Texas Stampede preview: What to watch

AUSTIN, Texas -- Texas hosts its first-ever Texas Stampede recruiting event on Saturday. Here’s what you need to know going into the big, one-day event and which recruits we’re keeping an eye on this weekend.

Five things to watch

What’s the message?

We know this recruiting event is not a camp. No 40-yard dashes will be run, no position drills will be conducted. Nearly every recruit attending already holds an offer from the Longhorns and doesn’t need to prove his value at this point. Most of them have already been on campus for one of Texas' various events -- junior days, sophomore day, spring game, state track, camp – and the majority aren’t coming to get a tour of facilities and the campus. What’s going to set this day apart and make it a meaningful one for Texas’ chances of landing each prospect? Is it about promoting a family atmosphere and working hard to win over parents? Will recruits attending Stampede see and do things that no other visitor has this spring or summer? We’re curious to see how Texas sets itself apart on Saturday.

The big fish

If Tony Brown were the only recruit scheduled to attend Texas Stampede, it would still be a significant recruiting day for the Longhorns. The Longhorns have long believed they were in good shape to land the Beaumont (Texas) Ozen two-sport star, and getting him on campus Saturday for one more visit before he takes official visits this fall is potentially huge. The timing is perfect for Texas, too, because it gives Brown and his family a chance to spent time with the new Longhorns track and field staff. Head coach Mario Sategna and newly hired hurdles coach Tonja Buford-Bailey are already recruiting Brown, and they will be critical figures in Texas’ hopes of signing him.

The Fab Four

Most members of the the Daylon Mack-created “Fab Five” we first told you about in May are expected to be on campus Saturday, including Mack himself. Whitehouse (Texas) safety Justin Dunning and Sulphur Springs (Texas) safety Larry Pryor Jr. won’t make it to Austin, but Mack (Gladewater, Texas/Gladewater) will be joined on the trip by Gilmer (Texas) cornerback Kris Boyd, Mesquite (Texas) Poteet linebacker Malik Jefferson and Longview (Texas) running back Ja’Mycal Hasty, the only member of the pact who doesn’t have a UT offer. Mack has suddenly shown increased interest in Texas and assistant coach Bo Davis, and the four recruits visiting have all said Saturday is their opportunity to catch up with one another and discuss what each is thinking. There’s no doubt the Longhorns will be in that conversation after Stampede.

Pulling the trigger

Saturday might not go like most Texas sophomore and junior days, where you’re sitting by the laptop repeating tapping refresh and waiting with nervous excitement to find out who committed to the Longhorns. That’s not what Stampede is about – the goal is to continue to get ahead with kids, even if that means that few leave campus committed. Several members of our five to watch below could go ahead and commit, but don’t be surprised if you see only one or two make that move.

Unifying the classes

Texas is recruiting now like it never has before, as the 2014 and 2015 classes are almost equally important in terms of their attention and efforts. We’ve written plenty about which guys are the leaders of the 2014 class, but realistically, wouldn’t now be the perfect time to unify these two classes? We’re expecting 18 of the Longhorns’ combined 28 commits from these two classes to attend Stampede. Shouldn’t it be their goal to start working together to recruit everybody else?

Five recruits to watch

2014 CB Tony Brown (Beaumont, Texas/Ozen)

Those in the know insist that Texas is still in the running for Brown, despite many believing this is a two-horse race between LSU and Alabama. If Brown does show up -- there is a chance he could, though nothing has been confirmed -- it would go a long way toward confirming what the Longhorns already believe. Brown is still a ways away from making any sort of announcement. However, he does want to enroll early so he can run track in the spring of next season, wherever he decides to go. He would like to take some of his official visits and Texas figures to have a good chance of receiving one of them.

2015 OG Patrick Vahe (Euless, Texas/Trinity)

This one only seems like a matter of time. Vahe unofficially visited Texas on Monday and all reports are that the visit went great. The No. 4 OG in 2015 and No. 79 player overall in the ESPN Junior 300 will make a return trip to the Texas Stampede, and few would be surprised if he went ahead and joined cousins Sione and Maea Teuhema as 2015 Longhorns commitments.

2014 S Jason Hall (Grand Prairie, Texas/South Grand Prairie)

Will this finally be the time when the former Nebraska commit does what so many have long thought he’d do and commit to Texas? It could be, though Hall has slow-played this process a lot more than most expected. When he decommitted from Nebraska, he made it a point to tell RecruitingNation that he was not a Texas lean and that schools such as Baylor, Oklahoma, Iowa and Utah were very much in the picture. We’ll see if that changes this weekend.

2014 DT D.J. Williams (Lufkin, Texas/Lufkin)

Williams told HornsNation during the Texas State 7-on-7 Tournament that the Longhorns coaching staff told him they had good news for him if he attended the Texas Stampede. The obvious thinking there is that an offer could be in play. However, the numbers right now just don’t add up. Texas has three defensive tackle commitments in 2014 and they aren’t likely to take four.

2015 CB Kris Boyd (Gilmer, Texas/Gilmer)

If you follow Boyd on Twitter, you know that Texas is not just in good shape, but great shape here. The No. 8 cornerback in the ESPN Junior 300 and No. 146 player overall, he really likes the Longhorns and is the first cousin of former Texas defensive back Curtis Brown. He might not commit this weekend, but no one would be surprised if he did.