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Leon O'Neal Jr.
He's one of the most cheerful elite recruits in the state, and he came out of Moncrief with a little skip to his step and a wider than usual smile. If that wasn’t enough to tell, Leon himself let me know he very much enjoyed his trip.
O'Neal likes to see himself as a no excuses, grind harder type of guy. He carries around a chip on his shoulder wherever he goes and responds positively when challenged. You saw this chip after coming out of nowhere off of a 3-7 year to working to be one of the best at his position at the Houston Opening. So when he told me, “Texas is family…the fact that you can start something new here is something special. A real man can take that on,” I knew he very much liked what he saw. I believe that the Herman staff played this one perfectly over the weekend.
Catching up with him and some people around him a few days after that trip, I’d still say Texas is the team to beat now after last weekend. However, O'Neal is nowhere near pulling the trigger right now. He’s playing it close to chest but he’s excited that his name is blowing up, and he wants to explore all of his options before he makes the big decision. (Will Baizer)
Another guy who was blown away by the Junior Days was Lamar’s rocket at wide receiver, Al’Vonte Woodard. When I caught up with him, he lamented, “Man I don’t want to leave. I wish I was spending the night, but I got to go home. I’ll most definitely be back [during] Spring Break.”
But what struck a chord with Woodard seems to be the renovations that increased his interest “[I was looking forward to] coming up [to Texas] and seeing what’s up. Brand new facilities? And they say they're going to be done in June? That’s right around the corner.” When I spoke with Woodard a few days afterward, he was still buzzing about the holographic display that the Texas program put up that allowed the players to walk through the future locker room.
Mehringer also let Al’Vonte know that they even want to use him in the backfield, “He’s moving his playmakers around, and that’s what I like.”
Al’Vonte will be releasing his top 10 not too long from now, and I definitely expect to see Texas on it along with A&M, Ohio State, WVU, LSU, and a few others. With that short 2 hour drive from Houston to Austin, I’d expect to see him and his Lamar buddies around Texas a few more times this Spring. (Will Baizer)
Bobby ‘Tre’ Brown
Bobby Brown was the standout star during last summer’s satellite camp, where he earned an offer from Charlie Strong and his staff. After a bit of a disappointing season for the young big man, people weren’t sure how the current staff viewed him.
After his visit, he let us know that Texas was going to stay on his offer. On top of this, he sang Texas' praises, saying, “It’s like none other. It’s unlike any place I’ve ever been to. The coaches have played here. It’s not just saying, ‘I coached here.’ They’ve played here, they’ve been here, they’ve lived here.”
After this weekend, I’m confident in saying that Texas is among the five schools Brown is looking at the closest. (Will Baizer)
Unsurprisingly, Stratford wore his faithful Longhorn hoodie last weekend. During his visit, the Herman staff sold Trey hard on the academic opportunities that Texas can afford to the 6’4” 270 lb Allen OT who wants to major in Finance. Once again, the Herman staff did their homework, as one of the most important things for Stratford when choosing a school is the academics. In terms of the actual visit, Trey had plenty of positive things to say. The best part for Trey? “Being on the field and hearing Texas Fight was a surreal experience. There’s nothing like playing in front of 100,000+ fans.”
Stratford will be visiting every other major Texas school in the state (sans Texas Tech) and will be coming back for a spring practice. After that, he has several visits planned to out of state schools such as Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, and UCLA, to name a few. Trey let us know he expects to commit before the start of the season. (Will Baizer & Harrison Wier)
The top ranked DT in the state came out in a Longhorn hoodie throwing up the hook’em, so we’re off to a good start. Texas has former Westfield Coach/current Longhorn TE coach Corby Meekins hot on his trail. “I talk to [Coach] Meekins almost every day. He comes by [the] school most of the time. Seeing him is like seeing a friend.” However, Keondre was most impressed not with who he talked to, but with how the coaches talked to him. “Every other program wants to try to advise you and win you into the program instead of just talking to you like they’re one of your coaches.And that’s how it was here.”
Coburn changed his answer on if any schools are starting to take a lead ever so slightly by stating, “every school is my favorite school, but coming here today and leaving, I feel like they’re (Texas) coming on top.” (Will Baizer)
The big athlete from Arp in East Texas, DeMarvion Overshown made his trip to Texas and left impressed, “It was great. It was definitely what I thought it was going to be. Nice campus, nice people, and great all around.” Due to Overshown's size and the fact that last year he went from playing hand in the ground DE to S, the Longhorn coaches are aware of his versatility and are looking to use Overshown as an outside linebacker.
Overshown was high on the new facilities upgrades, mentioning that “it’s going to be the best in the nation,” and on the new program direction, noting that “it’s going to be a great future for the program. Maybe I’ll join that program.” According to DeMarvion, Texas is one of the top schools in his sights, he already knows he will take his official visit to Texas, and he’ll visit Texas multiple times through the Spring. (Will Baizer)
The Wakeland product thoroughly enjoyed his visit to Austin over the weekend. When describing Tom Herman and the Longhorns, there was an extremely positive demeanor coming out of Ghirmai. One of the most noticeable things he had to say was that Tom Herman was not all business. In fact, the Wakeland OT stated that Herman treated him ‘more like a son’ than a player. That’s a huge compliment on Herman’s passion towards recruits as well as the message he is attempting to send. When asked if he would return to Texas for another visit, Ghirmai had no issues stating that he is locked in on taking an official visit to the Longhorns when the time comes. The 2 schools locked in for officials? Florida and TCU.
However, football is not the only appeal that Texas has with Ghirmai. He also reiterated that life after football would have an impact on his recruiting. Luckily for Texas, Rafiti wants to major in business. In the latest rankings, Texas has the No. 3 ranked business school in the country. That is something that will likely weigh on Ghirmai’s mind as he begins considering a decision.
Lastly, Tom Herman takes a different approach towards recruiting than Charlie Strong. While Strong was all about winning over the parents, Herman focuses much more on a recruit’s personal appeal as well as their coaches. To see this, look no further than what Herman showed Ghirmai on his visit. “[Coach Herman] showed me a coffee table with all of his rings and other things laid out on it. He even had a gold grill. It was really cool.” Welcome to 2018, folks. Tom Herman is not afraid to pull out all of the stops for a recruit. For Rafiti Ghirmai, it certainly didn’t hurt Texas’ chances. (Harrison Wier)
The top TE in the 2019 class hasn’t grabbed that Texas offer yet, but that didn’t stop the staff from getting him to Austin to take a good look at him. Austin still says that Texas is among the top schools on his list, which also includes UNC, Duke, and Nebraska. What Austin really likes about this new staff is their use of the TE, and to him, “It’s very important. They’re on the field 100% of the time. It’s very versatile.”
It appears that the Texas staff is waiting to watch Austin in pads in person before they’ll discuss offering the Prestwood Christian TE. (Will Baizer)This post has been promoted to an article