Texas football: Evaluating national signing day

Charlie Strong walked onto the campus of one of the most renowned football programs in the country with a demanding task placed upon him: close the deal on verbally committed recruits and convince the nation’s top talent to join him at the University of Texas.

Drastic changes were made at Texas when Mack Brown went 30-21 his last four seasons, failing to finish the season in the top 25 three of those four years. Despite Coach Brown’s unsuccessful last few seasons, he had a reputation of being an excellent recruiter and a winner. Young players around the country had an admiring respect for Coach Brown and looked to him as the face of Texas football. With Coach Brown out, Charlie Strong had to quickly assemble a team of coaches that could carry on the tradition of Longhorn football.

Brown led Texas to its first national championship since 1970 (USATSI)

Brown led Texas to its first national championship since 1970 (USATSI)

Uncertainty filled the air at the University of Texas on national signing day this Wednesday due to the coaching changes, the recent poor performance of the football program and the vast improvement of surrounding programs. However, with all the changes taking place in Austin, the Longhorns managed to have a respectable day closing the deal with some great athletes.

Texas finished out national signing day with a team rank of 20th. They landed 23 commits with eight of them being four-star recruits that are listed in ESPN’s top 300.

The class includes Jerrod Heard, a dual threat quarterback from Texas; Poona Ford, a defensive tackle that followed Coach Strong from Louisville to Texas; and Armanti Foreman, a top receiver from the state of Texas. This is a job well done for a new coach to the program that had such little time to pursue athletes across the country.

Texas Longhorns football

Jerrod Heard, a top dual threat quarterback in the country, commits to Texas. (Photo by David Minton/DRC)

The coaching changes had an affect on recruits as six players who had previously committed to the Longhorns under Coach Mack Brown chose to sign elsewhere. However, Coach Strong was able to land five late commitments on his own.

When asked about the situation of previous commitments choosing to go elsewhere, Coach Strong said, “You win with the players you have, you don’t lose with the players you don’t get.” He later went on to explain that he had to pursue athletes by selling his coaching staff and himself, not by reselling the University of Texas.

Having a recruiting class ranked 20th is decent considering the current condition of the program but the frightening news is that the University of Texas is not winning the hearts of the exceptional Texas talent. Texas managed to miss out on signing any of the top nine players from the state of Texas.

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It is concerning to see where much of the missed talent is going. Texas A&M won the state of Texas and had a phenomenal signing day that earned them the 6th ranked recruiting class in the country, signing three five star recruits and 10 four stars. The Longhorns also finished 2nd in the Big 12 conference as Oklahoma had a recruiting class ranked 15th in the country.

Coach Strong will not be judged too heavily by this recent recruiting class due to his untimely entrance to the program; however, you can expect him to fight to reclaim the state of Texas and move up the recruit rankings in the years to come. As he has said in his press conference on Wednesday, “We’re the University of Texas, and this is the state of Texas, when we walk in, the door will be open for us.”