Strong hopes for impact from freshmen, tight quarterback battle

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Texas head coach Charlie Strong shouts instructions in a Sept. 26 game against Oklahoma State. At a press conference Wednesday, Strong discussed preparations for the 2016 season.

Photo Credit: Joshua Guerra | Daily Texan Staff

Head coach Charlie Strong held a press conference Wednesday to discuss the offseason and preparations for next season. Here are the top takeaways from Strong’s availability.

Texas adds top receiver to 2016 class

It’s been four months since National Signing Day, but the Longhorns aren’t done adding to their freshman class.

Four-star wide receiver Devin Duvernay committed to Texas on Wednesday after he was released from his letter of intent with Baylor following the program’s coaching change. Baylor fired head coach Art Briles in May in response to his staff’s handling of several sexual assault allegations against the school’s football players.

Strong can’t name Duvernay until the paperwork is done, but said his staff works on recruiting around the clock.

“Recruiting is 24/7, 365-days,” Strong said. “You just don’t ever stop; You just got to go, go, go. That’s the good thing about it. You get the chance to talk about your program, and if we can add student athletes, that’s what we’re going to do.”

Duvernay brings another punch to an already strong 2016 class — the group finished No. 11 in 247sports’ composite rankings in February. He ranks as the No. 4 receiver in the 2016 class, according to 247sports.

Strong said he thinks the freshman class will make a significant impact this season. While he preached excitement for his new weapons on offense, he’s most excited about his young additions to the defensive line. The team added added several 300-pound linemen to clog running lanes upfront.

“Our biggest needs we were able to address was our defensive line,” Strong said. “We have [eight] freshmen defensive linemen that we’ll have a chance to work with.”

Quarterback battle still hazy

Strong said the quarterback competition is still tight heading into August’s training camp.

Freshman Shane Buechele stole the show at the 2016 Orange-White game in April, throwing for 299 yards and two touchdowns. But Strong emphasized that senior Tyrone Swoopes and redshirt sophomore Jerrod Heard are still pushing for the job despite Buechele’s strong spring showing.

“They know who Shane is and how hard he works and what he brings to the team,” Strong said. “But all three of those guys are doing a great job. It’s hard to say there’s just one guy who’s stepped forward [as a leader].”

Strong has particularly high expectations for Swoopes in his final season. The senior has struggled over his last two seasons, throwing for just 244 yards in two starts in 2015. But Strong feels Swoopes will use his experience to become a complete player this season.

“When a guy goes into his senior year, you’re going to expect more from him,” Strong said.

Strong said he hopes to make a decision on a starting quarterback as early as possible.