Thirty-two players in the Longhorns’ 2016 recruiting class took an official visit to Texas. At the end of National Signing Day, head coach Charlie Strong landed 24 of them.
“It was a great day today,” Strong said. “A great finish, and our coaching staff, players included, did an unbelievable job.”
Unlike past years, Strong didn’t want recruits to commit to the University right away, so other schools wouldn’t make a push to flip them.
While college football analysts across the nation doubted Strong’s recruiting tactics, Strong said the haul of recruits was worth the wait.
“Just looking at the national exposure, the way it took off, everybody kept saying, ‘What’s happening in Austin?’” Strong said. “It became big-time news just because it was falling for us today. But we needed that, and we’ve just got to continue to build on it.”
Strong used that motivation to build Texas’ needs on defense.
The Longhorns brought in four defensive tackles — four-stars Jordan Elliott, Chris Daniels and D’Andre Christmas-Giles, as well as three-star Marcel Southall. Texas bolstered its secondary with commitments from safeties Brandon Jones and Chris Brown, a four-star and three-star, respectively. Strong also landed two commitments from four-star outside linebackers Jeffery McCulloch and Erick Fowler.
Texas’ recruiting cycle finished with the 11th-best class in the country after being ranked outside the top-30 on Tuesday night, according to the 247Sports composite class rankings.
Strong says the incredible finish wasn’t his own doing. The involvement of the players on the current roster was what truly fueled the recruiting process.
“The best salesmen was our players,” Strong said. “We had workouts this morning, and when I called them all up, they were all saying, ‘Hey, coach, big day today. Are we going to get it done?’ I said, “You guys know more than I know, so you should know more about it.’”
Current Texas players Malik Jefferson, Charles Omenihu, P.J. Locke and DeShon Elliott all played an active role in the process, talking with recruits through Twitter and Periscope.
“It’s very exciting,” Jefferson said on Longhorn Network’s Recruiting Day Special. “We want to see kids come here, want to lift this program and be excited.”
While Texas is enthusiastic about the direction the football program is going, Strong said the team has have a lot to work on before they play Notre Dame on Sept. 3 to open the 2016 season.
“We know we have to win some football games,” Strong said. “We just have to continue to work and continue to build and continue to put [the players] in the right place.”