- William Wilkerson, RecruitingNation
Go ahead and mark this down as the biggest recruiting weekend of the season for the Texas Longhorns.
It would have been impossible to comprehend that statement in mid-September when turmoil was at an all-time high around the program following back-to-back demoralizing losses to BYU and Ole Miss.
But now the Longhorns (7-2) are in the midst of a six-game winning streak and are one of two teams unbeaten in the Big 12 play. They’ll host No. 12 Oklahoma State on Saturday.
The Cowboys, at 8-1 overall, are doing very well and the matchup will help Texas as it hopes to impress a high-profile group of recruits expected to attend one of the top games of the weekend.
Among those expected to take their official visits this weekend are ESPN 300 members Tony Brown (Beaumont, Texas/Ozen), Jamal Adams (Lewisville, Texas/Hebron) and Jerrod Heard (Denton, Texas/Guyer), a Texas commitment.
The only thing that could derail these plans is that this week also marks the first week of high school playoffs across the state. But the 2:30 p.m. start time should allow recruits enough time to make the trip to Austin.
ESPN 300 running back Leonard Fournette (New Orleans/Saint Augustine), the nation’s top player, also told RecruitingNation that he’ll be at the game on an official visit. Two of his teammates from New Orleans Saint Augustine are already committed to Texas in defensive back Jermaine Roberts and defensive tackle Courtney Garnett.
The importance of this weekend can’t be stressed enough for a Texas program trying to prove to the rest of the country that it still has the same cache it has had in the past.
It was going to be a big weekend regardless, but Texas’ overtime victory over West Virginia on Saturday made it that much bigger because it kept UT’s goals alive.
“I liked how Texas finished the game,” Heard said. “I’m not surprised at how good they are playing. Texas is definitely the top team in the country right now.”
Statements like those couldn’t have been said two months ago, but Texas recruits are feeling much better about the program for which they could soon be playing.
“They have really stepped their game up, especially the defense,” Texas wide receiver commitment Lorenzo Joe said. “We still have some big games left to play so we’ll see how they finish up. “
Added Longhorns center commitment Terrell Cuney (Jasper, Texas/Jasper): “I mean everybody has seasons that don’t start as well as they should, and how teams would have wanted. But I knew in my heart Texas would pick it up and play like we know how to.”
That’s not to say there haven’t been some who admittedly didn’t see this streak coming.
“Yes I am kind of surprised that they are still undefeated in the Big 12,” Longhorns running backs commitment Duke Catalon said. “They had a tough one [against West Virginia] but still pulled out the win.”
For the most part, those committed to Texas in 2014 and 2015 are sticking by their verbal pledges to Mack Brown’s program. And that doesn’t figure to change as long as Brown stays put.
“It seems like everybody is still on board,” Joe said.