, Griffin has completed 180-of-270 passes for 2,373 yards, 18 touchdowns and only four interceptions. He also has rushed 76 times for 384 yards and six touchdowns.
Sounds like Vince Young-type numbers.
And guess what Brown had to say Monday about Griffin -- as a quarterback.
"You've got to have a trigger guy and Robert Griffin is as good as anybody in the country,'' Brown said. "I can't imagine people not having him in the Heisman (Trophy) race after watching him the last two weekends here.
"This is unbelievable. He's making plays, he's averaging 344 total offense himself, he threw for over 400 yards last week (against Kansas State), and he's scored 55 and 47 points two weeks in a row.
"I think he's as good as anybody out there that I've seen, and he changes their program completely, and he's got skilled people around him, he's got the good front. But he has made the complete difference in their program, and I think he's as good as any quarterback right now that's playing.''
Briles certainly is glad Brown recognizes Griffin's talents. And he especially fond of that comment about Griffin and the Heisman Trophy.
"I think it is a great honor that an opposing coach would mention that, without a doubt,'' Briles said. "We certainly feel like he is in the (Heisman) category and needs to be mentioned in that line of people that are mentioned with others around the nation.
"We are intelligent enough to understand if we maintain and continue at this pace that there will be some legitimate talk later on in the year. The main thing we got to do is just keep doing what we are doing and once again that will take of itself."
From Texas' standpoint, too bad Brown didn't have that strong impression of Griffin as a quarterback when he was at Copperas Cove. Otherwise, the whole landscape of the Big 12 Conference would have been altered.
Griffin is an extremely talented and confident player who can put a team on his back and carry them across the finish line. He said after Baylor played Texas during his freshman season two years ago, Brown tried to explain to him why he didn't offer him a scholarship to play quarterback at Texas.
But the point, by then, was moot.
"I'm glad I'm here at Baylor,'' Griffin said. "And I'm glad I'm here with coach Briles.''
-- Dwain Price