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Texas Longhorns recruiting heating up before big weekend

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All the latest news as the Longhorns try to close out the 2016 recruiting class with a bang.

Brandon Jones
Brandon Jones
Wescott Eberts (SB Nation)

As the dead period in recruiting continues, things aren't exactly dead in recruiting news, as numerous Texas Longhorns targets are getting set to participate in the high school all-star games, including a number of key prospects in Orlando at the Under Armour All-America game.

There's also a few pieces of news that slipped through the cracks during the holidays, so let's circle back to those developments and round up all the latest nuggets from around the country.

-- Right after the dead period began, Texas extended an offer to the No. 1 junior college defensive tackle, Handsome Tanielu of Snow College in Utah, and received some interest in return. However, since other schools he was considering, like BYU, begin the spring semester before the dead period ends, he opted to sign with the Cougars:

-- Southlake Carroll athlete Lil'Jordan Humphrey has a tie to Texas with his teammate Obi Eboh currently a member of the 2016 recruiting class and he's now down to two schools:

As with so many prospects left on the board for the Longhorns, January will be a critical month in his recruitment, as he plans on being one of the 20 or so recruits in attendance in Austin for the big January 15 official visit weekend before traveling to Berkeley on the 29th. Given that visit timeline, a National Signing Day decision from him is likely.

-- This is more confirmation than breaking news, but LSU defensive end pledge Caleb Roddy isn't considering other schools at this time:

After Roddy picked up his Texas offer, he expressed some interest in the Longhorns, but the offer from the home-state Tigers was too good of an opportunity to turn down, in his opinion.

-- At one point, it looked like Duncanville defensive tackle Marcel Southall was going to take an official visit to Texas, but that's no longer the case:

With New Orleans (La.) McDonogh 35 defensive tackle Stephon Taylor squarely back in the mix and New Orleans (La.) St. Augustine defensive tackle D'Andre Christmas-Giles another legitimate possibility, being all but eliminated by Southall may not end up being a particularly significant development.

-- The most important safety target left on the board for the Longhorns is Nacogdoches star Brandon Jones, who is getting a full-court press from emerging ace recruiter Jeff Traylor, the Texas tight ends coach who recently elected to remain in Austin for at least one more year.

Jones recently eliminated Alabama and LSU from the list of schools that he released in late August. Now there are four schools remaining:

The last four predictions in the 247Sports Crystal Ball for Jones are all for the Longhorns, as the Aggies are seemingly sliding due to the recent events in College Station. Like Humphrey, Jones will be on campus at Texas on January 15.

-- The other key safety target is more of a longshot. Manvel's Deontay Anderson is down to Texas, LSU, and Ole Miss, but the Rebels are considered the leader heading into a month that will see him take official visits to all three schools.

-- Silsbee offensive tackle Patrick Hudson has been committed to Baylor since 2014, but he's still listening to some other schools. Texas A&M will get an official visit in January and Texas is "in the mix." However, in listening to him talk about the Longhorns, it doesn't seem like he has a strong enough relationship with any of the coaches to convince him to change his mind about his longtime pledge to the Bears.

-- There's been a growing sense behind the scenes that Michigan has been surging with North Mesquite offensive tackle Jean Delance following his official visit to Ann Arbor just before the dead period began. Beginning on December 22, there have now been four picks for the Wolverines in Delance's 247Sports Crystal Ball.

However, the good news is that none of those picks have come from national analysts who are on the ground in Orlando. And Texas still has Malik Jefferson recruiting Delance, while some family members want him to stay closer to home.

So stay tuned for Saturday, which could be a huge day for the Longhorns and establish some momentum heading into those crucial January official visits.