Texas Football Recruiting: 2 Things Charlie Strong Needs to Do on NSD

Jonathan Woo@woo_jonathanwooCorrespondent IFebruary 3, 2014

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

Recruiting is endless in college football.

The 2014 cycle comes to a close on Wednesday's national signing day, where the recruiting classes for football programs across the country finally come together as the athletes make everything official with their letters of intent.

Texas head coach Charlie Strong has had just about a month to step into his office, bring in his coaching staff and catch up on recruiting for a brand new school. And with Wednesday fast approaching, Strong is down to his final days to put his stamp on Texas' 2014 class.

The Longhorns have had several of their commitments flirt with the possibility of a switch. Some have already flipped their pledge, while others are still on the fence with the new coaching staff in place.

Regardless of the circumstances, there are two things Strong needs to accomplish this Wednesday: close and restart.

Closing the Deal

Over most of his 16-year tenure in Austin, Mack Brown was an ace recruiter, and he changed the game as far as early recruitment is concerned. Brown was as good a closer as anyone in the game.

The Longhorns currently sit at 21 commitments in their 2014 class, although a few have been reviewing their options.

Cooper (Abilene, Texas) wide receiver Lorenzo Joe was Texas' first pledge in its '14 class, and he gave TCU some serious consideration down the stretch. But Joe tweeted Sunday afternoon that he intends to sign with Texas.

Can't wait to sign to The University of Texas on Wednesday! #HOOKEM #SelfieSunday http://t.co/yzwX293gnT

— Lorenzo Joe (@LoJoe12) February 2, 2014

Lamar (Houston, Texas) defensive back John Bonney was another Texas commit who was looking at other options as well. Auburn and Baylor became late players, but Texas should win out for Bonney's signature.

Among the uncommitted prospects, Hilton Head (Hilton Head Island, S.C.) defensive tackle Poona Ford was recruited by Strong while at Louisville and was a one-time commit to the Cardinals. Now with Strong at Texas, Ford's interest has shifted to the Longhorns as well, but South Carolina will be a player.

Texas' staff has a little more Southeastern flavor than ever before, and the result could be a close on Victorian Christian Acadamy (Lakeland, Fla.) defensive tackle Chris Nelson, who was also committed to the Cardinals when Strong was still in Louisville. Nelson quickly picked up a Texas offer once Strong arrived in Austin.

Cypress-Creek (Houston, Texas) offensive tackle Elijah Rodriguez has been committed to Colorado since August 2013. But Texas has jumped into his recruitment late and has really given the 6'6", 285-pound tackle something to think about in the final days of the recruiting period.

If Strong can close the deal, he will have successfully held the class together with its core intact, all the while adding his own late pickups at need positions.

Recharge for 2015

The 2014 recruiting period comes to a close on Wednesday, but that only means Strong and his staff will shift their focus to the 2015 class, a haul that may likely depend on Texas' season.

Texas already has seven pledges in its next class, but it is far from completion as Texas prepares to host its Junior Days this month.

Standouts like Plano West (Plano, Texas) running back Soso Jamabo and Cedar Hill (Cedar Hill, Texas) wide receiver DaMarkus Lodge are a couple of the best playmakers in the Lone Star State's Class of 2015, and Texas will be among several programs vying for a commitment.

Strong will likely reach outside of the state and into other recruiting hotbeds in Florida and Georgia, regions where he and his assistants have had prior success.

Strong has surrounded himself with a number of very good recruiters as assistant coaches, and those reputations will be on display as the staff can really dig in and begin the evaluation process.

The Bottom Line

Coach Strong will build the Texas program around hard work and toughness, characteristics that he looks to apply in his recruiting efforts.

The 2014 haul will be done soon enough, but in no time Strong and his staff will begin hammering down on a laundry list of targets for Texas' next recruiting haul.

Recruiting is endless.


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