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Westerman Recruitment Auburn/Texas Battle

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Amidst all the coaching changes on the Texas staff, it's probably remarkable that only recruit has seriously wavered in the process. More than a month after the retirement of Mac McWhorter and Mike Tolleson, the resignation of Greg Davis, and the following departures by Will Muschamp and Bobby Kennedy, offensive lineman Christian Westerman is the only recruit who has taken visits to other schools. In a lot of ways, that's a miracle and it speaks to the hard work of guys like Major Applewhite and Marcus Tubbs, who have taken much of the damage control work onto their own shoulders.

However, there's no doubt that a de-commitment from Westerman would be a sharp blow to the recruiting class. The big Arizona tackle is ranked 18th nationally by Rivals and third at this position and Texas coaches have expected him to play a major role in the resurrection of an offensive line that has consistently underperformed since the departure of NFL talent like Kasey Studdard, Lyle Sendlein, Justin Blalock, Jonathan Scott, and Tony Hills.

It wasn't the departure of Greg Davis that has caused the problems, either, it was the retirement of McWhorter. As Westerman's lead recruiter and supposed future position coach, McWhorter had a closer relationship to Christian and his family than anyone else on the staff, by far. And though Major Applewhite has worked hard to build a relationship, in particular by attending a luncheon by the Arizona Football Coaches Association at which Westerman received an award as the top offensive lineman in the state, the lack of an OL coach for all this time has helped open up Westerman's recruitment.

The planned visit to USC will not happen this weekend, but the major threat is now Auburn. Westerman visited several weeks ago and the coaching staff made an in-home visit after a practice in preparation for the national championship game. And it's not the national championship as much as Westerman's ability to attend practice and receive that in-home visit afterwards because of Auburn's presence in Arizona for the game that has helped make a difference.

According to the father, "Auburn is right there now, too," and his son has a "very special relationship" with Auburn OL coach Jeff Grimes, who, coincidentally enough, is perhaps the top target now for the Texas OL coach position. With the Westerman's visiting Texas for an official visit on January 21, the Longhorns not only need to have the hire in place, but the future hire needs to make a major positive impression on Christian and his family. If that coach happens to be Grimes, the odds are heavily in the Longhorns' favor to keep Westerman committed. If it's someone else, who knows, although Bryan Harsin and Major Applewhite will certainly play a part as they provide the family with their vision of the Texas offense moving forward.