AUSTIN, Texas -- Saturday’s highly anticipated shootout between new Big 12 foes West Virginia and Texas could be the Longhorns biggest home game since they played No. 1 Ohio State in 2006.
That type of hype has made for a lengthy list of recruits who are expected to make their way to Austin for the game.
Here are William Wilkerson and Max Olson's top five visitors that could be in attendance:
1. DT A’Shawn Robinson (Fort Worth, Texas/Arlington Heights)
Yes, the No. 130 player in the ESPN 150 is committed to Texas and has been since Feb. 16. But his official visit to Florida State a few weeks ago raised some eyebrows, and, as we’ve noted, he might not be finished visiting elsewhere. USC and Alabama could still get officials from him in the future.
This is the perfect time for Robinson, the No. 11 DT in the country, to come to Texas in what should be an electrifying atmosphere where he’ll rub elbows with numerous other Longhorns commitments. A victory on the field would go a long way toward their hopes of securing a victory in Robinson’s recruitment.
2. DB Cole Luke (Chandler, Ariz./Hamilton)
The four-star cornerback experienced a rather subdued Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium during Texas’ most recent Orange-White spring game. But he will experience something entirely different on Saturday on his official visit. The Longhorns have been courting Luke for months now, so to get him on campus is huge in itself. But getting him to Austin this weekend couldn’t have worked out any better for Texas given that this could be the program’s biggest home game since 2006.
The Longhorns are in dire need of another cornerback in this class. They could get one on Oct. 8 when Chevoski Collins announces his decision. But they might not, which would only increase the importance of Luke’s visit this weekend. He’s down to Texas, Notre Dame and Oklahoma.
3. C/OG Andrew Billings (Waco, Texas/Waco)
The reigning state powerlifting champion is in full contemplation mode right now between Texas, Baylor and TCU. He has visited games of all three programs this season and told HornsNation that he could have made his decision already. But his father wanted him to figure out what he wanted to major in first and do some research as to what school would be the best for that as well.
Whether that decision would have been Texas is anyone’s guess. But getting him to Texas this weekend would go a long way in reaffirming his decision with the Longhorns or possibly changing his mind after he experiences the raucous atmosphere at DKR.
It’s no guarantee that he’ll make it to Austin though. He said his coaches would like him at Saturday practices from here on out because district play has started.
4. ATH Chevoski Collins (Livingston, Texas/Livingston)
It’s well known by now that Collins will make his decision public at 11:15 a.m. CT on Oct. 8 at his high school. He says he already knows where he is going to go. Similar with Billings, if it’s Texas then this should only reaffirm his decision, given what type of atmosphere Texas should expect against West Virginia.
If it’s Oklahoma, Baylor or Oklahoma State, then maybe this goes a long way in persuading him otherwise. Like Billings, though, there is no guarantee that he will make it down to Austin. He has an SAT exam Saturday morning, and Livingston is a four-hour drive away.
5. OG Caleb Benenoch (Katy, Texas/Seven Lakes)
I was debating putting one of the top 2014 prospect attendees in this spot (Tony Brown, Jamal Adams, Ed Paris) but I’m going to go with Benenoch simply because at this stage in his recruitment, the Longhorns need to make a splash and reaffirm why they were a big reason for his de-commitment from Michigan State.
He has enjoyed his trips to Oklahoma, Texas A&M and Baylor, and Texas needs to make sure he enjoys this one as well. One way of doing that is by winning: the Sooners lost when he was in town to watch them host Kansas State.
1. CB Cole Luke (Chandler, Ariz./Hamilton)
The big official visitor of the weekend, Luke made the trip to Austin earlier this year for the Orange-White spring game. He has seen DKR on a calm April afternoon. Now he gets to see a big-time night game against a top-10 team. No better atmosphere than that. Luke is down to Texas, Oklahoma and Notre Dame. Luke is a priority right now, yes, but he’ll be even more important if Chevoski Collins picks Oklahoma next week. Texas needs to wow Luke on this visit.
2. DT A'Shawn Robinson (Fort Worth, Texas/Arlington Heights)
First Robinson goes on an official visit to Florida State, with possibly more to come. Then he shows up to his U.S. Army All-American Bowl jersey presentation in a crimson Alabama tee. The message is unmistakeable: Robinson is looking around. The big defensive tackle is an irreplaceable member of this class. Jake Raulerson considers himself the bell cow of this Texas 2013 recruiting class. One of his sheep has strayed from the herd, and you know he's going to make it his No. 1 priority to ensure Robinson sticks with the Longhorns.
3. OG Caleb Benenoch (Katy, Texas/Seven Lakes)
Benenoch has loved every visit he’s taken so far. Oklahoma, Texas A&M, Baylor -- they’ve all been great. But he’s legitimately excited for this one, even to the point that he nearly made this an official visit so he could spend the weekend in Austin. Texas rolled out the red carpet for Benenoch back in June and managed to sway him into decommitting from Michigan State, and he’ll only get more attention this time around. His recruitment likely won’t end until the winter, but this is as good a time as any to reaffirm Texas’ place as his No. 1 school.
4. OG Andrew Billings (Waco, Texas/Waco)
Billings is still iffy about whether he’ll be able to attend. If Texas can get him on campus this weekend, though, that’s a big deal. The talented two-way lineman has been wavering on his decision plans lately and seems legitimately torn between Texas, TCU and Baylor. He already visited for UT’s last home game against New Mexico, though, so making another trip would send a message that Texas might be the front-runner for his pledge.
5. CB Tony Brown (Beaumont, Texas/Ozen)
Of all the 2014 prospects that will be in town on Saturday night -- and trust me, when it comes to underclassmen the list will end up being much longer than expected -- Brown is an elite, must-get guy for next year’s class. The talented corner might be the best of the best in a strong year for in-state defensive backs. He likes Texas and camped in Austin this summer, but Alabama, LSU and the rest of the usual suspects are just as high on his list. Good opportunity for the Longhorns to make a big impression.