After a rollercoaster recruitment chaperoned by Erick Fowler's dream to play for the LSU Tigers and Mama Fowler's desire for her son to stay close to home and play college football in Austin, Fowler elected on National Signing Day to flip to the Texas Longhorns during a ceremony at his high school.
Your newest #Longhorn, Erick Fowler. #Texas pic.twitter.com/xPmJ92D9Ci— Chris Tavarez (@ChrisTavarez) February 3, 2016
How bout a DAB from Erick Fowler!! He's pumped up and fired about joining Texas!! pic.twitter.com/r2gLrDikLU— ANTHONY GERONIMO (@ATXANT10) February 3, 2016
Although he held 16 offers, which included Alabama, Oklahoma, Texas A&M, TCU, Baylor, and Oregon, it was essentially a two-horse race for Fowler's services from day one. For the majority of this period, the Tigers played the part of the thoroughbred, with Fowler committing last June following an unofficial visit two weeks earlier. Since his commitment, Fowler attended a Texas camp, took another unofficial to Baton Rouge, and took his official to Texas over the massive recruiting weekend January 15, which he followed with an official visit to LSU January 22. As Wescott Eberts noted, that visit initially looked like it may have sealed the deal and brought mama Fowler on board:
"Coming out of an official visit to Baton Rouge on January 22 with his entire family, multiple interviews given by family members made it sound like his mother was much more on board with her son going out of state to play his college football than she had been previously."
@erick_fowler your favorite Auntie has her Purple and Gold ready!!! I don't look good in Orange! #GeauxErick #LSU ♡♡ pic.twitter.com/ai0wdLgEQr— Camille Fowler Lash (@TheCamillelash) February 1, 2016
But in typical Charlie Strong fashion, the Texas head coach snuck an in-home visit in at the last second, and reports suggested that might ultimately decide the outcome, per Football Brainiacs:
"I've spoken to folks close to Erick and it is sounding more and more like after some family discussions and the weekend visit from coach Strong, Texas has taken a lead here. My sources did say that LSU isn't out of this one and right now Erick is not talking to many people regarding his recruitment (which includes some folks closest to him) but what I was told makes me feel that Texas is in a good spot here."
Texas is making a hard charge for Erick Fowler. LSU is definitely feeling the heat on their end as they try to hold on to his commitment.— Daniel Seahorn (@CoachSeahorn) February 1, 2016
Obviously, the latter/former endured the rigorous test of time and Fowler is a Tiger/Longhorn. It could go without saying that this is a colossal get/miss for the Longhorns. The 2-16 US Army All-American Manor (TX) outside linebacker/weak-side defensive end product -- a Fox End in Texas' defense -- ranks as the nation's No. 75 overall player, No. 7 outside linebacker, and the No. 12 talent in Texas, per 247Sports composite rankings.
The recent buzz surrounding Fowler's recruitment favored the Longhorns down the stretch and Mama Fowler got her wish and Erick Fowler is staying close to home to play for Texas.