As the Texas Longhorns seek to fulfill new head coach Charlie Strong's vision of a long-physical secondary with tall cornerbacks, the failure to land an expected Friday visit from Newton cornerback Roney Elam was not a positive development.
The former high school teammate of 2014 Texas all-purpose back signee Kevin Shorter was in College Station the weekend before and has planned to take a visit to Arkansas before making a decision in the near future. It is not yet clear when a trip to Austin will happen or if he will return before he commits.
Back at the state track meet in early May, the consensus four-star prospect said that the deciding factor in his decision will be the depth chart at his school of choice. In that regard, it's a close battle between Texas and Texas A&M, which will both lose several prospective starters from the secondary -- Quandre Diggs, Mykkele Thompson, and Josh Turner for Texas, and Deshazor Everett, Floyd Raven, and Howard Matthews for Texas A&M.
Perhaps give the Aggies a slight edge there since two of those players are cornerbacks, while the Horns lose two safeties. Of course, at 6'2 and 185 pounds, Elam may not have the pure speed necessary to stick at cornerback, but right now that's the projection.
Rated as the No. 26 cornerback nationally and the No. 41 player in the state of Texas, Elam is regarded as the nation's No. 281 player by the 247Sports Composite rankings. He holds offers from a number of programs and had released a top three of Texas, Texas A&M, and LSU several months ago, but the Tigers seem to have fallen down his list and are no longer considered a serious contender.
The team recently entering his recruitment is Arkansas, which waited to offer him until late April. There are some Razorback connections to Netwon, however, as 2013 cornerback signee DJ Dean is related to Shorter and played at the small East Texas high school.
In the 247Sports Crystal Ball projections, the Horns still hold the lead at 53% of the predictions following a strong month of May that saw multiple predictions changed from LSU. However, the last two predictions, from Gigem247's Brian Perroni and Good Bull Hunting's Hunter Jarvis, have both been for the Aggies.
For the Horns to land any of the remaining top defensive back targets in the class, a rare head-to-recruiting win over the Aggies will be necessary and Elam looks like he will be the next prospect to commit.
When he does, will Texas be able to reverse the recent narrative?