Three things Texas must do to ensure a successful 2014 recruiting class


San Antonio Brennan High School defensive end Derick Roberson.
San Antonio Brennan High School defensive end Derick Roberson.

The 2013 class is in the books and all attention is now on next year’s batch of talent. Eight verbal commitments are already in for the class of 2014, but the heavy lifting is just underway. Here are the three goals Texas needs to achieve the most to make sure that heavy lifting pays off:

1. Address the defensive line

The Longhorns have needs across the board, but none of them compare to the holes they have in the defensive front after failing to sign a single defensive lineman in the 2013 class. Four-star defensive end Derrick Roberson of San Antonio Brennan (above) has already given his verbal commitment. Other key names to keep an eye on include defensive end Solomon Thomas from Coppell and Nederland defensive tackle DeShawn Washington.

2. Play the long game

Gone are the days of wrapping up your recruiting class and your junior days simultaneously. Texas needs to fight harder for recruits who don’t immediately commit, as well as hold back a few scholarships for possible late bloomers. A slow-and-steady approach allows you to better evaluate potential recruits and decreases the chances of decommitments, which was a major problem this past season. The little amount of action coming out of the two recent junior days indicates that Mack and company are finally getting away from handing out nearly all of their scholarships a year in advance.

3. Increase out-of-state presence

Heavy encroachment by the SEC means it will be a lot tougher for the Longhorns to rely solely on the state of Texas for its recruits. The needed depth may not be available anymore, so Texas needs to expand its footprint. It’d be a major departure for the Longhorns, 90 percent of whose recruits last year were Texas natives. But right now, they are in serious danger of having a shrinking sphere of influence and this is the best way to combat that.