The University of Texas and Longhorn fans across the country should be surprisingly very optimistic about the future of UT football. Coach Charlie Strong’s career may have been saved with the best National Signing Day (NSD) for Texas in quite some time. The program welcomes 24 big time names finishing the recruiting process ranked 11th in the nation and first in the Big 12. Outlasting Baylor and TCU was something that Texas had to do in order to carry some momentum into the upcoming season. After finishing last year off 5-7, Coach Strong and the Horns are looking to bounce back. Championships are not won in February, but it is where they start.
The Texas football program was able to lock down nine recruits this week, seven of them on NSD. Here is a closer look at the top five future Longhorns.
1. Brandon Jones: From Nacogdoches, TX this #1 ranked safety will bring more than raw athleticism to UT next year. Listed at 5′ 11.5″ and 193lbs, Jones will not only add strength to the safety position but also play a leadership role for the defensive side of the ball. He was a 5-star recruit and was making his final decision between Texas, Texas A&M, and Baylor. Committing to Texas reveals that not only Charlie Strong but the Longhorn program as a whole is still able to compete with the likes of Art Briles and Kevin Sumlin.
2. Jeffery McCulloch: Played his high school career for Aldine Davis in Houston, TX. Also known as the “Shark”, McCulloch is a standout linebacker and will be joining Malik Jefferson next season. Towering at 6’3″, 230lbs, he will add yet another 4-star recruit to the Longhorn’s 2016 class. His speed, physicality, and intelligence about the game will only reap benefits for the Horns defense in the years to come.
3. Erick Fowler: Texas football will be adding an additional linebacker to the squad next season. Fowler is a humble player, yet his talent on the field would not suggest it. Ranked by 247Sports.com as the 7th overall LB, he will be another defensive threat for the Horns. Coach Strong’s reaction was a clear indicator of how big it was for the program to lock down another defensive star after flipping him from LSU.
4. Jordan Elliott: Out of Houston, TX Elliott was a 4-star recruit at the defensive tackle position. Listed at 6′ 3.5″ and 306lbs, Elliott will bring size to the DT position for the Horns. Since Coach Strong arrived two years ago, the Longhorn defense has been the cradle crutch for success on the field. The program is looking to bolster that side of the ball and locking down Elliott will continue the reshaping of Texas defense.
Kyle Porter: Why would you like to play for Coach Strong?https://t.co/aHFhn09vSP— Longhorn_FB (@Longhorn_FB) February 3, 2016
5. Kyle Porter: A running back out of Katy, TX committed on February 2nd. Porter will simply add more depth to a strong position for the Longhorns. Porter will join D’Onta Foreman and rising sophomore Chris Warren in the backfield as they look to improve upon their already stout run game. Coach Strong has a vision of where this program needs to go in the future and adding the 11th ranked half back to the program is nothing but beneficial. Porter made his decision between Texas, Oregon, TCU, and Arkansas, showing once again how the football program at UT is able to hang with some of the top schools in the nation.
The Horns welcomed many other incredible athletes to the Longhorn family on top of these five mentioned. No one can ignore Shane Buechele (QB), Zach Shackelford (OG/C), Collin Johnson (WR), Jean Delance (OT), Chris Daniels (DT), Andrew Fitzgerald (SDE), Chris Brown (S), D’Andre Christmas-Giles (DT) and Eric Cuffee (CB). All of these players will look to adopt a major role in the rebuilding of Texas football. Needless to say the Horns cleaned up, and I assure you NSD 2016 may have been a turning point in Charlie Strong’s coaching career at The University of Texas.
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Source: 247Sports.com, Rivals.com, LonghornNetwork, and ESPN. com; Photos courtesy of: Longhorn Network and Texas Football