Charlie Strong

Defensive tackle Malcom Brown is the highlight of Texas’ NFL draft prospects. He might hear his name called in the first round Thursday night, and four other Longhorns could be taken.
Photo Credit: Jenna VonHofe | Daily Texan Staff

After seven rounds and 256 selections in the 2014 NFL draft, Texas had no names on the selection board.

But by the time Mr. Irrelevant — the name given to the last player drafted — was picked in the 2015 NFL draft, Texas had made its presence felt.

Five Longhorns, the most since 2010, were selected in this year’s draft, which was hosted in Chicago over the weekend. The Longhorns first got on the board Friday, when the New England Patriots drafted defensive end Malcom Brown No. 32 overall, and the team’s involvement ended when the Dallas Cowboys selecting tight end Geoff Swaim with the 29th pick of the seventh round.

“It was just a relief — the past four or five hours have been pretty intense,” said Swaim, who will be joining former Texas teammates Donald Hawkins and Chris Whaley, in a statement. “It’ll be cool to play with the guys that I’ve known and have a relationship with.”

Defensive backs Mykkele Thompson and Quandre Diggs were taken in the fifth and sixth rounds, respectively, of the NFL draft. The New York Giants selected Thompson with the eighth pick in the fifth round, while the Detroit Lions picked Diggs with the 24th pick of the sixth round.

“It’s great,” Diggs said of being drafted on the same day as Thompson, who is one of his closest friends. “Mykkele’s my brother; that’s my best friend. He’s one of the people who definitely pushed me.”

Another person who pushed Diggs was head coach Charlie Strong, whom Diggs developed a close relationship with in Strong’s inaugural season at Texas.

“He can cover and may not have top-end speed, but he makes up for it with his intelligence,” Strong said. “He plays within himself, studies receivers, studies splits [and] studies everything the offense does.”

The Philadelphia Eagles selected linebacker Jordan Hicks with the 20th pick in the third round.

“I’ve been talking to [Philadelphia] for a while, actually,” Hicks said in a statement. “I went on a pre-draft visit there and had a great time, felt really comfortable and enjoyed meeting with all the coaches and getting a feel for the place.”

Four other Longhorns found teams in the NFL after the draft ended. Once the draft is over, players have the chance to sign with teams as rookie free agents.

Wide receiver John Harris will be joining Hicks after signing a free agent deal with the Eagles, while long snapper Nate Boyer signed as a free agent with the Seattle Seahawks. The St. Louis Rams picked up running back Malcolm Brown, and defensive end Cedric Reed signed with the Buffalo Bills. 

“It was great,” Boyer said. “[Seahawks] coach [Pete] Carroll called me, actually. He called and said, ‘I want to invite you out to training camp,’ and he actually said, ‘I hope you accept my invitation.’ Obviously, ‘yes’ was the answer to that.”

Before playing at Texas, Boyer was a member of the Green Berets. He joined the team in 2012 with no prior football experience.

“The thing about Nate is he’s such a hard worker,” Strong said. “Any time someone represents your country, when you talk about courage, you talk about honor, that’s what it’s all about. I love him so much.”

By the end of the weekend, the Longhorns had nine players headed to the NFL — a distinct turnaround from last year.

Texas sophomore running back D’Onta Foreman runs past the Longhorns defense at the annual Orange-White scrimmage.
Photo Credit: Amy Zhang | Daily Texan Staff

With spring practice over, here's the takeaway from the Longhorns this spring:

1. The offensive line showed needed improvement.

Texas’ offensive line was nightmarish in last year’s 6–7 campaign, and head coach Charlie Strong knows the unit needs to improve. The line was consistently overpowered by opposing defensive lines and suffered from injuries, dismissals and a major lack of experience.

With spring practices in the books, Strong has seen improvement. The unit looked comfortable and performed well during practices and the Orange-White scrimmage.

“They’ve gotten a lot better with communicating with each other,” Strong said. “I think it’ll be a great season for us.”

2. The quarterback battle is tighter than ever.

Heading into the spring, junior quarterback Tyrone Swoopes had the advantage, having started 12 games last season. He got the majority of first team reps this spring, and Strong praised his growth both on and off the field.

However, redshirt freshman Jerrod Heard, a highly touted state championship-winning quarterback from Denten also impressed Strong, making accurate throws and torching defenses with his feet. Strong has said that Swoopes is still the favorite, but he emphasized that Heard has closed the gap. With several months between now and the season opener, both quarterbacks will have the chance to separate themselves and win the job.

