National Signing Day: 23 Recruits Join the Longhorns

It might be an ordinary day for most, but for diehard college football fans, National Signing Day is worthy of its own holiday. High-school recruits turn their verbal commitments into signed letters of intent, and while the process can be somewhat predictable, there are always a few surprises. Not to mention many Longhorns were holding their breath to see who recently appointed head coach Charlie Strong would bring in for the team.

“It’s been an intense couple of weeks,” Strong said in a press conference Wednesday. True to his earlier statements, the new group is heavy with homegrown Texas talent.

Despite the head coach’s late start to recruiting, Strong is confident in the strength of the 23 recruits Texas pulled in today, the first day that high school seniors can sign binding letters of intent with NCAA colleges. After Mack Brown’s departure in December, Strong said that the goal was to essentially re-recruit players and focus on building relationships with them.

The Horns suffered from six decommitments—players who reneged on prior verbal commitments—leaving a sizable gap in defense. But with the addition of six new players, including four-star defensive tackle Poona Ford, Strong did not seem concerned. He also emphasized his desire to develop athletes with speed, size, and character. A key player in this effort was Ford, one of the biggest names Strong snagged today.

Ford’s high school coach, B.J. Payne, told that Ford chose Texas because of the rapport he and his family built with Strong: “They just connected on a different level,” Payne said. “There’s a trust factor.” Ford had originally committed to Strong while the coach was at Louisville. Defensive tackle Chris Nelson’s commitment also shored up the Texas defense.

Offensive standouts were led by quarterback Jerrod Heard. Strong called the Army All-American and four-star commit a “quality person.”

The next step for Strong and the coaching staff is to focus on relationship-building and getting to know (and develop) the players.

For in-depth bios of the 2014 class, click here.

Photo courtesy UT Athletics.


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