HOUSTON, Texas -- One of the most hyped and scrutinized recruitments in the history of the Internet era took a massive turn on Saturday when Bradenton (Fla.) IMG Academy linebacker Dylan Moses not only visited the Texas Longhorns after reportedly canceling the visit the day before, but elevated head coach Charlie Strong's program to the top of his list.
Considering that the nation's consensus No. 2 prospect is a native of Baton Rouge, was a longtime pledge to the LSU Tigers, and previously had the Alabama Crimson Tide as his leader, the news was even more incredible.
On Sunday, Burnt Orange Nation caught up with Moses to talk about his visit before he earned another invite to The Opening Finals after another impressive display of his athleticism.
"It was mainly the conversation that I had with the coaches, seeing Malik Jefferson again, and being able to look at the new facility and how much everything has changed since I haven't been there in a while," Moses said.
The visit was especially important for the Longhorns to secure because Moses hadn't been on campus since last summer.
"We basically went over film the whole time," Moses said of his conversation with head coach Charlie Strong.
"We reviewed what they did in practice that day. I just really liked the defensive scheme and how he told me how I would fit in the defense, so for me to see it and hear him say that was really good."
The coaches believe that the nation's consensus No. 1 outside linebacker in the 2017 class would have the chance to immediately step into the startling lineup for the Longhorns, the type of promise that Strong does not make lightly or often to recruits. But Moses is just that good -- there's a reason why he's been such a prominent figure on the recruiting scene since he was in eighth grade.
For the Longhorns, success on the field has been hard to come by in the last several seasons, but in the moments after wins against West Virginia in 2014 and Oklahoma in 2015, the way that Texas players celebrated with their head coach spoke volumes about their opinion of him.
Moses has taken notice of that affection and called Strong one of his favorite college coaches before his Saturday visit. In looked back on his trip to Austin, Moses reflected on the reason for that.
"He's one of my favorites because of his relationships with his players," Moses said. "He does what he has to do. He's a really good coach and is more involved with his players than anything. And then it's not just him, but it's the whole coaching staff, so for it to be like that, I was really impressed."
Strong and the coaching staff aren't the only figures who have a strong relationship with the 6'2, 220-pounder -- Moses has known Jefferson for several years. At the Dallas NFTC in 2014, the two blue-chip recruits worked together in linebacker drills and began to form an enduring bond.
"For us to be that duo in high school, we've talked about it in college, too," Moses said.
While defensive end Charles Omenihu was aggressive in recruiting players like Jefferson to join him at Texas, Jefferson himself has generally taken a low-pressure approach to Longhorns targets in the recruiting process. Moses has been no exception.
"Malik has never really told me that he wants me at Texas with him, but he always wants me to enjoy the process and do what I have to do."
Indeed, that was the message that Jefferson conveyed in a tweet on Saturday:
Moses was already on record saying that his future destination will depend on factors that the Longhorns already seem to have working in the program's favor.
"The best fit is mainly... I mean, it's football, but at the same time I would like to have a relationship with my coaches -- basically have that type of family thing, you know," Moses told ESPN in January. "You know, I would like to play on a good defense, you know, have, like, people surrounded by me that I know are going make plays if I don't make them. You know, just be secure ... I want to feel at home, so that's just the best thing for me."
Strong relationship with Strong and the other Texas coaches? Check. Talent around him on defense, including Jefferson for at least one year? Check.
Coming off of recent visits to Alabama and LSU, Moses had a chance to compare his impressions from those schools with his impressions of Texas without being clouded by the passage of time in between. And the Longhorns came out on top.
"Like I said, it was just good conversations," Moses said. "It was the best conversation I had out of LSU and Alabama."