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It may seem unfair to stack more pressure upon the shoulders of first-year Texas head coach Charlie Strong, but the former Louisville leader knows exactly what he signed up for in January. Expectations are always immense in Austin and Longhorns fans are itching to erase the brushes with mediocrity that defined Mack Brown's final years.
Texas is accustomed to getting who it wants, when it wants while recruiting within the state. That dynamic has certainly undergone significant changes in recent years, as programs at TCU, Texas Tech and Texas A&M continue to make strides on the national scene.
The Aggies' success should be particularly troubling to Strong. Texas A&M secured a top-five 2014 class and sits atop early 2015 rankings with nine total commitments.
Texas is ranked fifth nationally, but more than half of the team's commits pledged prior to Strong's hiring. It's time for him to flex his muscles on the recruiting trail, where he's landed just one 4-star prospect this year (Houston offensive tackle Toby Weathersby).
If the Longhorns aim to retain a grip on in-state dominance during this cycle, it must start immediately. Strong faces significant battles with neighboring rivals for 5-star Texas prospects Kendall Sheffield (cornerback), Damarkus Lodge (receiver) and Malik Jefferson (linebacker).
The university hopes to see a return on its new investment before Strong's first season kicks off. How he fares as a recruiter this summer will say plenty about the program's current status.