Texas A&M seemed like it was ready to hire Mark Stoops Saturday night, but something happened at the last minute that changed the Aggies plan of attack, and ultimately they went with Mike Elko.

It’s unclear what happened or how close the deal was to being done, but one Texas A&M insider broke down just how close the deal was for Stoops.

Billy Liucci, who has covered Texas A&M for TexAgs since 1997, was one of the leading insiders reporting on Texas A&M’s coaching search. He joined McElroy and Cubelic in the Morning on Tuesday, doubling down on how close the Stoops deal was to going through.

“I think it was at the finish line,” Liucci said. “We know what we’re gonna hear from the Kentucky side, we know what we’re gonna hear from the A&M side. I’m 100% convinced the A&M angle to it is true, not that there’s anything wrong with it… I don’t think A&M gains anything from saying ‘Oh, we changed our mind.’ Coaches blink at the finish line all the time, assistants, head coaches, ‘can’t leave my family, this place is too important to me…’ I think that’s what happened with A&M, I’m convinced of that because I was covering it behind the scenes second to second. And I think he got right to the finish line.”

One of the theories was that Texas A&M officials saw the negative reaction to the Stoops hiring and decided to pull out. Liucci cleared the air on whether that had anything to do with it.

“Did the reaction from the fanbase have anything to do with it?” Liucci said. “I think it’s shined a light and kind of caused the hire up decision makers and a couple of the most prominent donors to kind of say, ‘Well wait a second, what are we doing. For this much money what are we doing…'”

Liucci said that what he believes happened was Texas A&M evaluated how much they would have to spend on Stoops and whether it would be worth it, and instead decided to go with a Elko, who wouldn’t require as much money.