3. Freshman linebacker Malik Jefferson is the real deal.

Jefferson was Texas’ top recruit in its 2015 recruiting class, and he did not disappoint as an early enrollee. Jefferson showed his athleticism and feel for the game in practices, showing a knack for playmaking.

In the spring game, Jefferson forced a fumble, broke up a pass and picked up five tackles, including one tackle for loss.

“He’s very athletic and very instinctive,” Strong said. “He can read plays, and he made a ton of plays on Saturday.”

4. Texas needs freshmen to step up on the outside.

Strong’s first recruiting class was a success, and the Longhorns will need their freshmen to step up.

The Longhorns need outside playmakers on both sides of the ball, and Strong has emphasized throughout spring that freshmen will have a chance to come in and compete at these positions. If the incoming freshmen can contribute and push their fellow teammates, it will go a long way in improving two weak positions.

The defense battled through a number of injuries Saturday. However, players still feel that they’re in a good place.
Photo Credit: Griffin Smith | Daily Texan Staff

With a battered offense, Texas’ bright spot in 2014 was its defense — and if Saturday’s Orange-White game is any indication, the defense can still hold its own. 

During the spring scrimmage, the Longhorns’ defense, which ranked No. 25 in total defense in 2014, showed potential in its first time on display since spring practice started. 

Junior safety Dylan Haines said earlier in the week that turnovers were a focus this off-season, and the improvement in that regard was on display Saturday. The second-team unit forced two turnovers while also adding five sacks and seven tackles for loss, ultimately only giving up one touchdown.

“I feel like we’re in a good place,” junior defensive end Hassan Ridgeway said. “I feel like with all of the injuries, we’ve showed that we can come through, and we can still go out there and play.”

Much like last season, the defensive line excelled in containing the run and generating a pass rush. Head coach Charlie Strong pointed to senior Shiro Davis, sophomore Poona Ford and Ridgeway as standouts on the defensive line, but he said he was especially impressed with junior Bryce Cottrell, who picked up a sack and two tackles for loss.

“You talk about Bryce [Cottrell], he is faster; he is someone that’s coming on that we’re going to need to come on for us,” Strong said.

Behind the defensive line, the linebacker corps also succeeded despite only having four healthy linebackers on scholarship. Junior Timothy Cole topped off his strong spring, leading the unit with seven total tackles and two sacks, while senior Peter Jinkens made six tackles of his own. Freshman linebacker Malik Jefferson also shined with a few big hits and a forced fumble, which redshirt freshman linebacker Edwin Freeman returned for a touchdown.

“[Jefferson] is always seeing and making plays,” Ridgeway said. “He may not do exactly it the right way, but he’s going to be there to make the play.”

Like the linebackers, the secondary was thin, with three cornerbacks held out with injuries. Junior cornerback Bryson Echols and redshirt freshman cornerback John Bonney benefited most from increased playing time, as Echols grabbed an interception, and Bonney impressed fans with two crushing hits.

The secondary still saw continuity with both Haines and sophomore safety Jason Hall getting starting nods. Hall particularly impressed with solid coverage, including a pass breakup that almost went the other way for 6.

“I expect [Hall] to really develop and come into his own and really stand up and become a leader back here and especially in the back end,” Strong said. “As big and strong as he is, we need him to play like that all the time.”

Although they showed potential Saturday, the Longhorns are still riddled with injuries. With three starters returning from injury among several other contributors, competition will be deep in the summer.  

“We can be a dominant group; that’s not the problem,” Ridgeway said. “We just have to make sure we come together as a group. And when people come back from injuries, we need to make sure we have everybody together and do what we need to do.”

Junior quarterback Tyrone Swoopes remains the number one option according to head coach Charlie Strong. At Saturday’s Orange-White scrimmage, Swoopes went 17-for-31 for 159 yards and one rushing touchdown.
Photo Credit: Amy Zhang | Daily Texan Staff

Coca-Cola versus Pepsi. Chocolate versus vanilla. And now: Swoopes versus Heard. 

Whether junior Tyrone Swoopes or redshirt freshman Jerrod Heard should start at quarterback for Texas is a polarizing question. 

Both quarterbacks finished Saturday’s Orange-White scrimmage with similar stats — leaving unsettled the all-important question of who should start come fall. By the end of the game, it appeared both Swoopes and Heard were in the same positions they had when spring practice started.

