Head coaching changes often hurt a program's recruiting efforts, and that is as true for Texas as anybody else, but the Longhorns still managed to bring in a decent class through the transition from Mack Brown to Charlie Strong. Texas has a group that ranks No. 12 nationally and first within the Big 12, according to the 247Sports Composite.
There are 22 players in the class, and that includes seven four-star prospects. More help could be on the way, with four-star defensive tackle Poona Ford among the players who could commit to Texas on Signing Day. He's a former Louisville commit who'd end up following Strong to Austin, if he picked the Horns.
Update, Feb. 5: The Longhorns did end up nabbing Ford.
As usual, the Longhorns drew heavily from their own state. But this time, they saw almost all of the top-10 in-state prospects commit elsewhere.
Of those 21, three are already in school, allowing them to go through spring drills and workouts with the team. Junior college tight end Blake Whiteley, a consensus three-star prospect, is the highest rated of the trio. Whiteley is considered the No. 2 JUCO tight end in the nation and the No. 58 overall JUCO prospect by the Composite. He also had offers from Arkansas, Purdue, Virginia and West Virginia.
Three-star inside linebacker Andrew Beck and three-star offensive guard Alex Anderson are the other two players enrolled. Beck is considered the No. 25 player at his position, while Anderson ranks 52nd at his.
Signing day highlights
The class' biggest names will be arriving in the fall. The highest-rated player set to sign with Texas is Derick Roberson, a four-star strongside defensive end from San Antonio. Roberson is a top-100 player as well as the fourth-best SDE. He picked the Longhorns over Alabama and Texas A&M. From SB Nation analyst Wescott Eberts' evaluation of Roberson in March:
As a pass rusher, Roberson has a few different moves and can get off the ball so quickly that opposing offensive linemen can sometimes struggle just to get a hand on him, at other times using a little hesitation move or shoulder dip to turn the corner and get to the quarterback. There's also evidence of a spin move and a club move that can keep offensive linemen from getting their hands into his body, as well as an outside-inside move that would make Von Miller proud.
The Horns are also adding Denton (Texas) Guyer High School quarterback Jerrod Heard. He is a four-star dual-threat QB, and maybe somewhere down the line, a definitive answer to some of UT's QB problems. He is rated as the second-best dual-threat QB in the 2014 class and 78th overall. Heard opted for Texas over Arizona State, LSU, Nebraska, Baylor and Ohio State. Eberts on Heard:
At 6'2.5, Heard doesn't have ideal size for the position, but his true dual-threat credentials help make up for any limitations imposed by his height. With speed that appears to be somewhere in the 4.5 range, Heard is highly dangerous in the zone read game, as well as scrambling to make plays with his feet. During his sophomore season, he ran for 650 yards and five touchdowns before ramping up his production to over 2,100 yards as a junior.
Four-star wide receiver Armanti Foreman might be one of the guys Heard counts on in the future. Foreman, another in-state product, is considered the 16th-best player at his position and the No. 111 overall prospect. He held offers from Florida, Baylor, Michigan State, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Texas A&M and South Carolina.
Foreman is part of a class that leans heavily on pass-catchers -- the Longhorns are adding five wide receivers and a tight end to the roster. The number of wide receivers coming to Austin in 2014 more than doubles the number at any other position.