Texas Football Recruiting: Looking Ahead to 2015 Class

Jonathan Woo@woo_jonathanwooCorrespondent IFebruary 10, 2014

New Texas football coach Charlie Strong talks about his recruiting class during a news conference, Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2014, in Austin, Texas. Strong only had a month to scramble to keep the Longhorns recruiting class together. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)
Eric Gay/Associated Press

National signing day for the 2014 class has come and gone, but that only means the 2015 cycle has just begun.

Texas Longhorns head coach Charlie Strong had just about one month to finalize the 'Horns recruiting class after accepting his position in Austin, and although many will want to jump to conclusions about Strong's ability as a recruiter, his work in the next 12 months will be the much better indicator of what he can really do.

Twenty-three was the number for Texas' 2014 class, and the Longhorns currently stand at six commitments for 2015.

Strong was able to close out his 2014 haul with six commitments late in the process, momentum he will want to bring over into the next cycle. So while last year's haul has flavors from both Mack Brown and Strong, the 2015 group will have Strong's fingerprints all over it.

So what's the outlook?

Identifying Needs

Texas looks to graduate 23 seniors by year's end. Linebacker Jordan Hicks and quarterback David Ash, both juniors in 2013, should qualify for medical redshirts.

Here is the breakdown of scholarship seniors by position: RB (3), WR (3), TE (2), OL (2), DL (2), LB (4), DB (5), ST (2).

Texas will have needs to fill at virtually every position, and we will get to see Strong's recruiting prowess on display in a recruiting goldmine.

With two weeks leading up to Texas' first Junior Day, Strong has limited time to dive into the film room and begin the evaluation process.

Current Commits

Texas recently lost commitments from offensive lineman Aaron Garza and wide receiver Keke Coutee, putting the 'Horns at six pledges.

The six: OL Patrick Vahe, OL Connor Lanfear, DT Bryce English, DB Johnny Shaw, DB Jalen Campbell and RB Jordan Stevenson.

All of the above players made their pledge while Brown was still in office, but will inevitably fall under Strong's microscope.

At the end of the day, Strong could wind up bringing in around 25 new players for his 2015 class.

Early Targets in Texas

Keller (Texas) offensive tackle Maea Teuhema was a one-time Texas commit, but flipped his pledge to LSU alongside his brother Sione Teuhema, a linebacker and 2014 recruit who was also committed to Texas before swapping to the Tigers.

Teuhema is ranked as the No. 13 overall prospect in the 2015 class, according to 247Sports.

Missouri City (Texas) Fort Bend Marshall cornerback Kendall Sheffield is the top player in the Lone Star State, per 247Sports, and is a huge early target for Strong's staff. Sheffield has legit 4.3, 4.4 speed, something he uses to compensate for the lack of physical play.

Mesquite (Texas) Poteet linebacker Malik Jefferson is the kind of physical athlete who can star in Strong's defensive schemes. And after failing to hold on to Otaro Alaka or flip Kolin Hill in 2014, the Longhorns need to fill up with linebacker talent.

Two of the top quarterbacks in the state of Texas in 2015 are Stephenville's Jarrett Stidham and Allen's Kyler Murray, both of the dual-threat variety.

Strong, in a national signing day press conference, said he would like to have at least four quarterbacks on scholarship, and Murray and Stidham deserve to be atop the list of qualifiers for a look in 2015.

The Bottom Line

About 51 weeks and counting until the Longhorns close on their 2015 class, meaning Strong has plenty of time to go through Juniors Days, the evaluation process, a hopefully successful season followed by an even more successful signing day.

The work, however, begins now.


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