2015 Prospects Charlie Strong Must Land in 1st Full Recruiting Year at Texas

Edwin WeathersbyAnalyst IMarch 18, 2014

2015 Prospects Charlie Strong Must Land in 1st Full Recruiting Year at Texas

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    Eric Gay/Associated Press

    Charlie Strong signed a solid recruiting class in February, but most of the group was made up of recruits brought in by former Texas head coach Mack Brown and his staff.

    The 2015 class will be Strong's first "true" recruiting class, as he's now in his first full recruiting year at Texas. A head coach's first full recruiting year is crucial, as it sets up his recruiting blueprint for future classes.

    However, the pressure of being the head coach at Texas only makes Strong's first full recruiting year that much more important. He needs a great class, which will have to include an elite cornerback, a speedy receiver and a tough outside linebacker.

    All recruiting ratings and rankings are from 247Sports.
    Player evaluations are based on review of tape at Scout.comRivals and 247Sports.

Toby Weathersby, OL

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    Credit: 247Sports

    Strong is going to have to make sure his offensive line is stocked with good talent, and there may not be a better blocker in Texas than Toby Weathersby.

    At 6'4.5" and 290 pounds, Weathersby has the potential to be a terrific college offensive lineman. He has good size, plays with impressive strength and has great athleticism. 

    The 4-star Houston native has Texas, Oklahoma, Baylor and Texas A&M as his core group, according to 247Sports.

J.W. Ketchum III, ATH

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    Another player who certainly qualifies as a must-get for Strong is 4-star athlete J.W. Ketchum III.

    The key for Texas' evaluation of Ketchum will be to not look at him as a quarterback, but as an athlete. Ketchum is 5'11.5" and 201 pounds, and his passing skills and mechanics are quite raw.

    Yet, what he does possess is excellent speed, agility and instincts as a runner with the ball. Texas leads Baylor and Texas A&M, says 247Sports.

Anthony Wheeler, OLB/DE

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    Credit: 247Sports

    Versatility is a key trait for any recruit, and Anthony Wheeler has it. The 4-star defender can play as an outside linebacker or defensive end.

    Wheeler, who is 6'2" and 225 pounds, has outstanding strength and toughness at the point of attack. He can set the edge and shed versus running plays, plus he can convert speed to power when rushing the passer.

    Texas is standing out more than Baylor, Oklahoma and Texas A&M, according to 247Sports. Signing Wheeler would be a smart move by Strong.

    Gabe Brooks of Scout.com said on Feb. 26, "Wheeler's offer list has reached double digits and includes programs in the SEC, Big 12, Big Ten, and AAC." 

James Lockhart, DE

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    James Lockhart is a 4-star defensive end whose main attribute is his ability to stop the run. He would definitely help the Longhorns' defense.

    The 6'3", 245-pounder is a beast at the point of attack, where he uses his strength and power to beat up blockers. Lockhart can't be single-blocked by a tight end, and he gives offensive tackles all they can handle.

    He also commands help from a running back on passing plays, as his ability to fight to pressure passers is impressive. 

    Texas has some ground to make up, as 247Sports shows Ohio State and Baylor as Lockhart's top schools.

Kris Boyd, CB

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    Credit: 247Sports

    The Big 12 has become known for many of its schools running the spread offense. That means opposing defenses in the conference spend a lot of time in nickel and dime packages, which means they have to have several good cornerbacks.

    That's part of the reason why 4-star cornerback Kris Boyd is in high demand. He's a tall cornerback at 6'1" and 175 pounds, plus he has good athleticism.

    With his length, solid speed and ability to also play well in zone coverage, Texas would be wise to stay on Boyd's case until the end. Texas A&M is also thick in the mix, per 247Sports.

Ryan Newsome, WR

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    Adding as much offensive firepower as possible is an objective of every program, including Texas.

    The Longhorns have their eyes set on 4-star receiver Ryan Newsome, who has excellent speed. Newsome isn't big at only 5'9" and 173 pounds, but he releases quickly off the line. He can skate away from defenders at junctions when running routes, plus he's dangerous after the catch.

    Newsome would be a terror in the slot in Austin. Texas is the favorite, says 247Sports.

Kendall Sheffield, CB

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    The most important recruit on Strong's recruiting board has to be 5-star cornerback Kendall Sheffield. Strong is a defensive-minded coach, so he knows what an elite cornerback can do for a defense.

    The 5'11", 180-pound Sheffield is comfortable being left on an island. He has the transition quickness and hip flexibility to jump routes in off-man coverage, plus he's smart in zone schemes.

    Sheffield doesn't have the strength to bully receivers in press-man coverage, but his ability to mirror and shuffle help him hold his own when initially tight to the line of scrimmage.

    The Texas native must be a huge priority for Strong.

    Edwin Weathersby is the College Football Recruiting Analyst for Bleacher Report. He has worked in scouting/player personnel departments for three professional football teams, including the New York Giants and Cleveland Browns