The biggest visitor to stop in the football offices of the Texas Longhorns over the weekend of the UIL state track meet wasn't running in any events, but made a huge splash upon his arrival -- Kennedale linebacker Baron Browning.
All smiles in ATX ! #HookEm pic.twitter.com/7v8qBGSKW7— Baron Browning (@baronbrwnng) May 15, 2016
The nation's No. 14 prospect in the 247Sports Composite rankings notably missed a planned trip for the Orange and White game to see TCU, but made up for it by traveling to Austin once again on Sunday.
A former Baylor commit, Browning was a visitor for the Texas Junior Day in February and hasn't been particularly active on the recruiting trail in the last two months. However, that will change next week when the 6'3 230-pounder takes an important journey to Columbus to visit Ohio State.
Browning is close with five-star safety Jeffrey Okudah, who once named the Buckeyes as his leader and will accompany Browning on the trip. After Texas mostly competed with Texas A&M for a number of key in-state prospects in recent years, the recruitments of Okudah, Browning, and Ohio State running back commit JK Dobbins represents a noteworthy shift in primary competition.
As that plays out, Browning has gained weight and proven himself as one of the top prospects in the country, perhaps even more versatile than No. 1 outside linebacker Dylan Moses because of his coverage ability. Browning's head coach at Kennedale might not be the most unbiased source, but his assessment rings true:
"He's very athletic. He's long with great speed. He can cover in the open field makes him even more attractive. He can play inside, outside or with his hand in the ground. He's smart and knows the game. He's a power lifter. There's just so much that separates him."
The rankings for Browning have been high throughout the process, but his continued improvement now has him as the No. 10 player nationally by 247Sports and increasing his value to whichever team can land him. So while the reality behind the scenes may not match the public perception, but ahead of summer, the Longhorns appear to be in excellent position ahead of summer visits with a player who may prove to be one of the most key targets in the class.