For one week, Northwestern fans heard rumors about an outside linebacker committing.
They could have visited the Simba Short twitter account and hit refresh, over and over again.
What they didn't witness was a pledge to Northwestern, or hints about his college destination. Instead, there were YouTube clips linking to Simba's art—of him spray painting walls.
"I just picked up a pencil one day, this was a couple of years ago," Short told PurpleWildcats.com. "I started drawing and said: ‘Oh. I made something cool.' From there on, I went into spray painting. It keeps me busy. I love it."
What NU fans did witness was the kind of "well rounded" recruit NU covets. So when he did commit on Thursday—a decision first reported by PurpleWildcats.com—it seemed that much sweeter.
Northwestern entered the day at No. 22 on the Scout.com recruiting rakings, and will rise even more after landing its 10th commitment of the 2015 class.
On April 13, Short said he planned a return visit to NU. With interest from schools including Arizona State, Utah, Princeton and Yale, he could have waited. He added that NU was in "good shape," with no timeframe attached.
Instead, he moved by May, once it became clear to him that the Wildcats program was the best option.
"This was about my window when I wanted to start thinking about commitments," Short said. "I was looking at my options and realized that Northwestern was a great school and a great opportunity for me."
The Wildcats were also among the first to engage in his recruitment. The Concord (Calif.) De La Salle three-star prospect built relationships with linebackers coach Randy Bates.
He visited Northwestern in January, saying he "expected the cold to be worse," and then praised the lakefront facility plan.
"It felt like I was family over there," he said.
Since the visit, the coaching staff followed up with frequent direct messages and "check-ins," making Short feel like the top priority.
You could certainly say he was. NU landed middle linebacker Nathan Fox and outside linebacker Tommy Vitale, with one spot remaining. They seemed content—and confident enough—to focus on Short for that void.
Short will play on the outside at NU, with the coaching staff praising his "physicality" and ability to play in open space.
These 10 commits are part of what could be the highest-ranked NU recruiting class in recent memory. That depends on the close, because the first half is excellent.
"I'm juiced," Short said. "They have a bunch of good, talented recruits coming in. They're going nowhere but up."