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Saturday, February 2, 2013
ESPN 300 DE taking surprise Texas visit

By Max Olson

Texas is bringing in one more surprise visitor on the final weekend of official visits.

ESPN 300 LSU defensive end commit Frank Herron (Memphis, Tenn./Central) is on an official visit to Texas this weekend and has a scholarship offer, according to Memphis Central recruiting coordinator Bryan Williams. A source close to the situation confirmed to RecruitingNation's Damon Sayles that Herron is in Austin, Texas.

Herron has been committed to LSU since June. The 6-foot-5, 260-pound end was a U.S. Army All-American after recording 14 sacks and forcing four fumbles in his senior season.

Despite Herron’s longtime pledge, Ole Miss, USC and Tennessee, among others, have continued to pursue the four-star prospect. He’s taken only one official visit, to LSU earlier this month.

Why, then, is Texas entering the picture? New Longhorns running backs coach Larry Porter has long been recruiting Herron and has a strong relationship with Memphis Central from his time as head coach at Memphis.

“We have a great relationship with coach Porter, and he did an awesome job while he was here at Memphis,” Williams said. “It’s about the whole Texas program. For Texas to come out here and recruit a kid, that says a lot. Texas don’t do a lot of recruiting out here. That’s interesting to a kid.”

Porter flew to Memphis for an in-home visit with Herron late Thursday night to ensure the coveted defensive end would take a trip to Austin.

“Coach Porter has always been in touch with Frank. When he got to Texas, he reached back out to get back in touch with Frank,” Williams said. “Coach Porter is probably one of the better recruiters in the country, and he does it the right way. We have a great respect for coach Porter. With him going to Texas and the type of program they have down there, and he’s there, there’s definitely an opportunity to go down and see what they have.”

Despite the visit, Williams insisted Herron remains “very solid” in his commitment to LSU. But before he signs on Wednesday, he wants to take one last visit to confirm his pledge.

Herron’s unexpected visit evokes obvious comparisons to a similar situation Texas encountered last year. The Longhorns managed to flip defensive end Shiro Davis from his LSU pledge on signing day last February.

Texas already received another surprise earlier this week when ESPN 150 athlete and Oregon commit Dontre Wilson (DeSoto, Texas/DeSoto) decided to take an official visit to Austin this weekend. He’s expected to announce his final decision between Oregon, Ohio State and Texas on Sunday.

The Longhorns do not currently have a verbal pledge from a defensive end for its 2013 class, though early enrollee Jake Raulerson could start his career there if he doesn't play on the offensive line.

LSU, on the other hand, is looking to replace both of its starting defensive ends after Barkevious Mingo and Sam Montgomery elected to enter the NFL draft early.

“We love LSU. LSU has been loyal to Frank throughout the entire process,” Williams said. “He is a very important part of their class and we really love those coaches. It feels like family for him down there.

“But as coaches, we want him to just see somewhere else so when he makes his decision on Wednesday, he’ll know without a shadow of a doubt that this is where he wants to be."