In the public sphere, the big fireworks from the official visit weekend for the Texas Longhorns was the flip of Kansas State Wildcats offensive line pledge Zach Shackelford, but privately, several more commitments may have gone down:
Looks like big things could be brewing in ATX: visitors talking about "silent commitments" @OBWire ... #HookEm https://t.co/oLu3wG3jQp— Alex Dunlap (@AlexDunlapNFL) January 17, 2016
1 of 4— Reggie Hemphill5⃣♐️ (@reggiehemphill5) January 17, 2016
Now pledged to Texas for a second time, Manvel wide receiver Reggie Hemphill has been one of the prospects recruiting for the Longhorns behind the scenes and seemingly teased the flip of Shackelford on Saturday.
So, the big question now is which recruits silently joined the burgeoning 2016 Longhorns recruiting class on the biggest visit weekend in recent memory.
One strong candidate is Waco cornerback Eric Cuffee, who wasn't expected on campus over the weekend after taking his official visit back in December, yet showed up anyway. He's still set to take official visits to Texas A&M and Arkansas before National Signing Day, but his decision could come down officially at any time. And may have already happened behind the scenes.
And then there's Aldine Davis linebacker Jeffrey McCulloch, the stud prospect known as "The Shark."
#HookEm pic.twitter.com/AgDtfCUm73— The Shark (@jmcculloch17) January 16, 2016
Mama looks happy, does she not?
With Texas A&M fading in recent weeks and Notre Dame a long distance away, all signs in recent weeks have pointed towards the Longhorns, including the last seven 247Sports Crystal Ball predictions. The official word about a public decision date is National Signing Day on ESPNU, where he'll pick between Alabama, Notre Dame, Stanford, Texas, and Texas A&M.
Keep in mind that when McCulloch was asked at the 2016 Under Armour All-American game about a potential package deal with Alief Elsik linebacker Dontavious Jackson, he mentioned that several other recruits were discussing joining them. At the time, he didn't want to divulge the names because several were planning on announcing in Orlando. Offensive tackle Jean Delance did pull the trigger and Cuffee intended to do so before he couldn't land a television spot.
The third silent commitment may be Southlake Carroll athlete Lil'Jordan Humphrey, who is down to Texas and California and plans to announce at the end of January. As with McCulloch and Cuffee, the sense is that the Longhorns are the team to beat, perhaps by a significant margin.
Obviously, the names listed above are speculative, but if the reports coming out from those present on campus are accurate, the coaching staff will have a little less drama on National Signing Day than the rest of the public. As head coach Charlie Strong works to put together a critical recruiting class, knowing which prospects will be in the fold is an important development to manage the available spots and decide if any back-up plans need to take shape in the final days.
There's also a new tagline for the Longhorns coming out of the weekend:
January 17, 2016
Judging by the flip of Shackelford and the talk of silent commitments, there are some key targets who do believe in where Strong can take this program.
Stay tuned for a full recap of the weekend's festivities.