As college coaches adjust to the new reality of prospects taking official visits during the spring, Texas Longhorns head coach Tom Herman is focused on three other weekends for this paid trips, rather than the Orange-White game on April 21.
Last week, Herman compared the annual spring scrimmage to visits on fall Saturdays when the coaches aren’t able to spend as much time with the recruits.
“It’s like a gameday visit,” Herman said. “I know a lot of schools are using their spring game as one, but I think the reason we recruit so well is we spend so much time with those guys, we develop those relationships, they come to my house, they play basketball. There’s a lot of fellowship and bonding that goes on. When you have those gameday visits, a lot of that gets shortchanged. I want to make sure that doesn’t happen.”
Texas was able to land some recruits like Missouri defensive end Daniel Carson who took official visits on fall gamedays, but experienced much more success doing what Herman described — inviting prospects over to his house and using that opportunity to make impressions. Landing the nation’s No. 3 recruiting class despite a 7-6 season confirmed the effectiveness of that strategy.
So Herman is taking a similar approach this spring by focusing on other dates for official visits.
“I think we’re at three weekends right now that we’ll host visitors,” he said. “That’s not to say that if there’s a guy that we’ve got to have and he’s a can’t-miss guy and he says ‘Coach, this is the only time I can come see Texas,’ then we might make some adjustments.”
One of those can’t-miss guys is local wide receiver product Garrett Wilson, arguably the top target at the position. On Saturday, Wilson announced that he will take an official visit to Ohio State the weekend April 13-15 and then watch the Orange-White game before finalizing his decision.
However, Wilson is the only exception so far.
“Right now, we’re trying really, really hard to push those guys to three weekends,” Herman said. “We think they’re three really good weekends for us in terms of what’s going on around Austin and on our campus.”
Two of those weekends are currently apparent — the last weekend in April and the first weekend in May. To close out the month of April, Texas will host Loganville (Ga.) Grayson products Owen Pappoe and Kenyatta Watson II. The following weekend, Nolan Catholic’s NaNa Osafo-Mensah and Spring Dekaney’s Marcus Banks will visit.
Watson and Banks are two of the top Longhorns targets at cornerback, while Osafo-Mensah is a key target at B-backer. The coaches are hoping that the official visit helps Texas emerge as a viable contender for Pappoe, an outside linebacker.