Last February, four-star safety Larry Turner-Gooden committed to Arizona State. He said it was about family as his former high school coach Chris Claiborne was an assistant with the Sun Devils and he was also close with position coach Chris Hawkins as well.
But that pledge didn’t work out in the end and in late September the Mission Hills (Calif.) Alemany standout reopened his recruitment.
That’s when Texas, Colorado, Maryland, Penn State, USC and others joined the fray. On Saturday at the All-American Bowl, Turner-Gooden committed to the Longhorns and one of the biggest reasons was because Turner-Gooden has had such a good relationship with coach Steve Sarkisian for so long.
What made this commitment interesting is that Turner-Gooden had great visits to other schools across the country and his decision could have gone many different ways.
Plus, because of COVID-19 testing, Turner-Gooden was quarantined this week in San Antonio and did not practice or talk to the media so his was one of the more unpredictable decisions during the game.
“They’re telling me to come in and be a difference-maker. The atmosphere and the fans (stand out). (The fans) are a big reason why you’d want to play out there. The staff is great, too. Steve Sarkisian is a great dude. You know he’s going to get you where you need to be. He’s cool, laid back. He keeps it 100 with you.”
WHAT IT MEANS
Recruiting the state of Texas is always going to be paramount for Sarkisian and his staff because there is so much home-grown talent. But using recruiting contacts in the West is also going to be an edge that Sarkisian has against some others and that’s exactly what happened with Turner-Gooden and others in this class.
The four-star safety is from Southern California. So is Texas’ quarterback commit Maalik Murphy. The Longhorns also went to Arizona and Washington state for big-time pledges in this group. Recruiting at home comes first but leveraging that recruiting network in the West is another bonus for Sarkisian as he puts together one of the best classes in the country.