Andrew Billings takes second visit to Austin. The 2013 Waco lineman is one of the few remaining targets for the Texas Longhorns in the class, which currently sits at 14 commitments, with four spots likely available (more if there is attrition this fall).
He's been a bit under the radar because he hasn't given a lot of interviews since receiving his offer in early June after performing well at a Texas camp. He visited Mississippi State this summer, but the primary competition is probably in state -- Baylor and TCU. With the exception of losing rising wide receiver Robbie Rhodes to Art Briles and company earlier in the summer, those are battles that Texas usually wins and the buzz is generally positive.
The 6-1, 315-pounder made his way down to Austin to on Tuesday, according to multiple reports, and a good visit from the Longhorn perspective could put Mack Brown and company in the driver's seat for his services when he makes his eventual decision. It's possible that Billings could decide as early as some time during fall practice.
The latest on Anthony Fera. At this point, there can't be enough Anthony Fera news. Yeah, he's that important to Texas feeling comfortable about the team's placekicking entering the season. As noted in this space yesterday, Fera was in town for the weekend the vibe was extremely positive about his visit. However, he is now back in Pennsylvania:
Contrary to some internet chatter, Penn State Kicker Anthony Fera was in attendance this morning and has not committed to Texas— Ben Jones (@Ben_Jones88) July 31, 2012
A decision would need to happen in the next several days for Fera to take care of the logistics of getting to Texas and starting fall practice, which begins in six days. How big of a factor is it that he's back with his Nittany Lion teammates? Probably not huge, as this is understandably a difficult decision that will require some contemplation, rather than something rash made in the glow following a good visit.
Overall, the odds seem strong for the Longhorns to land Fera -- if he can move beyond his feelings of loyalty to Penn State, it would seem that there is nothing to hold him back from again making his way to Austin. This time for good.
Big 2014 visitor on campus Tuesday, too. As good as Andrew Billings is, he's not quite in the same stratosphere as a recruit as Mansfield Timberview's Edward Paris, a 6-2, 190-pound safety 247Sports has ranked as the 10th-best player in the country and the top in the state of Texas for his class.
According the multiple reports, Paris is in Austin Tuesday for an extremely significant visit from the Texas perspective.
A native of Louisiana, conventional wisdom has held throughout the early part of the process that he's a heavy LSU lean, as he hails from the state. The question is whether the visit Tuesday could help vault the Longhorns into serious contention for his services. A post-visit boost is the norm, but will it be enough?
If so, Texas would have a little more flexibility in their pursuit of the top defensive backs in a loaded in-state class, able to worry less about missing out on someone like Lewsiville Hebron's Jamal Adams or Beaumont Ozen's Tony Brown, though Paris is a bit different player than either of the other two. Landing all three would be an enormous coups. There's just going to be a long way to go with Paris, even if the visit goes well, as such visits normally do for any of the top programs in the country.
Paris has a highly-recruited teammate who is also in town -- Brandon Simmons, who possesses a bit more of the ability to work both in coverage and in run support, and has an offer list as impressive as any of the defensive backs in the class.