When Houston Episcopal offensive tackle Walker Little visited the Texas Longhorns for the Orange and White game last weekend, he wanted to build his relationships with offensive line coach Matt Mattox and offensive coordinator Sterlin Gilbert. Consider those objectives accomplished, as the 'Horns are now at the top of Little's list following the visit, according to Horns247.
"I want to talk to some of the new offensive linemen who came in and see how they like it," Little told Burnt Orange Nation in Houston at The Opening regional camp in early April. "I'm looking to get a better feel for the program."
The 6'8, 305-pounder hadn't been to Austin since the Cal game last fall, so his spring game visit was a big opportunity to meet with Gilbert and Mattox for the first time since they were hired in December.
Like many of the offensive line recruits in Texas, Little was familiar with Mattox from his time at Tulsa, so that helped ease the transition and ensure there was already a base comfort level even without recent in-person interaction. The consensus four-star product said he already had a good relationship with Mattox heading into the spring game visit and likes the coaching style of the new offensive line coach, but wanted to see him in action.
It's worth noting that the visit to Austin came a week after Little traveled to Oxford to visit Ole Miss, a program that was considered an early favorite for the consensus four-star prospect because both of his older siblings go there. As a result, Little developed a comfort level there based on his visits and their experiences, though he did say it wouldn't impact his ultimate decision. Since Texas is at the top of Little's list after seeing both schools virtually back to back, that's huge news for the 'Horns.
The plan in early April was for Little to cut his list during the summer and make a commitment before his senior season. When he does make his decision, it will be based on his relationship with the coaching staff and a positive overall trajectory of the program, in addition to good academics.
Because academics are a priority and Little plans on visiting Stanford in May, the Cardinal could make run for his services at that point and always represent dangerous competition because the Bay Area is so appealing and the academic reputation so prestigious. Witness Obi Eboh's recruitment, for instance.
Otherwise, he didn't have any other visits planned as of early April, but it's possible that Alabama could become a contender, because Alabama.
Right now, it doesn't appear that the Longhorns are facing any other major adversaries other than the Rebels, so this is a recruitment that is trending extremely favorably for Mattox and company several months ahead of a planned commitment. In fact, that's been the case since early February, when six predictions rolled in for Texas in Little's 247Sports Crystal Ball.
The stakes in Little's recruitment are pretty high, too -- of the five other offensive tackles offered by the Longhorns to this point in the 2017 cycle, only Chuck Filiago seems like a reasonable candidate to end up in burnt orange with his relocation from California to Aledo, but he's also 330 pounds already, a heavy weight for an offensive tackle.
Increasingly, then, Little not only looks like a prospect that Texas can land, but also a prospect that Mattox needs to land as a pure tackle who will almost certainly be able to remain outside in college.