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Teammates Malik Jefferson, DeAndre McNeal set to make decisions

Will the Longhorns enjoy a program-changing morning on Friday or be left wondering what went wrong? The odds aren't great.

Malik Jefferson at The Opening
Malik Jefferson at The Opening
Student Sports

At 7:45 CT on Friday morning, the trajectory of one or two programs will change markedly for the better when five-star linebacker Malik Jefferson and four-star wide receiver DeAndre McNeal make their respective decisions in a ceremony at Mesquite Poteet.

Hours before deciding, Jefferson still did not have his mind made up, so despite the prospects at times discussing their desire to play their college football together, McNeal may not know where Jefferson is heading until Thursday or just before the announcement.

For Jefferson, the final three schools are Texas, Texas A&M, and UCLA.

And despite a desire to know who the defensive coordinator at Texas A&M will be, the consensus, to the extent there is a consensus, is that he will still choose the Aggies.

Even though his parents want him at Texas, he told ESPN that their influence has actually pushed him away from the Longhorns. Instead, he thinks that he could be the final piece at Texas A&M, sharing this devastating thought for Texas fans:

"I may not like Texas A&M because they suck right now. I may not like Texas because they suck. But both have so much potential," Jefferson said. "That's what I'm looking at now. To be honest, A&M has twice as much potential."

According to Jefferson, he was also unsure about the Texas scheme on defense after his official visit to College Station, making it seem like head coach Kevin Sumlin was able to do some successful negative recruiting against his counterpart Charlie Strong despite Strong's pretty impeccable record as a defensive coach.

In addition, Jefferson didn't seem overly concerned about what he thought was a less than stellar effort against Missouri -- his belief is that the 2015 class can change that around, eliminating a major concern for Texas A&M.

The entire piece by Max Olson is worth reading to gain perspective on the subtle shifts of Jefferson's recruitment.

On Thursday evening, the star linebacker's Crystal Ball had trended to 57 percent in favor of the Aggies, with no positive movement for the Longhorns in recent days.

As for McNeal, his recruitment may be more of a mystery than Jefferson -- there's at least no consensus about it at all.

Strong sold him on getting the first touch of the season against Notre Dame next year in a bold promise, but Texas entered his recruitment relatively late.

The loss of wide receivers coach David Beatty to Kansas impacted McNeal, but Sumlin and offensive coordinator Jake Spavital are good enough on that side of the ball that Beatty's departure didn't impact the decision of five-star Arizona wide receiver Christian Kirk, who committed to the Aggies on Wednesday.

There hasn't been much action in McNeal's Crystal Ball in the last several months -- one prediction for Texas A&M in the last week and another for UCLA.

If there's a dark horse for both prospects, it's probably the Bruins, as Jefferson gushed about his official visit there, as did McNeal. But the health issues of Jefferson's mother will almost certainly keep him close to home.

The bad news for Texas is that it's hard to feel optimistic about landing Jefferson with his comments about the Texas scheme and the potential of Texas A&M and there hasn't been any point in McNeal's recruitment where he seemed like a lean to the Longhorns.

On his own, Jefferson is an incredibly important prospect for the future of the Texas program, with McNeal only increasing the stakes and the upside.

In sum, however, having a pleasant Friday morning doesn't seem likely for Longhorns recruitniks.