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West Virginia win comes during huge recruiting weekend for Texas

The biggest recruiting weekend of the year produced a commitment already.

Erich Schlegel

A number of important recruits were on hand to witness the Texas Longhorns end their home losing streak to ranked opponents in upsetting the West Virginia Mountaineers on Saturday.

The first good news of the weekend resulting from those visits was the unexpected commitment of massive junior college offensive tackle Tristan Nickelson.

A large Florida contingent was also on campus, including Miami (Fla.) Washington tight end Devonaire Clarington, who posted a picture with four other prospects from the Sunshine state:

Clarington told Scout that he got the hard sell from the coaching staff on early playing time and that the Horns "have a great chance" in his recruitment. The 6'5, 220-pounder is still pretty lean, so early contributions would likely come flexed out as a wide receiver, but the bigger key he may be more open that previously thought given that the industry is unanimously predicting that he will end up at Miami.

A teammate of Clarington also made the trip -- cornerback Davante Davis, who made the following comment on his Twitter:

Since his 247Sports Crystal Ball predictions are all over the place, he seems pretty open in his recruitment at this point, which might give the Longhorns an opportunity to land his services.

The short prospect in that group is Miami (Fla.) Westminster athlete Tim Irvin, who recently visited West Virginia as well. He posted the following to his Twitter page:

Tennessee linebacker commit Cecil Cherry said that he "loved it" when asked about his visit, which is starting to raise some concern among Vols fans, but there aren't currently any projections that he will end up in burnt orange. Since Andrew Beck moved to linebacker, Texas hasn't recruited any pure inside linebackers for the last several seasons, providing an opportunity for Cherry to see early playing time if he signs with the Horns since junior linebacker Dalton Santos has struggled so much this season.

One Florida prospect who did not make it in was Alabama safety commit Ronnie Harrison, who ended up at the Georgia game instead. He's expected to reschedule his visit and make it to Austin at some point, perhaps for the big recruiting weekend in early December.

There were also some in-state prospects in Austin on important visits, including Gilmer brothers Kris Boyd, the 2015 defensive back, and his brother Demarco, a 2016 athlete who could play linebacker or fullback. They caught a ride from Texas alum Curtis Browntheir older cousin:

curtis brown and cousins

The elder Boyd seemed to enjoy the experience at the game, while his younger brother made note of head coach Charlie Strong's coaching ability:

Houston Lamar cornerback Holton Hill also made it in for the game, but didn't tweet out any thoughts about the visit and hasn't appeared to give any interviews since that time. Along with Boyd, he remains the primary in-state recruiting target in the secondary.

And another key visitor was Mesquite Poteet athlete DeAndre McNeal, who will announce his decision with his five-star teammate Malik Jefferson in December:

There were also a number of committed prospects at the game, including Kirk and Collin Johnson, defensive tackle Du'Vonta Lampkin, linebacker Cameron Townsend, and quarterback Zach Gentry.

For many prospects, a single win or a loss doesn't make a huge difference in their respective recruitments, but to see the locker room celebration after the game and see evidence that the struggling program is headed in the right direction could be hugely important at this particular time.

Strong shared his thoughts on the recruiting implications after the game.

"Well, it's always big because now when you win at home and the crowd is into it, their enthusiasm and the passion, and they get an opportunity to see it, and they see just a great game day experience," he said.

"It was in the stadium. It started early. We got out there early and they drive the ball. Get a couple of throws in, and we get them backed up and they get a big third down. We were able to get off and the juice was in the stadium all day. So now they can walk away saying it's a lot better than what I thought, lot different than what they thought, but it is a great program, and they want to have that opportunity. This is a great place, so when you bring in recruits and you have a chance to go win at home like we did, it just makes it even better."