The extraordinarily fickle beast known as recruiting momentum took a potential turn back in favor of the Texas Longhorns on Sunday after several offers went out and multiple big names attended Sunday's mini-camp.
The visitor list included North Mesquite offensive tackle Jean Delance, Manvel safety Deontay Anderson, and Waco cornerback Eric Cuffee, while three offers also went out on the day.
Big-time visitors trip to Austin
Getting Delance on campus was a significant accomplishment and one delayed multiple times. Originally slated as a Junior Day visitor, weather caused the former Oklahoma commit to miss that event before Orange-White game visit plans also well through. Still, Texas managed to make his list of top nine schools and earned the important Sunday trip to Austin:
Other than the efforts of offensive coordinator/offensive line coach Joe Wickline, Texas also has several other imporant recruiters with Delance -- freshman linebacker Malik Jefferson, who has been building a relationship with the state's No. 3 offensive tackle for some time, and recent offensive guard commit Tope Imade, who spent some time with Delance at a lineman challenge several days ago.
With a summer of undisclosed visits planned for Delance, it's hard to say where exactly the Horns sit among those top nine schools, but the Aggies remain the perceived leader by a significant margin. After missing out on Mineola twins Austin and Riley Anderson, eventually winning a head-to-head recruiting battle against A&M for a top in-state tackle would represent an important change from recent recruiting results.
In the quest to land one of the three elite in-state safeties, getting Anderson on campus was also important -- he was in town for the state track meet, but his 247Sports profile doesn't list a true visit to Texas since last year's Under The Lights event in mid-July. Since then, he visited a number of SEC schools, including multiple trips to College Station and recent stops at LSU and Ole Miss.
In fact, the Rebels are the surging program in his recruitment at this time, as Anderson said that he can see himself playing in Oxford -- not hard given the attractiveness of that town -- and sparked some movement in his Crystal Ball, with five predictions coming in for Ole Miss. Enamored with the SEC for some time, there's now a significant chance that Ole Miss now leads for Anderson, even if he won't admit it publicly.
The other major target in attendance at the camp was Waco cornerback Eric Cuffee, a frequent visitor to Austin over the last several months -- this was his fourth trip down I-35 in the last four months. Cuffee is a key target at cornerback for Texas. In fact, it wouldn't be a stretch to call him the must-land cornerback of the group right now. After all of his visits, the Horns are probably at or near the top of his list, despite the fact that his Crystal Ball doesn't yet reflect the strength of that position.
Staff extends three offers
The first mini-camp eight days ago only resulted in one offer -- to Wilmer-Hutchins safety DeMarkus Acy -- but with more talent on campus, there were more players worthy of officially landing on the Longhorns radar.
One prospect to watch is Killeen Shoemaker defensive end Rahssan Thornton, an athletic potential Fox end who recently said that his Texas offer was waiting for him once he made it down to campus. The Horns are in his top five, along with Alabama, LSU, Michigan, and Oklahoma, but since he's a Louisiana native, the Tigers are a program to watch. With two weakside defensive ends already committed, as well is strongside defensive end Caleb Roddy, is there room for Thornton?
The guess here is that Thornton's offer is no longer committable, so with two predictions now in to his Crystal Ball, Texas looks to be in solid shape, especially if LSU is basically out of the mix. Since three of the top four in-state Fox end candidates with Horns offers are committed to other programs, Thornton is now an important target.
And could a pledge from him help with efforts to flip longtime friend Kendell Jones from Alabama? It's definitely possible.
Another offer at a need position went out to Fort Bend Elkins defensive tackle Ross Blacklock. One of a handful of consensus three-star prospects in a deep defensive tackle class, Blacklock also holds offers from LSU and Texas A&M. Reversing the trend of losing defensive recruits to those two schools would be a major positive development from the micro standpoint of defensive tackle recruiting and the macro standpoint of the overall recruiting narrative.
Both schools offered Blacklock within the last 10 days, so the good news is that Texas isn't a significant latecomer to the advanced stages of his recruitment.
The third offer went out to Tyler John Tyler wide receiver Damion Miller, a consensus four-star prospect in the class of 2017 who becomes the second in-state pass-catcher to pick a Longhorns offer. He also holds offers from Houston, Kansas, Oklahoma State, and Texas A&M. Could the East Texas ties of new tight ends coach Jeff Traylor help in his recruitment?
All in all, it was a needed weekend for Texas, though it will take some time before any potential dividends become publicly apparent.