The recruiting trail has not been especially kind to new Texas Longhorns head coach Charlie Strong, who had a key 2014 linebacker decommit on Sunday and another 2015 prospect decommit on Monday.
The losses capped a recruiting weekend that saw one high-profile visit fall through, a four-star defensive back take yet another visit, and a key 2015 prospect take a Junior Day visit to the Texas A&M Aggies and nearly decommit after receiving an offer.
The bad news started early when Fort Worth (Texas) All Saints offensive guard Demetrius Knox took to Twitter to deny that he was going to take a previously reported official visit to Texas. Knox is a former Longhorns commit who will visit the UCLA Bruins next week while remaining committed to the Ohio State Buckeyes.
Then the news broke on Friday that Houston (Texas) Lamar safety John Bonney was taking an official visit to the Baylor Bears after visiting the Auburn Tigers the week before. A consensus four-star prospect, Bonney became crucial to the Texas class after the Horns missed out on virtually all of the top in-state defensive backs in a cycle that produced an unusually large number of them.
Bonney had chosen the Horns over the Bears back in September, but may still be in danger of flipping his commitment because of his lengthy relationship with Art Briles and his staff dating to the time that they were at Houston, where Bonny's father played basketball.
Since the visit became public, five predictions have come in for Baylor in Bonney's 247Sports Crystal Ball projections.
Marble Falls (Texas) wide receiver Garrett Gary took an official visit to the California Golden Bears and Abilene (Texas) Cooper wide receiver Lorenzo Joe also took an official visit to the TCU Horned Frogs. Of those two, Gary would seem to be a bigger threat to decommit, as Joe has been a lifelong Texas fan.
On Sunday, Texas lost four-star Houston (Texas) Cypress Falls linebacker Otaro Alaka to the Texas A&M Aggies, robbing the Horns of a potential difference-maker at a position Texas has struggled to find high-level production from since the departure of Keenan Robinson and Emmanuel Acho following the 2011 season.
While that was happening, 2015 Buda (Texas) Hays Consolidated offensive tackle Connor Lanfear was visiting the Aggies for their high-profile Junior Day that featured many of the state's top prospects in that class. The only pure offensive tackle committed to Texas in the 2014 and 2015 classes, Lanfear received an offer from Texas A&M while on his visit and the Aggies could become a serious contender for the athletic tackle.
The following day, Sherman (Texas) offensive guard Aaron Garza announced that he has officially decommitted from Texas, becoming the second 2015 prospect in two weeks to make that decision. The consensus three-star prospect may not have a Texas offer much longer, however, as he told Rivals that new offensive coordinator/offensive line coach Joe Wickline was unsure of his offer status when they spoke.
The other news on Monday was that Texas City (Texas) twins Armanti and D'Onta Foreman will be taking official visits to the Missouri Tigers next weekend, a visit that has been in the works for several days, but did not happen last weekend as a result of weather issues around the state of Texas. Armanti, a four-star wide receiver, and D'Onta, a three-star running back, are both key pieces of the Longhorns recruiting class.
There was, however, some positive news from the weekend, as Lakeland (Fla.) Victory Christian defensive tackle Chris Nelson took his official visit to Texas and it was generally thought to have gone well. Set to make a Signing Day decision, Nelson is a former Louisville commit who is also considering Central Florida and South Florida and is considered a strong Longhorn lean at this point.
After the decommitment of all three defensive tackles in the 2014 class, landing Nelson is imperative for the Horns. Another important target still on the board is Hilton Head Island (S.C.) Hilton Head defensive tackle Poona Ford, who officially visited Texas two weekends ago, took an official visit to Purdue last weekend, and is set to head to Missouri for an official visit next weekend. Ford is another former Louisville commit expected to eventually sign with Texas.
There were also two new 2014 offers that went out for Texas over the weekend.
The most impactful will likely be the one extended to Schertz (Texas) Clemens outside linebacker/defensive end Kollin Hill, a current Notre Dame commit who was high on Texas when the former staff pursued him briefly last fall, but declined to extend an offer. The loss of Alaka makes Hill a possibility to play linebacker in college at 6'2, 220 pounds and the rangy prospect is expected to take an official visit next weekend, at which point he is a strong candidate to end the weekend as a Longhorn.
The other offer may not end up meaning much for the Horns, as Fort Lauderdale (Fla.) University School linebacker Richard Yeargin decommitted from Notre Dame on Friday, but is not currently expected to visit Texas. The four-star prospect had previously been recruited by Charlie Strong at Louisville.
it's not yet time for Texas fans to hit the panic button with Strong and his new staff, as coaching changes are difficult, especially for a staff that only retained one member of the former group of coaches. However, the early returns haven't been as positive as expected on the recruiting trail and the Horns will have a tough time keeping all the prospects currently committed, while still finding a few more key pieces.
Ideally, those key pieces would be both defensive tackles currently on the radar, along with the addition of Hill.
The wild run to National Signing Day is typically one filled with thrills for fans, but right now most of the news regarding the Longhorns is just making Texas fans ill.