If Texas' Junior Day a Sign of Things to Come, Charlie Strong Will Be Just Fine

Ben Kercheval@@BenKerchevalCollege Football Lead WriterFebruary 24, 2014

AUSTIN, TX - JANUARY 6: The University of Texas Longhorns new head football coach Charlie Strong from Louisville flashes the 'Hook 'Em Horns' sign after being introduced during a press conference January 6, 2014 at Darrell K. Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium in Austin, Texas.  (Photo by Erich Schlegel/Getty Images)
Erich Schlegel/Getty Images

Even on national signing day earlier this month, Texas' new coaching staff knew it had to look ahead. 

“Next year, 2015, we’re coming and we’re coming to get everybody," Longhorns defensive coordinator Vance Bedford told the Longhorn Network

It's no surprise, then, that new head coach Charlie Strong and his staff have hit the recruiting ground running. Texas' junior day took place over the weekend, which was a much-needed opportunity for Strong to begin the relationship-building process with recruits. 

While there's rarely such a thing as a bad junior day, the Horns got a positive glimpse of what the future may hold for the program. 

Ronnie Major, a 3-star lineman from Huntsville, Texas, decommitted from Baylor and gave his verbal pledge to the Horns. Though verbal pledges are non-binding, Major's commitment gives Texas three offensive linemen in the '15 class. (The other two are 4-stars Patrick Vahe and Connor Lanfear.) 

On Saturday, Strong took to Twitter to celebrate the flip. 

The Texas coaching staff also extended a handful of offers on junior day, and appeared to gain ground with prospects like lineman Toby Weathersby and defensive back Kris Boyd. (A full recap of Texas' junior day can be found here, courtesy of Jeff Howe of 247Sports.) 

Decommitments happen all the time in recruiting. Still, one of Strong's biggest priorities is taking back control of the state of Texas. As the Longhorns have slipped into mediocrity on the field over the past few years, Baylor and Texas A&M have made up a ton of ground on the recruiting front. 

Getting Major to flip from the Bears is a small victory for Strong that won't mean anything until pen meets paper next signing day, but it's a win nonetheless. 

Another one of Strong's objectives is to beef up the trenches. No matter the style of offense, that's where games are won and lost. 

"I’m big into linemen," Strong told Brian Davis of the Austin American-Statesman. "I tell these guys all the time, 'I’ll find a little guy.' I want big guys. Big guys are hard to find. And big guys beat up little guys."

Texas hasn't had an offensive lineman drafted since 2008, so it's a position that could use an upgrade. Strong is making no secret about it. In fact, Strong is willing to commit to more offensive linemen on his roster while taking fewer players at other skill spots. 

Strong told the American-Statesman he's willing to commit 31 of his 85 scholarships to offensive and defensive linemen and possibly lighten up at running back and receiver.

There are currently 12 offensive linemen on scholarship; Strong wants 15 to 18. 

Texas signed just three offensive linemen in the 2014 class, and one, Elijah Rodriguez, was a late addition. It's clear Strong wants to make a better push along the O-line for next year's class. 

Strong, hired on Jan. 5, had just one month to try to salvage the 2014 class. All things considered, he did alright, but the Longhorns got beat out on several top, in-state prospects. However, Strong will be more accurately judged on his recruiting chops over the next year. 

If the Horns' junior day was any indication, Strong is already living up to those expectations. 


Ben Kercheval is the lead writer for Big 12 football. All quotes obtained firsthand unless noted otherwise. All recruiting information courtesy of 247Sports.


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