When LBJ recruited for the Texas Longhorns...
The persuasive power of President Lyndon B. Johnson is the stuff of Washington legend. Selling ice to Eskimos is nothing. As the Senate majority leader and again as president, LBJ sold civil rights legislation to a Senate controlled by Southern segregationists.
But 40 years ago, in the winter of Johnson's life, when he had returned to his beloved Texas, he couldn't sell the Longhorns to one of the top recruits in the state. The running back went to Texas' archrival and fulfilled the potential that had prompted Longhorns coach Darrell K. Royal to enlist LBJ in the first place.
Recorded in the files of the Lyndon Baines Johnson Library and Museum in Austin is the story of how the recruit, Joe Washington of Port Arthur, and his family refused an invitation from Johnson to go to the famed LBJ Ranch and meet the former president. Washington, a 5-foot-9 scatback, went to Oklahoma, where he became an All-American and, as a junior, finished third in the 1974 Heisman Trophy vote. After 10 years in the NFL, he was elected to the College Football Hall of Fame....
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