“Ty is still our No. 1 guy,” head coach Charlie Strong said.

The Texas team (Orange) beat the Horns team (White), 27–16, Saturday to conclude Texas’ spring practice. During the first half of play, Swoopes quarterbacked the Orange team, which consisted of the first-team offense and second-team defense, and Heard quarterbacked the White team, which consisted of the second-team offense and first-team defense.

“I feel good about [the quarterback competition],” said Swoopes, who finished 17-for-31 with 159 yards and one rushing touchdown.

Heard put up similar numbers, going 20-for-29 with 177 yards, one interception and a rushing touchdown.

“I really tried to distribute the ball to the good playmakers,” Heard said. “This offense is really built for that, so I really try to put the ball in those guys’ hands.”

Heading into Saturday’s scrimmage, Texas aimed to display its new fast-paced offense, where players would sprint to the line of scrimmage after a play was over to get another play started as soon as possible. But the offensive pace was not as consistent as Strong hoped.

“You want to see the pace be a little quicker,” Strong said. “Just looking to the sideline trying to get [the signals], it’ll be quicker because that’s what you like to see — just a quicker pace, more up tempo.” 

While the offense is new for the Longhorns, both quarterbacks are familiar with the tempo. Toward the end of Heard’s high school career, Guyer High School quickened its offensive pace. Swoopes ran the same type of offense at Whitewright High School. 

“I’m really excited about [the new offense],” Swoopes said. “It’s pretty much what we’ve all done in high school. We’re all used to the up-tempo, no-huddle kind of the thing, so it’s just kind of getting us back to our ways.”

Other aspects of the Texas offense shined. Sophomore running back D’Onta Foreman showed particular strength, scoring one touchdown and racking up 84 yards on 12 rushes.

“It’s always fun when you watch big D’Onta run behind his pads. … He’s a guy that can run behind his pads and move people out of the way,” Strong said.

With the end of spring football, the next time the Longhorns take the field will be Sept. 5 against Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana. Strong will hope to have his team and, most importantly, a starting quarterback ready in time.

Freshman quarterback Jerrod Heard and sophomore quarterback Tyrone Swoopes will both get reps with the first team.
Photo Credit: Marshall Tidrick | Daily Texan Staff

Four months after the Longhorns’ 31–7 loss to Arkansas in the Advocare V100 Texas Bowl, head coach Charlie Strong still has a bitter taste in his mouth.

“[The loss] burns; it will continue to burn,” Strong said in February. “I guess what burns you more than anything is that when you go and compete, and you feel like we didn’t compete at the level that we should.”

Strong’s first chance this season to get the team competing at his desired level arose in late March when the members of the spring 2015 roster took the field for four weeks of spring practices, all leading up to this weekend’s Orange-White game. The practices yielded several changes for the team, including a revamped up-tempo spread offense that will be put on display Saturday for the first time.

While the offense is a work in progress, Strong expressed satisfaction with what he has seen so far.

“Just with us installing the new offense and trying to tweak it, I think that we’re looking at each day trying to get better, and we’re accomplishing that,” Strong said.

The Longhorns hope their new offense will be a better fit for the team, allowing for a faster-paced offense.

“It allows us to go out there and play aggressively,” senior lineman Marcus Hutchins said. “I think this year, with this offense and tempo, our speed will fit us even better, and I’m excited to play in it.”

In addition to scheme changes, Strong hopes that competition will generate improvement. The Longhorns have already had several key position battles this spring, including a quarterback duel between junior Tyrone Swoopes and redshirt freshman Jerrod Heard.

Swoopes took most of the first-team reps in spring practices, but Heard is not far behind. Most recently, Strong said Heard’s play was better, but lacked Swoopes’ consistency.

Senior running back Johnathan Gray praised both quarterbacks and said he expects them to be ready come Saturday.

“You’re going to see a smarter Jerrod [Heard] and a smarter Swoopes — guys who can operate the offense and bring us to where we need to be,” Gray said.

On the other side of the ball, senior Peter Jinkens, junior Timothy Cole and redshirt freshman Edwin Freeman will be competing for the vacancies at the linebacker position left by injured players and departing seniors.

Other notable position battles include the wide receivers, tight ends and offensive line — positions that gave the Longhorns trouble last year.

While Strong said he’s satisfied with the team’s progress, they will have their first chance to demonstrate that progress Saturday.  

“On Saturday, it’s going to be different,” Hutchins said. “It’s going to be a different era — a different team. You just got to tune in and watch.”

