What was once setting up as a dud of a recruiting weekend just days ago now looks much more important for the Texas Longhorns.
New head coach Charlie Strong and his staff will host Houston (Texas) Cypress Creek offensive tackle Elijah Rodriguez, who is currently committed to the Colorado Buffaloes, Abilene (Texas) Cooper wide receiver Lorenzoe Joe, Denton (Texas) Guyer quarterback Jerrod Heard, and possibly San Antonio (Texas) Roosevelt cornerback Arrion Springs, who is currently committed to Oregon.
Despite a consensus three-star rating, Rodriguez may be the most important visitor as he takes his official visit to Texas. The Longhorns don't yet have an offensive tackle in the 2014 recruiting class and while Rodriguez does not yet hold an offer, he is expected to receive one on his visit and is considered a strong candidate to flip his pledge at that time, as there are already 11 predictions for Rodriguez committing to Texas in the 247Sports Crystal Ball predictions.
Rodriguez is rated as the No. 112 offensive tackle nationally, the No. 195 player in the state of Texas, and the No. 1478 player in the country by the 247Sports Composite rankings. The 6'6, 285-pounder committed to Colorado on August 23, 2013 and took his official visit in early December. Arizona State, Arkansas State, Fresno State, Kansas, New Mexico, New Mexico State, Texas State, Tulsa, and UCF also extended offers. Rivals is reporting an offer from LSU as a result of recent interest in Rodriguez.
Heard will be in Austin on an unofficial visit for what appear to be recruiting purposes -- he is already on record as being firm with his commitment despite the recent coaching changes. The consensus four-star prospect is ranked as the No. 1 dual-threat quarterback in the country by 247Sports, making him the most important commit in the Texas class.
Besides helping to recruit the official visitor Rodriguez, Heard will also be trying to convince Joe, the first pledge in the 2014 class for the Horns, to stick with his own commitment. The 6'3, 200-pound wideout took an official visit to TCU last weekend, but cancelled a planned visit to USC. He's rated as the No. 29 wide receiver nationally and the No. 23 player in the state of Texas in the composite rankings.
A lifelong Texas fan, it appears that Joe is now reaching the business part of his decision after remaining firm throughout most of the recruiting process. Heard and the offensive braintrust will work on selling him on the offense Joe will play in if he signs with the Longhorns on Wednesday as Joe considers the opportunity to play for the Horned Frogs.
A less concrete visit is that of Springs, a four-star prospected who has been committed to Oregon since last summer. The Horns finished second for his services at that times and Springs may be open a bit in his recruitment, as he has taken official visits to Oklahoma, USC, Florida State, and Miami in recent months.
However, the more telling sign for Springs may be that he was recently recruiting former Texas commit Trey Lealaimatafao, a San Antonio (Texas) Warren defensive tackle, to Oregon.
Even if Springs doesn't make the short trip up I-35, the weekend will be successful if the Horns can land Rodriguez to provide needed depth at the offensive tackle position and keep Joe in the class.