The Texas Longhorns hosted a good number of recruits for last week's win over Texas Tech, with players from 2010, 2011 and even 2012 classes making their way to Austin to see the nationally-televised affair.
One of the top players in attendance was 2011 Abilene running back Herschel Sims, who made his first football-related visit to the Forty Acres and came away impressed.
"It was amazing. I loved it down there. The fans were amazing, to be a part of a new record crowd, close to 102 thousand. It was a good football game. The campus, the field house and the facilities were unbelievable," Sims said. "It was nice and I just liked it. They seemed like they have fun doing what they do down there."
During the visit, Sims had a chance to talk to Major Applewhite before and after the game. Though Texas does not traditionally offer juniors until its senior targets have signed their letters of intent, Applewhite notified Sims that he'll receive strong consideration for a scholarship when the time does come for UT to extend official invitations.
"He was saying that at UT they're about winning. If you're not willing to work hard, it's not the place for you," said Sims. "And he said to basically just stay on track, have a good season, stay healthy and be humble. If I continue to do well, I could be looking at an offer in a year or so.
"They look at and focus on the upper-classmen since those are the guys coming in the following year. He said just because they haven't offered me doesn't mean they're not interested. He said to just keep an open mind and keep working hard."
Sims is keeping an open mind at this point of the recruiting process, but he does list an early top five of Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Georgia, Texas and UCLA. The visit to Austin on Saturday helped solidify the Longhorns' spot among his favorites.
"They're in the top five. I grew up watching them. I always liked the Longhorns," Sims said. "They always have good backs, good players. They're a good team, they succeed and they have a good coaching staff," Sims said. "Coach Applewhite and coach Mack Brown know what they're doing."
Despite losing some talent from last year's team that went 10-0 in the regular season, the 5-10, 190-pound Sims and his Abilene teammates are off to another fast start with a 3-0 mark in 2009.
"I can improve on all things really - run harder, trust my blocking, play with more confidence. We have a young team and lost some big factors on defense and I'm the only skill position guy that returned," Sims said. "I'm trying to be a leader, step up and trust them and know that they have my back and I have their back. I just want to play well, watch more film, learn from my mistakes and learn from watching other people as well."
Already holding offers from Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Texas Tech, Sims has been busy through the first few weeks of the football season, taking in games in Dallas (BYU-Oklahoma), Lubbock (Rice-Texas Tech) and most recently, Austin. Sims is also hoping to attend the Texas-Oklahoma game in Dallas and OU-Texas Tech game in Lubbock in November.
As for a recruiting timeline, the state's No. 8-ranked prospect is in no hurry to end the process, but an early commitment is not out of the question.
"I really want to wait, but then again, I want to get it over with. I don't want to be stressed out during my senior season. I need to see where I best fit in and talk it over with my parents," Sims said. ""I'm keeping my mind open but if the chance comes and it feels right, I'll make a decision."