Photo Credit: Griffin Smith | Daily Texan Staff

Texas is just halfway through spring practices, but things appear to be coming together in an off-season filled with change.

Head coach Charlie Strong’s staff is still implementing a new spread offense, but the unit looked fluid during Monday's practice with several successful drives in 11-on-11 drills. Strong said after practice that the offense looked particularly good during Saturday’s scrimmage, and it appears that the unit is starting to gel operating without a huddle.

Though Texas’ offense has shown improvement through spring play, the Longhorns will only go as far as their quarterback come fall. Currently, rising junior Tyrone Swoopes is taking the majority of the first team reps, but the quarterback battle seems to be tightening.

Redshirted freshman Jerrod Heard has made some serious strides since the first practice. He completed several downfield passes through tight windows, which is something he failed to do in the opening part of the spring and through much of the 2014 season. He also showed off his speed with a long scramble up the middle and some lengthy runs on options and other designed quarterback runs.

Swoopes looked sharp at times, but he also made some poor throws and was clearly not on the same page with his receivers on a few occasions. After practice, Strong said that Heard played better, but that Swoopes has been more consistent overall through spring. He also said that he hopes both quarterbacks will be ready in the fall.

While Heard impressed, Monday's biggest takeaway may be the improvement in the receiving corps, which struggled often struggled gaining separation last season leaving Swoopes and the offensive line vulnerable to opponents’ pass rush. Specifically, rising junior Jacorey Warrick and rising sophomore Dorian Leonard stood out as potential difference makers on the outside for next season.

Warrick ran crisp routes, made impressive catches and showed explosiveness taking a number of screens and flat routes for touchdowns. Leonard used his six-foot-three frame to box-out defensive backs and make tough grabs in traffic. Both players took almost all of their reps with the first team offense and should compete for starting spots come August.

Though the offense often shined with electrifying plays, the defense, which has been decimated with injuries this spring, also showed improvement. The unit mostly lined up in the nickel with four down linemen, two linebackers and five defensive backs.

Both redshirted freshman linebacker Edwin Freeman and rising junior linebacker Timothy Cole showed off their instincts and athleticism in pass coverage while filling in for injured senior linebacker Dalton Santos. Freshman Malik Jefferson also impressed in his quick transition to inside linebacker after playing mostly outside before Santos’ injury.

In the secondary, rising sophomore safety Jason Hall made some big hits, while rising sophomore cornerback Antwaun Davis showed his ball skills breaking up several passes on the outside.

Overall, Strong says that he believes that the team is accomplishing its goal of improving each day, and that’s the most important part of spring practice. The Longhorns still have a few weeks to keep improving before they’re put to the test at the Orange-White game on April 18. 

Head coach Charlie Strong is looking to senior linebacker Dalton Santos to be a leader on defense in 2015. The Longhorns defense has big shoes to fill after losing key players last season.
Photo Credit: Ethan Oblak | Daily Texan Staff

It’s that time of year when the flowers begin to blossom, the temperature outside  warms up, and spring practice commences for the Longhorns.

Head coach Charlie Strong’s first season didn’t have the traction that was expected, and it ended with a 31–7 defeat at the hands of Arkansas.

Texas enters spring practice with a sense of urgency to get back to national relevance. Here are a few things to keep an eye on during the start of spring practice.

The quarterback situation

“Who will be the starting quarterback?” 

It’s the question everyone wants to know the answer to. Last season, sophomore quarterback Tyrone Swoopes lacked consistency in his play, and by the season’s end, fans were ready to move on from the Swoopes era.

Strong made it clear both Swoopes and redshirt freshman quarterback Jerrod Heard, who hasn’t seen any action yet, will compete for the starting job.

“Going into the spring practice, we’re going to give them equal reps; give them a chance to compete against each other,” Strong said.

Players are often judged by their stats and how they perform on the field; it’s no different for quarterbacks, who are often in the eye of the storm. Swoopes and Heard will not be solely judged on their skill set and ability to execute but also on their ability to lead and unify the team.

“At that position you got to have leadership,” Strong said. “With these two quarterbacks, can we get the team to follow them?”

Defense

It’s an old saying: “Offense wins games, but defense wins championships.” 

The Longhorns go into this spring season losing key players on the defensive end, including linebacker Jordan Hicks, cornerback Quandre Diggs and defensive tackle Malcom Brown.

