Get ready for the outcomes of two more in-state recruiting battles between the Texas Longhorns and the Texas A&M Aggies. Following high-profile decisions in which players like defensive linemen Vernon Broughton and Princely Unmanmielen chose the Horns over the Aggies in recent weeks, it’s clearly Texas with the momentum on the recruiting trail.
So that’s the context surrounding the upcoming decisions of Pearland Shadow Creek safety Xavion Alford and Aldine Macarthur cornerback Joshua Eaton. Both players are consensus four-star prospects with all the tools necessary to succeed at the college level and the Aggies and Longhorns in hot pursuit.
A decision could come from Alford this week. He told Mike Craven of the Austin American-Statesman this week that Texas A&M leads for him, but he’s down to the two in-state recruiting rivals. And there have been several 247Sports Crystal Ball picks come in for him to side with the Longhorns instead.
This certainly wouldn’t be the first time recently that head coach Tom Herman and his staff have been able to rescue a recruitment in the final moments that surely seemed doom — it was less than two weeks ago that consensus five-star running back Bijan Robinson pledged to the Longhorns after it appeared that he was bound for the Buckeyes until the final week before his decision.
Alford also hails from the Houston area, the part of the state where Herman and his staff have the deepest ties, which should only help with the 6’0, 182-pounder who can play virtually any position in the secondary. He’s a fan of the Longhorns defense because of its emphasis on safety play and similarities to Shadow Creek’s scheme, he told Craven.
Landing Alford would likely shut down recruiting at the safety position, as Texas currently holds a pledge from Lufkin safety Jerrin Thompson, another versatile defensive back who could play multiple positions. Thompson committed on Sunday.
Eaton officially has a top five — Alabama, Florida, Oklahoma, Texas A&M, and Texas — but told Craven that he’s already made his decision. Now it’s just time to wait for him to make it public. If there’s cause for optimism with Alford, there’s even more reason for confidence with Eaton.
The Macarthur standout visited Texas for a visit in early August and posted his pictures from the trip to the Forty Acres with a caption that seems to read quite positively for the Longhorns:
That visit still looms as a possible inflection point in Eaton’s recruitment, as a Crystal Ball pick from 247Sports National Director of Recruiting Steve Wiltfong followed nine days later and since then every pick has turned in favor of Texas, including two from Texas A&M insiders.
The two have been in communication with each other recently as they prepare to make their respective decisions.
“Josh and I compared notes, and I did that with some other guys,” Alford told Craven. “It’s always good to know what each college is telling us and if it all lines up.”
Given what Eaton is likely saying about the Horns behind the scenes, that would seem to bode well for Alford, too — it’s possible that Texas could close with both and essentially shut down defensive back recruiting before the football season even begins.