Texas Football: Coach Strong's Biggest National Signing Day Battles

Jonathan WooCorrespondent IJanuary 28, 2014

Charlie Strong smiles during a news conference where he is introduced as the new Texas football coach, Monday,  Jan. 6, 2014, in Austin, Texas. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)
Eric Gay/Associated Press

As the countdown until National Signing Day dips below one week, college coaches are down to their final visits and conversations to conclude the 2014 recruiting cycle.

Texas head coach Charlie Strong has been a busy body behind the scenes, trying to piece together a class that will have flavors both from his camp and Mack Brown's philosophies.

The Longhorns have already had a number of prospects decommit, the latest being Houston (TX) Cypress Falls linebacker Otaro Alaka. While Strong continues to defend against possible recruiting flips, he does have Texas in a position to land a few more names before next Wednesday's deadline.

Strong is locked into a few critical recruiting battles down the stretch, and they all come at positions of need for the Longhorns moving forward.


Still on the Table

Hilton Head Island (S.C.) defensive tackle, and one-time Louisville commit, Poona Ford was recruited by Strong during his time with the Cardinals, and Ford's interest has followed the coach to Texas.

The Longhorns failed to sign a defensive tackle in 2013 and are still without a pledge in their 2014 class.

Ford appears to have a good relationship with Coach Strong, but will it be enough to grab the 6', 285-pound Ford away from the Gamecocks?


Tug of War

Richmond (TX) Travis cornerback and current Texas A&M commit Nick Harvey has been pledged to the Aggies since November 2012.

But after asserting that he would not take a visit to Texas, Harvey wound up tripping down to Austin for a final, secret look-see, according to SB Nation's Wescott Eberts.

Although Harvey claims that he has re-affirmed his commitment to the Aggies, this one smells like it will not be over until his signature hits the dotted line.

By that same token, Armanti Foreman (and for that matter D'Onta Foreman) had an official visit scheduled for Missouri this past weekend, but weather forced the trip to be postponed.

Will it still happen? Who knows, but Texas is definitely locked into a battle with the Tigers for the talented wide receiver, a tussle that will probably go down to the wire as well.


Hill Will Not Visit Texas

Schertz (TX) Clemens linebacker Kolin Hill had flirted with the idea of an official visit to Texas, but the Notre Dame commitment tweeted Tuesday that he is destined for the Irish.

100% committed to Notre Dame for those people worried, will not be taking any visits anywhere. My decision is final. #GoIrish 🍀🍀🍀

— Kolin Hill (@KoLiNHill45) January 28, 2014

With Alaka's decommitment, Hill easily could have slipped into Strong's plans at Texas. If that changes come signing day, it figures to be a surprise for everyone watching.


The Bottom Line

The Longhorns took some big hits late with decommitments from Alaka, WR Emmanuel Porter, DTs Trey Lealaimatafao, Zaycoven Henderson and Courtney Garnett, and there could be more looking to flip.

Even though Coach Strong does have a couple of wins in his book, his real touch will start with the 2015 class.