— William Wilkerson (@ESPNwilkerson) August 20, 2012
The plan for some time has been for 2013 Waco lineman Andrew Billings to make his decision before the start of his senior season. It appears that is still the case, and with the season set to begin later this week, it means that a decision will come down for the 6-1, 320-pounder in the next several days.
After scrimmages on Saturday morning, Billings shared his top five ($) with Orangebloods:
My five schools are Mississippi St., SMU, TCU, Baylor and Texas. At all of those schools I have a great connection with the coaches. They have great football. They have a lot of choices for what I want to major in. That's pretty much what I like about my top five.
Billings declined to say if any of those schools stood about above the rest. In a conversation the same day with Hookem.com, he did say that the Bears have been recruiting him the hardest ($):
They've recruited me harder than anyone (and the) coaches have really gotten to know me and my family. They told me that even if I don't pick them they're going to stay on me until the end.
A trip to Austin back in late July could have helped out Texas with his mother:
The last visit to Texas was just to bring my mom up there and let her see what's going on. It was fun. Coach (Stacy) Searels told us a lot. With the academics we got to talk to them. She really liked it.
Academics have been an important part of the equation throughout the process for both Billings and his family. In that regard, Texas what could possibly even be termed a significant advantage over the other schools on the list.
Based on conversations with sources, Hookem.com had this to say about the Billings recruitment:
The bottom line here is that Billings is "70 percent" sure he'll decide this week. If he decides this week, based on what we've gathered, Baylor is likely to be the pick. Texas' best odds would be to get Billings back on campus for a visit, but that hasn't happened and it doesn't look like it's going to happen at this point.
One potential factor in his recruitment is that Texas is the only school that wants him on the offensive side of the ball, though Billings has told multiple outlets that it won't play a role in his eventual decision -- that's the public stance anyway.
It's been a rather difficult recruitment to read, as Billings hasn't given away much publicly -- there hasn't been any real conventional wisdom circulating around, though the sense has been that Texas is in reasonably strong shape. At the least, the Longhorns don't typically lose recruiting battles with the schools in his top five.
However, the ability to stay at home, most likely play early, and on the side of the ball that he prefers could help the Bears land a commitment as early as this week. Combined with the commitment of Robbie Rhodes earlier in the summer, that could make two big recruiting victories for Art Briles and his staff over the Longhorns in a matter of months.
And while it's not overly surprising to lose out on an offensive kid who wants to play in the Briles system, which has proven itself effective as the Longhorns have bumbled along on that side of the ball for two years now, losing a defensive player is something else entirely.
It's yet to happen, of course, but if the sources for Hookem.com are to be believed, it could this week. If it does, it could mark the start of a trend of Baylor competitiveness on the recruiting trail that the Longhorns could best counter by going out and winning some football games this fall. You know, like 10 or more, like they used to in the good old days.