Texas has the right personnel for a successful defense, but time will tell whether it will become elite. 

Texas is looking for leaders, especially in the middle linebacker position, which is regarded as the “quarterback” of the defense.

According to Strong, rising senior linebacker Dalton Santos is in place to start as middle linebacker. As the backup to senior linebacker Steve Edmond last season, he saw the field a fair amount, helping him gain the experience to take over. But spring practice will provide important reps for him with the first team.

Fans will also get their first glance at freshman outside linebacker Malik Jefferson, who is considered to be the star member of Strong’s recruiting class.

Team chemistry, leadership and intangibles

The Longhorns’ team chemistry, pride and leadership are all important for success, going hand-in-hand with each other.

“One thing [the coaches and I] talked about — the number one — and it’s very key is to go build us a football team,” Strong said. “A team with team chemistry.”

While pride of being on the team can create leaders that galvanize others on the team, Texas will look for its team chemistry to show.

Beyond the ‘X’s and ‘O’s, Strong and the Longhorns strive for the intangibles that make successful teams. Spring practice begins Wednesday, and fans will see whether Texas can begin to blossom like flowers are doing now.

Sophomore quarterback Tyrone Swoopes struggled with consistency during the 2014 season. One of Texas’ biggest needs for next season is better quarterback play.
Photo Credit: Amy Zhang | Daily Texan Staff

Head coach Charlie Strong has his work cut out for him. The Longhorns offense needs fixing, and it needs it badly.

When the Longhorns weren’t turning the ball over, they were simply unable to sustain drives — ranking 89th in plays-per-game and 110th in third-down conversion percentage last season. While injuries and dismissals played a role in their offensive woes, predictable play calling and a vanilla offensive scheme didn’t do sophomore quarterback Tyrone Swoopes and company any favors.

“We have to tweak [the offense],” Strong said after National Signing Day. “We know this. I look at five games last season where we scored 20 points or less. We know we have to get better.”

The games that Strong mentioned were cringe-worthy. Among them were losses to Kansas State, TCU and Arkansas, in which describing the offense as looking lost is an understatement. It was clear the personnel and the scheme did not add up to a successful offense.

Strong knows that Texas’ offensive struggles last season were unacceptable, and he’s emphasized adjusting the scheme to fit his players and new recruits. In this case, Texas’ recruits mostly come from Texas, which is notorious for a high-tempo, high-scoring spread offenses at the high-school level.

“I look at this state ship, and I would say probably 98 percent of this state is a spread offense,” Strong said Monday at the first spring press conference. “So, when we bring players into our program, let’s not change them.”

Perhaps the best indication of the coming system tweaks is the hiring of Jay Norvell, former Oklahoma wide receivers coach and co-offensive coordinator, as Texas’ new wide receivers coach.

Norvell was partly hired for his experience in coaching spread offenses, and his impressive track record at Oklahoma is encouraging. In five of his seven years with the Sooners, Oklahoma’s offense ranked in the top 30 in scoring and plays-per-game. 

In simpler terms, Norvell’s spread stayed on the field, gained first downs and scored points. Texas needs all of the above.

The new offense’s biggest beneficiaries may be the quarterbacks. Both Swoopes and redshirted freshman Jerrod Heard were top dual-threat quarterbacks coming out of high school, and spreading the offense will give them a chance to prove themselves as runners and throwers in spring play. 

Even incoming freshman quarterback Kai Locksley — who won’t be in practices until the summer but is still a candidate for the starting job, according to Strong — excelled in a spread offense in high school.

“They are good enough where they can throw the ball, good enough where, if you had to pull it down, they could run the football,” Strong said. “But, you have to take advantage of what you have.”

If Strong and his staff can get consistent play from their quarterbacks through a scheme change, it would be an enormous step toward fixing the offense.

Regardless of who is under center, Texas has no more excuses for poor offense. Strong and his staff need to find a way to get the most out of their players, and, whether it’s a complete offensive overhaul or some slight scheme changes, Texas’ offense will look different next year. 

If Strong and his staff can deliver on their promise to improve the offense, it will be a big step in bringing the Longhorns back into national relevance.

Texas head coach Charlie Strong added two more members to his staff Friday morning. 

Texas announced that Jeff Traylor, former Gilmer High School head coach, is officially joining as its new special teams and tight ends coach, while Brick Haley, former LSU defensive line coach, is taking the same spot at Texas. 

