The desired finish for the Texas Longhorns in the 2016 recruiting class looks possible at linebacker because the top two targets remaining, Alief Elsik's Dontavious Jackson and Aldine Davis' Jeffrey McCulloch, are a likely package deal.
Asked in the lead up to the 2016 Under Armour All-America bowl by Scout whether he and Jackson have moved on from that potential package deal the two had discussed through their respective recrutiments, McCulloch had a heartening answer for Longhorns fans.
"Oh, not at all," McCulloch said. "Actually, it's added a couple of people. I don't want to say it because they'll commit at the game to a certain school, so we'll keep that on the hush right now, but yeah."
Of course, that school is most likely Texas, as Under Armour All-American Jean Delance committed to the Horns at the game and cornerback Eric Cuffee planned on doing so until he couldn't get a television slot.
In looking at both recruitments individually, several serious competitors emerge -- McCulloch has a high level of familiarity with Texas A&M and is also high on the tradition of Notre Dame, while Jackson took an impactful visit to Florida State last October and has several official visits pending.
But what's notable when looking at those lists is that there isn't any overlap. Except for Texas.
When McCulloch picked up his offer from the Longhorns, he called Texas his "dream school" and still refers to it as the best day of his life, so there's always been some powerful momentum propelling him towards Austin. Jackson has felt like a Longhorns lean since he picked up his offer, but he's been doing his due diligence of investigating his opportunities around the country.
Both players would fill major needs in the class -- while the Horns will likely get Dalton Santos back for a second attempt at his senior season, there aren't any other pure inside linebackers on the roster and Jackson is one of the best in the country. McCulloch, meanwhile, is an extraordinary edge rusher who could have an instant impact at that position and quickly grow into a Fox end, a position Texas has had issues filling in the 2016 cycle.
So if head coach Charlie Strong manages to add both players to the class, combining Jackson and McCulloch with the linebackers already on campus would make for an embarrassment of riches and create the long-term depth to ensure Texas is set at the second level defensively for years to come.