Texas Longhorns hosting four-star defensive tackle Poona Ford, other visitors

Poona Ford - Student Sports

The Texas staff hasn't been in place long, but it is already facing its most important visit weekend before Signing Day.

With less than three weeks remaining until National Signing Day, new Texas Longhorns head coach Charlie Strong and his staff are hosting several official visitors this weekend in an effort to secure some final pledges in the 2014 class and keep the remaining committed players.

In the former category, uncommitted prospects who will be in Austin include four-star Hilton Head Island (S.C.) Hilton Head defensive tackle Poona Ford and Dallas (Texas) Carter all-purpose back Corey Avery, while Ennis (Texas) safety Jah'shawn Johnson is a current Texas Tech commitment.

The two committed players visiting that Texas fans are keeping an eye on are San Antonio (Texas) Brennan defensive end Derick Roberson and New Orleans (La.) St. Augustine cornerback Jermaine Roberts, both Under Armour All-Americans.

Ford is an important target for the Longhorns after losing all three defensive tackle pledges in the 2014 class last week. The 6'0, 285-pounder was committed to Strong at Louisville for four months before re-opening his recruitment when Strong left for Texas. Down to Missouri, Oregon, and Texas, Ford will visit the former two schools in the coming weeks, but his 247Sports Crystal Ball predictions have been trending heavily in favor of the Longhorns in recent days.

A consensus three-star prospect ranked as the No. 15 all-purpose back nationally, Avery is teammates with current Texas linebacker commit Cameron Hampton and is likely to receive an official offer on the visit because the all-purpose back the Longhorns did have committed in the class, Newton (Texas) speedster Kevin Shorter, is unlikely to play football again after suffering a bruised spinal cord. If Avery does receive that offer, there's a chance he could end his recruitment in favor of Texas and cancel planned visits to Nebraska and Kansas.

The other visitor on commitment watch is Johnson, who has been pledged to the Red Raiders since August. Likewise a consensus three-star prospect, Johnson has also seen his 247Sports Crystal Ball predictions come in for Texas.

In terms of the committed visitors, Roberson has talked about taking visits throughout his recruitment, but has never actually set up any trips -- his visit is important mostly for establishing a comfort level with the new Texas staff. With Roberts, however, the stakes are much higher, as the 247Sports four-star defender is set to visit Ohio State next week and is currently the only cornerback in the 2014 class for the Horns.

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