BEAVERTON, Ore. — Three months after he named Texas the leader in his recruitment, five-star linebacker Dylan Moses is no longer so sure.
Like many marquee prospects with interest in Texas, Moses, the nation’s second-ranked player, says he wants to sit back and see what happens in Charlie Strong’s third season with the Longhorns.
“At this point, I really don’t know,” Moses told two Texas reporters at The Opening. “I haven’t been up there in a while. I’m just trying to enjoy the process and let the coaches recruit me.”
This is a departure from April, when Moses, after a visit to UT, told 247Sports the Longhorns were his favorite “for sure.”
Make no mistake: Texas is still firmly in the running for Moses, who about two weeks ago announced he’ll make a trip to Austin for one of his five official visits. It’ll come Oct. 15, when UT plays Iowa State. That will be the season’s midpoint for the Longhorns, who will be seeking revenge for last year’s 24-0 loss in Ames.
By then, Moses should have clarity on the direction the program is headed under Strong, whose team will start with a difficult stretch that includes the opener against Notre Dame, road games against Cal and Oklahoma State, and the Red River Showdown with Oklahoma. A Week 2 matchup with UTEP is the only gimme in the first half of the season.
Keep in mind, Texas first offered a scholarship to Moses, of Baton Rouge, La., when he was in the eighth grade, and despite a stretch of mediocrity beginning under Mack Brown, the Horns have managed to hold on to Moses’ interest. Now, Strong needs to start winning, not only to save his job, but to alleviate concerns of blue chip talents such as Moses, Bellaire Episcopal defensive tackle Marvin Wilson and La Grange running back JK Dobbins, who is committed to Ohio State.
“They’re still rebuilding,” Moses said. “They have a great recruiting class come in. I want to see them live up to their potential. They have a great coach in Charlie Strong, and I want them to be good.”
In the first game of Saturday’s 7-on-7 tournament, Moses and Team Lunarbeast fell to Fly Rush and Texas quarterback pledge Sam Ehlinger, 21-20. It was a good battle, with Lunarbeast scoring a touchdown on the final play of the game but failing on the conversion when Notre Dame commitment CJ Holmes couldn’t pull in a pass in the end zone.
Moses said he chatted with Texas linebacker Malik Jefferson, an assistant coach for Fly Rush. Jefferson, a five-star prospect in 2015, likewise expressed concern during his recruitment about the direction Texas was headed but ultimately chose the Horns and set off a chain reaction of commitments from other star players.
“He’s a great guy, great player and someone I look up to,” Moses said.
In the end, many insiders believe Moses, who is playing his senior season at IMG Academy in Florida, will return home and attend LSU, where he committed early in his freshman year before reconsidering and backing out of his pledge last August. Already familiar with the Tigers, Moses says he will not take an official visit to LSU and instead will check out Texas, Miami, UCLA, Ohio State and Alabama. However, he said he’s “iffy” about the Crimson Tide because they’ve landed commitments from three linebackers for next year after signing two five-star linebackers in 2016.
Though winning will help Texas’ cause, Moses said the primary factor in his decision is the relationship he’ll have with his coaches.
“To me, it’s not about the team,” he said. “I want communicate with my coach and have a good relationship with him. I want him to be able to coach me. If I can’t come to you and ask you questions outside of football, personal stuff, there’s no need for me to come to you.”