BEVO BEAT

Strong must hit the recruiting trail running

Posted January 7th, 2014

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You’ll have to excuse some of Texas’ incoming football players if they didn’t jump for joy when word broke that Charlie Strong would be their new head coach.

It’s not that they dislike the 53-year-old defensive-minded coach. They just haven’t been watching Louisville football for the last four years.

“I had never heard of him,” Keller defensive end Sione Teuhema said Saturday after news broke Texas would make Strong its 29th head football coach.

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Others were a bit more aware of Strong’s resume, if still not entirely sure what they were going to get from a coach they’ve never met.

“I know he wins games,” Denton Guyer quarterback Jerrod Heard said. “I know he beat Florida (in the 2013 Sugar Bowl), and that means a lot.”

“I heard about him at Louisville,” Jasper offensive lineman Terrell Cuney added. “I think he’ll come (to Texas) and do pretty good.”

Strong’s introduction came almost a month to the day before national signing day. He has until Feb. 5 to convince the 22 verbal pledges Mack Brown acquired to stay with Texas. He’ll also have room to add a few players to a class ranked 12th nationally by 247Sports.

Tuesday morning, reports surfaced that Strong had made contact Monday evening with the No. 1 recruit in Texas, Beaumont Ozen defensive back Tony Brown, who committed to Alabama last week. Though Brown elected to stay with the Crimson Tide – he’s enrolling for spring semester this week – it shows Strong is serious about finishing out the 2014 recruiting cycle strong.

The early move on Brown only furthers Strong’s sentiment of “closing the border,” and keeping the blue chip Texans in the Lone Star State.

“We will recruit with fire, and we will recruit with passion,” Strong said on Monday.

Priority No. 1 for Strong is to make sure the 22 verbal commitments are players that want to be a part of his Longhorn program, not Mack Brown’s – the only one these 17- and 18-year-olds have ever known.

Heard has already said he remains committed to Texas and will sign with the Longhorns next month. The majority of the other pledges will follow, because Texas is a bigger name than any coach. The next 29 days, however, will be the first real test for Strong as he takes the baton from Mack Brown and starts to build the foundation for his tenure at UT.

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