Junior Day for the Texas Longhorns has come and gone. More than two dozen recruits graced the Texas campus on March 2 to get a look at the facilities, meet the coaches and do a little sight-seeing around Austin. Numerous athletes on the Rivals250 prospect ranking list attended. John Burt (No. 55), Darrion Daniels (No. 88), Kris Boyd (No. 104) and Conner Dyer (No. 136) are just a few of the players who spent the day on the Forty Acres.
The significance of this day cannot be understated. 2015 will be Charlie Strong’s first class he recruits at Texas. He will have the luxury of following these kids throughout the 2014 high school football season. Junior Day was the first chance players had to see what Strong is about.
What fans saw was his recruiting strategy – bring in lots of talent from the Lone Star state, hand-pick a few out-of-state kids and then weed through that talent looking for the pieces that fit.
Most of the recruits met the staff for the first time. It was the perfect opportunity for the coaches to sell the program and the university. It makes it much easier to get into a recruit’s home later on down the road when a relationship has been established.
Fans also learned Texas is not afraid to look outside the state. The Longhorns hosted recruits from Florida, Georgia, Louisiana and California. This falls in line with Strong’s strategy at Louisville, where he frequently raided the Deep South for talent. What message does this send? Strong will recruit you no matter where you live. This is something Mack Brown rarely did.
Strong also knows what kind of player he wants on campus. Signing four- and five-star athletes is wonderful, but not if they do not buy into the program. Strong is looking for players who will work hard and value team success over individual accolades. Junior day gives the coaches a chance to evaluate a kid’s personality, leadership qualities and if/how he fits into the program. In Strong’s eyes, a three-star prospect with a chip on his shoulder is better than a five-star player who feels entitled.
Out of 36 attendees, Texas made offers to 13. Texas fans may have been disappointed that so few kids were given offers. Rest assured, many of those players will go home vowing to work hard to get that offer. The leg work that was done on Junior Day will pay dividends down the road.