New coach, no problem.
Texas enters national signing day with less than ideal circumstances. Not only did Charlie Strong replace legendary head coach Mack Brown with little time to make his pitch to uncommitted recruits, but the Longhorns are coming off an 8-5 season in which they finished outside the Top 25 for the third time in four years.
According to 247Sports' composite rankings, the Longhorns begin Wednesday's crucial day with the No. 15 class nationally and the top-ranked class in the Big 12.
With plenty of other targets remaining, Strong has an opportunity to make a major splash in his first season in Austin.
Let's take a look at the Longhorns' national signing day activity.
Note: All rankings and player information courtesy of 247Sports.
|Player||Position||Position Rank||Stars||National Rank|
|Blake Whiteley||TE||No. 2 (JuCo)||3||53 (JuCo)|
Derick Roberson, DE
The San Antonio native, who had offers from schools such as Alabama, LSU and Texas A&M, committed to Texas back in August—of 2012.
“I’ve always wanted to go to UT,” Roberson said, via ESPN.com's William Wilkerson. “They have always been my top option. I just like Texas. I have been looking at Texas ever since I was a little kid.”
And it doesn't sound like the hiring of Strong swayed that opinion at all, courtesy of The Orange Report's Big Mike:
2014 DE commit Derrick Roberson on Strong. "Texas is going to be raw next year" Sounds 100% committed to me. #TEXASSTRONG— Big Mike (@MBHORNSFAN) January 6, 2014
With Jackson Jeffcoat off to the NFL, and Cedric Reed entering his final season in Austin, Roberson stands as a legitimate future option to fill the future pass-rushing vacancy. With his blend of size and quickness, the Under Armour All-American could be a situational pass-rusher right away, with the potential to develop into a three-down defensive end down the road.
In Roberson, Strong has himself a talented, intelligent football player with the upside and versatility to eventually anchor the defensive line.
Jerrod Heard, QB
Heard comes in as the No. 2 dual-threat quarterback in America, and the 10th-ranked prospect out of the football hotbed that is the state of Texas.
Much like with most dual threat QB's coming out of high school, Heard is still a fairly raw prospect. 247Sports.com grades him as a mere five out of 10 in the "pocket presence" category and six out of 10 in "accuracy."
Still, his talent is undeniable.
In leading Guyer High School to the 2013 4A Division I Texas state title, Heard threw for 2,136 yards, 22 touchdowns and just seven interceptions. He also added a silly 2,161 rushing yards and 27 more scores.
Moreover, after he was chosen as one of the Elite 11 quarterbacks this summer, Trent Dilfer was surprised in the dual-threat QB's ability to throw the ball, per ESPN.com's Tom VanHaaren:
"I was concerned about Jerrod coming in. I didn't know how he would handle this and the pressure he would be [facing] throwing the ball as much as we ask guys to do. But he was the biggest surprise through the first two days."
Heard may not overtake David Ash and Tyrone Swoopes right away, and a redshirt is certainly an option, but Heard's talent suggests he will at least be in the QB mix.
Armanti Foreman, WR
A former Oklahoma commit, Armanti Foreman pledged to Texas in June 2013 along with his brother D'Onta Foreman, a 3-star running back.
Armanti, who is ranked as the 16th-best wide receiver in the nation, isn't the biggest or most physical wide receiver, but he's a fluid athlete with good hands, speed, yards-after-catch ability and the versatility to line up all over the field.
During his senior season, he tallied 390 rushing yards, 750 receiving yards and 13 total touchdowns, earning him the Offensive Player of the Year award from the Touchdown Club of Houston, per the Houston Chronicle's John McClain:
Congrats to Texas City's Armanti Foreman for being voted Offensive Player of the Year by the Touchdown Club of Houston.— John McClain (@McClain_on_NFL) December 13, 2013
The Longhorns have the ability to get creative with Foreman. Whether they line him up on the outside, in the slot or as a returner, the Semper Fi All-American has the potential to make a huge impact very soon.