Breaking Down Texas' Chances at Landing Its Top 5 National Signing Day Targets

Jonathan Woo@woo_jonathanwooCorrespondent IJanuary 19, 2014

Charlie Strong answers questions during an NCAA college football news conference where he was introduced as the new Texas football coach, Monday, Jan. 6, 2014, in Austin, Texas. Strong acknowledged the historical significance of being the school's first African-American head coach of a men's sport. He takes over for Mack Brown, who stepped down last month after 16 seasons. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)
Eric Gay/Associated Press

National signing day is just over two weeks away as college football coaches around the nation are putting in their final hurrahs to put the finishing touches on their respective 2014 recruiting classes.

Texas head coach Charlie Strong has been quite active since the recruiting dead period ended, and after completing his coaching staff just a few days ago, Strong and his crew are looking to close on a number of prospects.

The Longhorns just recently received a verbal commitment from 4-star safety Edwin Freeman, a pledge that could set the ball rolling on a number of recruits.

Freeman's recruitment had always looked good for Texas, but what about the rest of the 'Horns' targets?

Breaking Down Texas' Next 5 Targets

A number of new names have hit the recruiting board for the Longhorns, and perhaps the new staff and its direction will help land those late-game prospects.

David W. Carter High School (Dallas, Texas) running back Corey Avery visited Austin this past weekend to take in the Texas program, and the 5'10", 180-pound athlete is still scheduled to see Nebraska and Kansas before making his decision on his college future.

Texas tight ends coach—and former Carter head coach—Bruce Chambers is leading the recruitment for Avery, meaning the Longhorns are in good hands with the 17-year Texas assistant.

Offensive lineman Alex Anderson visited Texas in the middle of last week, the trip coming days before his final visit to Arizona State. With the Longhorns holding just one commitment along the offensive line, the need for more bodies is an obvious one. But can Texas lure him to Austin?

As long as offensive coordinator and offensive line coach Joe Wickline continues to push the right buttons, the 'Horns have to like their chances with the 6'3", 300-pound prospect out of New Orleans, La.

Staying in the trenches on the offensive side, former Texas commit and current Ohio State pledge Demetrius Knox may very well re-enter the fold in Austin now that Strong (and Wickline) is in office.

In truth, it could be very difficult to re-snag Knox, but if Texas has any chance of landing the 6'4", 294-pound guard, Wickline will be the guy to do it.

Texas saw a number of its defensive tackle pledges de-commit, opening up their recruitments leading up to national signing day.

Hilton Head Island (S.C.) defensive tackle Poona Ford was recruited by Strong while he was at Louisville, and now, the 6'0", 285-pounder may look to follow the new Texas coach to Austin. Ford originally committed to Louisville on Aug. 6, 2013, but since de-committing on Jan. 10, Ford has lined up visits to Oregon and Missouri, following his trip to Texas this past weekend.

Ford committed to Strong's philosophies once, and given Texas' huge need along the interior defensive line, the Longhorns should look pretty enticing for the No. 22-ranked defensive tackle in the country.

One of the top uncommitted prospects in the state of Texas is Coppell (Texas) defensive end Solomon Thomas, and he is a must-get for Coach Strong and the Longhorns.

Texas saw another of its marquee defensive ends play out his career in Austin, as Jackson Jeffcoat now joins Brian Orakpo and Alex Okafor as the most recent of successful ends in burnt orange.

Thomas had been widely considered a Stanford lean, but with its defensive coordinator, Derek Mason, going on to become the head coach at Vanderbilt, one can only wonder how that could impact Thomas' courtship.

Gone to Texas

The Longhorns would do well to land all five of the above prospects, and they could use the added depth at the respective positions.

But as far as putting a number on their possible commitments, that is a very fluid and unpredictable task. Nevertheless, let's entertain you on a scale of 1-10, where 10 is a lock for a pledge.

  • RB/ATH Corey Avery: 7/10
  • OL Alex Anderson: 6/10
  • OL Demetrius Knox: 4/10
  • DT Poona Ford: 7/10
  • DE Solomon Thomas: 6/10

Disclaimer: I have no inside information as to what these recruits are thinking, as this is speculation. All rankings provided by 247Sports.


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