Jefferson & Mack talk Longhorns

Was this a subliminal message to Malik Jefferson?

At first glance the mannequins at Big 12 Media Days dressed in full uniform of all 10 conference teams were exactly that: mannequins. Nothing more. Nothing less.

But there was something about that Longhorns mannequins that made you rub your chin and look a few extra times.

Then it hit you like an all-out blitz.

The mannequin had a burnt orange No. 46 jersey on, the same number five-star linebacker Malik Jefferson (Mesquite, Texas/Poteet) normally wears.

Coincidence?

Cleverly placed subliminal message?

We’ll never know for sure but the No. 46 is pretty vague in most respects, and we highly doubt it had anything to do with walk-on sophomore defensive end Johnny Tseng, who sports the number for Texas right now.

Sometimes it’s the little things in recruiting that make the biggest of decisions go in your favor, and don’t think for a second that Jefferson didn’t catch wind about it. He did and loved it.

It surely came up in discussion when he took an unofficial visit to Texas on Saturday along with both his parents and brothers.

Jefferson, the No. 1 outside linebacker in the country, spent 6 ½ hours with the coaching staff talking about everything under the sun.

It was a highly anticipated visit and one that Texas was hoping would continue to build on the momentum UT’s “Under the Lights” camp on July 18 helped create.

From the sounds of it, momentum continued to climb in Austin despite the rough-and-tumble week the program suffered due to the dismissal of a handful of players and two others getting arrested.

“I give the visit a 9 out of 10,” Jefferson tells HD. “The best part was just hanging out with the coaches.”

Jefferson’s mother, Teresa, echoed her son’s sentiments.

“It was very informative and all that we expected,” Mrs. Jefferson said. “Coach Strong is very real and has an incredible staff around him.”

What did this visit do for Texas? Well it means that UT, if nothing else, got an incredible amount of 1-on-1 time with perhaps the top player on its board at quite possibly the most crucial time in Charlie Strong’s tenure in Austin.

Speculation is running rampant right now about why those players were dismissed and what the future holds for them. Strong and his staff had the perfect opportunity to let Jefferson know what exactly is going on.

HD has long known that Jefferson’s parents were big fans of Strong and his staff. From the sounds of Mrs. Jefferson’s comments, this visit and those particular conversations (if those topics were discussed) only strengthened their fandom.

All that said, Texas is far from being a clear-cut favorite for Jefferson.

As recently as The Opening he told Scout.com that he did not have a list of top schools but that he’s set up official visits to UCLA, Stanford and Ohio State. He wasn’t sure of the other two but did mention Alabama, USC, Oregon, and Notre Dame as possible destinations.

And Texas A&M has several top recruits that are doing what they can to sway him toward College State.

One of those is fellow five-star Daylon Mack (Gladewater, Texas). The massive defensive tackle is keeping close tabs on what Jefferson is doing and tells HD that where Jefferson goes could impact his decision.

“If Malik ends up at UT that would be a major factor,” he said. “I would definitely start to look at them.”

Mack has been committed to A&M for a long time but has continued to say that he could potentially look around. Texas, as it turns out, is one of the schools he’d be interested in finding more about.

“I plan to only take two official visits and one will be to A&M,” Mack said. “I’m not sure where the other will be but UT is under high consideration. They are coming after me extremely hard. I feel like I am one of their top priorities.”

Mack has also been keeping close tabs on Strong and the goings on at Texas this week. The way he sees it, Strong is doing what he was brought in to do.

“I like the way he is running the program,” Mack said. “He is trying to fix it to his liking. He didn’t get the job because things were going all fine and dandy.”

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