AUSTIN, Texas -- On Saturday, Mack Brown's game begins long before the 2:30 p.m. CT kickoff of Oklahoma State and Texas. It won't end at sundown when the Longhorns walk off the field, either.
On this Saturday, a three-hour football game is just an extended reprieve in what should be a long day of recruiting for Brown and his coaching staff.
They're anticipating this will be Texas’ biggest home recruiting weekend of the year, at least during the season. Recruits and their parents want to see how Texas fares against the 12th-ranked Cowboys.
The Longhorns will have at least 13 members of the ESPN 300 for the classes of 2014 and 2015 in attendance Saturday afternoon at Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium. As many as 60 more prospective recruits will be in the stands. More than 15 commits will be on hand, too.
“This has been one that most of them marked for a long time,” Brown said.
Among those with front-row seats when Texas and OSU square off will be the No. 1 recruit in the nation, New Orleans St. Augustine running back Leonard Fournette, as well as three official visitors of critical importance.
Five-star cornerback Tony Brown (Beaumont, Texas/Ozen) and No. 3 ranked safety Jamal Adams (Lewisville, Texas/Hebron) want to find out if this Texas team, winners of six in a row, is legit. They want to see a program that really is on the rise.
They’ll be joined for their weekend in Austin by one of the gems of Texas’ 2014 class, Denton (Texas) Guyer’s Jerrod Heard. The ESPN 150 quarterback plans to do plenty of recruiting during his two days on campus.
“I can’t wait. Very excited,” Heard said. “It will be really fun. I’ve hung out with them before, and I’m just happy to be reunited with them.”
Swaying Fournette, who seems likely to end up at Alabama or LSU next year, is still a bit of a pipe dream. But Texas has been working on Brown and Adams for years. This pair of elite defensive backs has been at the top of the Longhorns’ board for a long time.
And, understandably, they’ve been taking a wait-and-see approach when it comes to the Longhorns. Brown encouraged that patience this summer and vowed the Longhorns were ready to make another run.
Perhaps two early losses damaged that claim, but starting 6-0 in the Big 12 to climb to No. 24 in the BCS standings has Texas right back where it wanted to be with its recruiting momentum.
Brown said Monday the feedback from prospects during the win streak has been “really good, a lot better than perceived,” and he believes the Longhorns are getting the attention of their top targets.
“It’s got us back in the mix with some fun kids,” Brown said. “We’re out of the grave with a foot and an arm. Got a little air.”
During the brief September stint in the grave, no member of Texas’ recruiting classes decommitted. The staff has picked up one in-season commitment, from ESPN Junior 300 running back Jordan Stevenson (Dallas/South Oak Cliff) after the impressive Oklahoma win. The home stretch is fast approaching.
Brown doesn’t tend to believe one win or one loss will drastically change Texas recruiting, but he does know more winning is the best way to win over the state’s best.
“We're right in the middle of good stuff right now, and we've got to keep winning,” he said. “They wanted to make sure we were back on track and see what we were made of.”