Charlie Strong spoke with Campus Insiders at Big 12 Media Days to discuss the state of Texas football recruiting.
There isn’t much to brag about when you’re sporting an 11-14 record, but heading into his third season as the head coach at Texas, Charlie Strong is certainly thinking positively.
To be clear, there is no false hope. Many head coaches would be encouraged by the talent Strong has managed to bring in with his first three recruiting classes.
In 2014, with a minimal amount of time put in, Strong landed the No. 15 class in the country. A year later, the Longhorns cracked the top 10 and finished at No. 7 with 28 signees.
Then, in the 2016 cycle, Texas signed another 28 prospects to rank as the No. 3 recruiting class in the country.
When the Longhorns coach recently spoke with Campus Insiders at Big 12 Media Days, he didn’t hold back from talking up those three groups.
“You look at our last two recruiting classes, and you look at the first year, we ended up with that group … nine of them ended up being starters. We had three freshman All-Americans in Malik [Jefferson], [Patrick] Vahe and Connor Williams. And then, just signing 28 [in 2016], so you’re hoping with that 28, those guys are gonna come in, and they would be a great addition to our program,” Strong said.
Before he was leading Texas, long before he was even at Louisville, Strong was the defensive coordinator for the Florida Gators and developed a solid recruiting reputation in the Sunshine State.
Though he boasts years of experience in the nation’s two most talent-rich pipelines, Strong is confident he doesn’t need to look beyond the borders of the Lone Star State to improve his team.
“I coached at Florida for a number of years and was very successful in that state, but you know Texas has some really good players, and you look at our recruits this year — I didn’t go into Florida. So, most of our players are from the state of Texas. We have enough players within the state where we can build a program and be very successful,” he said.
Having said that, he never feels as though his work is done.
Texas hasn’t won a bowl game since 2012 and, thanks to the emergence of programs like Houston, TCU and Texas A&M, it’s not as easy as it once was for the Longhorns to clean up on the in-state talent. Still, though, Strong’s goal is to continue pitching the idea of Austin, Texas being the place to be for the state’s best.
“You’re always looking to improve your program, and Texas has the players, the state has the players,” Strong said. “Now, it’s all about you being able to sell those players and convince them that the University of Texas is the best place for ’em. It’ll always feel that way, and that’s what I tell ’em, I said, ‘We are the best place for you.’ That’s probably why we can recruit the way we do.”
However, as Campus Insiders learned, 4-star defensive end and Texas commit Lagaryonn Carson is confident in his future head coach’s ability to lead the program.
“Those who believe in Coach Strong and Longhorn football won’t regret it. We’re coming,” Carson said.