The first of several consensus five-star California visitors was on the Forty Acres over the weekend, as Clovis Buchanan running back Kendall Milton was the most notable visitor hosted by head coach Tom Herman and his staff.
Ranked as the nation’s No. 2 running back, Milton visited Austin as the second leg on a trip that also included a stop in Norman, which Milton said “exceeded expectations.”
Given the recent success for Oklahoma at the running back position and dominance of the Big 12, the Sooners could emerge as a serious contender for the 6’1, 211-pounder, especially since the home-state Trojans are in such disarray. Oklahoma has also recruited the Fresno area well — former five-star prospect Caleb Kelley landed in Norman after signing in the 2016 class, as one example.
Texas could benefit from its own California ties, though, as early enrollees Bru McCoy and De’Gabriel Floyd are now on campus to help with recruiting efforts in the state.
To have a serious shot at landing a national recruit like Milton, Texas will need to get him back on campus at least once more, but it’s encouraging to land a visit relatively early in the process.
The other weekend visitors arrived with Fast 7v7 founder Ro Simon, Jr., an important figure on the in-state landscape since so many top prospects compete for his teams.
On this particular occasion, the visitors included some key targets for the Longhorns — Houston CE King safety Bryson Washington, Pearland Shadow Creek safety Xavion Alford, Aldine Macarthur cornerback Joshua Eaton, and 2021 Richmond Foster wide receiver Cody Jackson.
Washington has been on the radar for some time — he received his offer last May and told Burnt Orange Nation’s Joe Hamilton last fall that he “loves everything about Texas.” A Junior Day visit in February helped his mother get acquainted with the coaches.
“It was pretty good,” Washington told Hamilton. “That visit was more for my mom, because she hasn’t been on tours with me. She loved it. My mom thinks it’s a great school.”
As a result of his talent level and affinity for the Horns, there are two 247Sports Crystal Ball predictions in favor of Texas. As a top-10 safety, one of three in Texas, he’s also one of the top Longhorns targets at that position in a strong year in the state.
Offered in early February, Alford visited for the recent Texas Junior Day, but was able to spend more one-on-time with the coaches this weekend with far fewer prospects on campus. He’s not as highly rated as other in-state safeties like Washington, but he has seen his stock take off recently, including a jump of almost 200 spots in the rankings. His Crystal Ball features two projections for the Horns this month.
“I would say Texas definitely rolled out the red carpet for me today on my visit. I really enjoy being in Austin,” Alford told Hamilton after the Junior Day. “It’s just a fun place to be in. It’s all love throughout the campus. Coach Naviar and I have a very close relationship, along with Michael Huff. Also I have lots of ties up there with Jordan Whittington, [Anthony] Cook, Jay Green, BJ Foster, and D’Shawn Jamison. I was with those guys so we were just chilling. Me and Coach Herman talked and he made it clear that I am a premium player in the 2020 class, and that I’m a key piece to winning a natty.”
Like Alford, Eaton recently received his offer from the Horns from cornerbacks coach Jason Washington while visiting for the Junior Day, an interaction that Simon caught on video. Like Alford, Eaton is also one of the hottest prospects in the state — in the last month, he’s picked up at least 17 offers and isn’t even ranked yet in the 247Sports Composite. Like Alford and Washington, there are also two Crystal Ball predictions that favor the Horns landing the rangy cornerback, as well as two Rivals FutureCasts.
A speedster with a remarkable extra gear, Jackson was another prospect who received his offer from the Longhorns at the Junior Day. He’s been an Oklahoma target since late November and recently added offers from schools like LSU and Michigan.
“My latest visit was awesome,” Jackson told Hamilton after the Junior Day. “They offered me and I got closer to the coaches. I really liked it.”
The weekend trip to Austin was another step in Jackson building a deeper relationship with the Texas coaches, which could eventually loom large in his recruitment — Oklahoma is currently considered the leader with five Crystal Ball predictions.