Florida State quarterback recruiting drama
At one point on Thursday afternoon, the odds of landing Baltimore (Mary.) Gilman quarterback Kai Locksley appeared to take a major hit when Florida State star quarterback commit Deondre Francois tweeted out his apparent decommitment from the Seminoles. Francois just took an official visit to Florida last weekend, so a change of heart related to his longtime pledge wasn't entirely out of the question.
A wild stretch followed that seemed to include some confirmation of the decommitment before Francois claimed that he was hacked and re-affirmed his pledge to head coach Jimbo Fisher. Follow all of that?
It's the second time this week that a recruit to make such a claim -- Miami (Fla.) Killian cornerback Sheldrick Redwine reportedly decommited from Louisville on Wednesday. Since he just visited Auburn last weekend after picking up a late offer, the expectation was that Redwine would quickly commit to the Tigers. However, that didn't happen and Redwine eventually re-affirmed his commitment to the Cardinals on Twitter and then claimed he was impersonated by a friend who got ahold of his phone.
Big in-home visit evening for Aggies
With in-home visits to see four-star wide receiver DaMarkus Lodge and five-star quarterback Kyler Murray on Thursday evening, head coach Kevin Sumlin had to be on point.
His pitch to Lodge didn't include one key member of the family, though it isn't clear why:
The next stop for Sumlin is presumably the Allen area to meet with Murray. The question is whether Sumlin can convince Murray to end his recruitment now by re-affirming his pledge or if Texas head coach Charlie Strong will get his planned in-home visit tomorrow.
According to TexAgs, Strong will get that visit regardless, which has to be a good sign for Texas -- it basically means that there's nothing Sumlin could saw on Thursday evening that would convince Murray to sign with the Aggies.
Other various visit pictures
TCU head coach Gary Patterson wasn't among the members of the Horned Frogs staff to visit five-star defensive tackle Daylon Mack in Gladewater, having already used his in-home visit last week, but the assistants who were there managed to produce Mack's biggest smile of all the recent in-home visit pictures he's posted:
In response to that picture, Texas tight end commit Devonaire Clarington, who has dubbed himself Devo in honor of Bevo, did his own bit of recruiting:
@DaylonMack bring your bigg ass to the 40 n come win a ring with us lol— Devonaire Clarington (@dev_go_deep) January 30, 2015
Perhaps more importantly, Mack's Crystal Ball just keeps trending in favor of Texas, with Horns247 writer Jeff Howe cautiously waiting until now to change his prediction:
After casting his vote for Texas landing four-star cornerback Holton Hill on Friday with a retweet, 2016 Gilmer linebacker Demarco Boyd's next tweet was a picture of him with head coach Charlie Strong today:
take it how you take it• JACKPOT⚠️ pic.twitter.com/L7gT7VB7uK— ♠️THE-REAL-CINCO♠️ (@demarco_boyd) January 30, 2015
This picture surfaced earlier in the day:
By Thursday evening, Boyd changed his Twitter avatar and background to pictures with Strong:
The Texas staff was also in the Houston area to visit linebacker commit Cameron Townsend:
After seeing Townsend, the staff stopped by to see Hill. No picture from the Houston Lamar product as a result of that visit, but he did offer the following:
Good home Visit with the UT coaches— HOLTON HILL (@Hollywood__5) January 30, 2015
Matthew Merrick's senior film
In the event of a worst-case scenario for the Longhorns with Murray and Locksley, Irving Cistercian quarterback Matthew Merrick will likely end up with a full scholarship in the 2015 class, depending on how the rest of the numbers shake out.
He's the insurance to avoid a complete catastrophe at the position, so take a look at his senior film to understand what Texas is getting with him:
A few thoughts about pessimism
From linebacker Malik Jefferson to defensive line coach Chris Rumph's wife to numerous 2015 Texas commits, there's an enormous amount of optimism surrounding Texas and a potential dream finish to the class in the next five days and change.
It could be an absolutely unprecedented, program-changing stretch that could vault the Longhorns past the Aggies as the most appealing school in the state and give Strong a huge injection of the talent necessary to return Texas to the top of the college football world.
Sure, some of the euphoria of last week has melted away in favor of more realistic expectations, but the industry still believes that the Horns will finish out strong with a number of the prospects still on the board.
Here's a bigger point, though -- there will never be another time when so much is on the table for the 2015 class. Just stop and consider the possibilities and reflect on where Texas was just last summer. Reflect on how this all wouldn't be possible without Jefferson and DeAndre McNeal committing on December 19. Without the visit last week from Murray and Lodge.
Think about how they would all look in burnt orange. It can happen.
At some point on Friday when Boyd and Hill commit, there will either be the big boost of confidence in having that all still on the table or the pain of losing another recruiting battle to the Aggies, with the potential for more losses to come heading into Signing Day.
Given the downside of that, step back and appreciate these last few moments of glorious uncertainty.
At the least, just say "Texas linebacker Malik Jefferson" a few times. If that doesn't feel good, you're hopeless.