- Max Olson, ESPN Staff Writer
Texas’ recruiting weekend during the state track meet didn’t lead to any new commitments, but it did help the Longhorns’ chances of landing ESPN 150 defensive back Arrion Springs.
The San Antonio Roosevelt corner drove up to Austin on Saturday morning to meet with defensive backs coach Duane Akina. Though Springs wasn’t there long, the visit did more than enough to push Texas up his list.
“Texas is No. 2 on my list right now from the visit last week,” Spring said. “It would be Oregon, Texas and then Miami. Texas is not really a backup plan -- it’s really just between Oregon and Texas.”
Texas had been trailing both out-of-state programs going into the visit. Two things made Springs’ time on campus a valuable one for getting close to a decision. The first was the time he spent one-on-one with Akina.
“Me and Coach Akina got to sit down and chat and talk about football and how they’re going to use me, his style and my style,” Springs said. “It was a little more business this time. We got to actually sit down and talk -- he didn’t have to try to impress my mom or anything. I got to see the real coach. I want to get to the NFL, he wants to help me get to the NFL. We see eye to eye on things.”
The other big factor is the new interest Texas is showing in Springs' teammate and close friend, Roosevelt defensive tackle Trae Gardner.
The 6-foot, 254-pound lineman accompanied Springs on his visit this weekend and was told he could have a shot at an offer and a spot in the Texas class if he performs well at camp next month.
Springs and Gardner have been close friends since the fourth grade. He’s hoping Gardner can get offered by both Texas and Oregon, so that they can make their decision together.
“Trae wants to go to Texas, and I wouldn’t mind going there. It’s a good school,” he said. “We’re trying to stay together, but I don’t know if that will really happen. If my best friend is going to Texas, and I want to roll with him, I don’t know ... it would be crazy.”
Oregon has a firm hold on the No. 1 spot in Springs’ recruitment. The Ducks sent secondary coach John Neal to Roosevelt on Tuesday to scout the nation’s No. 44 prospect, and an offer should be coming soon once he approves it with new head coach Mark Helfrich.
Even though he’s never visited Eugene, Springs says there’s a variety of reasons why he’s got the Ducks on top.
“They have awesome facilities, Coach Neal is a great coach and fun to be around, they put guys in the league and that’s one of my goals,” he said. “It seems like a nice city to live in, great fan support, and there’s stuff you can do outside of football. You can go fishing or, when it’s snowing, you can go skiing. It might take me some time to get into skiing, but there is stuff to do there.”
Springs is planning to attend Oregon’s summer camp from June 18-20. Assuming he’d have an offer by then, it’s entirely possible he could make a decision soon after that visit.
One factor Springs and his family have discussed is the fact both Oregon and Miami could face NCAA sanctions in the next year. That’s something he’s mindful of during this process, but he currently isn’t worried about where Oregon stands on that front.
“I’ve talked to Oregon about the whole scandal going on and Coach Neal cleared it all up,” Springs said. “He just said they’ve been bringing the same thing up for three years now and the NCAA has yet to rule on it. He said they might have a couple scholarships taken away but it really shouldn’t have an impact.”
Expect Springs to camp at Texas and possibly Miami as well this summer. No matter what, though, he doesn’t think he can decide until he sees Oregon. The Longhorns are in for a battle for Springs, but no doubt his weekend visit helped.