Traylor fills an opening left by former tight ends coach Bruce Chambers, who was dismissed in December after holding that spot since 2003. He marks the second major addition to Strong’s staff this offseason, with new wide receivers coach Jay Norvell joining the team in January.

"Having an opportunity to coach at the University of Texas is a dream come true," Traylor said. "It's special because of what it stands for in the state, the tradition, the pride and how proud people are to be from there. It's just a unique place. They do things right, and who doesn't want to be a part of that? When you believe in the man that's calling you, and you believe in the place you're going, you've got to be a part of it."

At Gilmer, Traylor coached 14 consecutive winning seasons and produced several top college recruits, including incoming Texas cornerback Kris Boyd. In 2014, he capped off an undefeated season with his third state championship.

Strong hopes Traylor can make an impact as a coach and a recruiter. With years of experience in coaching Texas high school football, Traylor is a familiar face for in-state recruiting prospects and their coaches. The Longhorns hope this familiarity translates into better recruiting and ultimately better on-field success.

"Jeff's a tremendous football coach who has built a program at Gilmer that has had unbelieveable success," Strong said. "He's a guy that we've watched, admired and really gotten to know. East Texas has so many great players that it really helps us to have a guy like Jeff on staff that knows the area so well. We're excited to have him on board."

Haley joins the Longhorns after serving as the defensive line coach for LSU since 2009. With the Tigers, he led a line that tallied 109 sacks and forced 42 turnovers during his six years. Haley helped lead an inexperienced defensive line at LSU, which he will also be tasked with at Texas. The Longhorns will lose star linemen Malcom Brown and Cedric Reed this season. 

"Brick is a guy we're so excited to be bring on our staff." Strong said. "He has such a great reputation for developing defensive lineman and has developed so many great players over the years. He just brings so much experience as a coach having worked not only with the defensive line, but also as a defensive coordinator."

Haley also has experience coaching at Mississippi State, Georgia Tech and Baylor.

Running back Chris Warren from Rockwall High School smiles with his family after signing with Texas. Warren is one of 28 recruits in Charlie Strong’s first recruiting class.

Biggest signees for Texas: 

Malik Jefferson was Texas’ most highlighted recruit as the nation’s top linebacker. But Jefferson wasn’t the only monumental recruit for head coach Charlie Strong’s first official recruiting class.

The Longhorns signed two tall receivers who can provide playmaking abilities in 6-foot-2 John Burt and 6-foot-4 Gilbert Johnson. Texas’ starting quarterback next season — whether it be sophomore Tyrone Swoopes or redshirt freshman Jerrod Heard — can have the confidence to throw the deep ball when either receiver has a height advantage on a cornerback.

Texas also signed Chris Warren, a 6-foot-2, 239-pound running back who is ranked the No. 8 running back in the nation, according to 247Sports. Warren has the ability to run strong up the middle and to gain a significant amount of yards after contact because of his solid frame.

In addition, the Longhorns found success at the tight end position, signing of Devonaire Clarington, the No. 7 tight end in the nation, according to 247Sports. Clarington’s athleticism, combined with his height and strength, will stretch the field for the Longhorns because of his ability to run down the seams and be a mismatch for most linebackers.

Biggest disappointment for Texas:

The question the Longhorns face — a question as big as Texas — is who the quarterback will be next season. Swoopes wasn’t consistent enough when it came to getting the ball to his receivers, and Heard has not yet been tested. Although Texas signed Kai Locksley, who, according to Strong, will play quarterback, he isn’t a marquee name in the quarterback position.

After four-star quarterback prospect Zach Gentry flipped his commitment to Michigan, five-star quarterback Kyler Murray was the Longhorns’ last hope to get a top-ranked quarterback recruit. However, Murray ended up sticking with his original commitment at Texas A&M.

The last time the Longhorns found consistency at the quarterback position was with Colt McCoy. Texas now has to work on developing Locksley, Swoopes or Heard in order to improve on last season’s quarterback play.

Texas wins the Big 12 in recruiting:

Texas has the No. 11 recruiting class in the nation, according to 247Sports. Oklahoma’s No. 15-ranked recruiting class was second among Big 12 schools, followed by Texas Tech at No. 33. That leaves the Longhorns with the No. 1 recruiting class in the Big 12.

Texas signed 14 recruits ranked in ESPN 300, and the rest of the Big 12 combined for 20 such recruits. Strong alluded last year he wanted to put the “T” back in Texas, and the results of his first recruiting period at Texas is a big first step toward that statement.