Chris Warren

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.

Photo Credit: Ellyn Snider | Daily Texan Staff

With National Signing Day officially in the books, head coach Charlie Strong proved his recruiting strengths on one of the country’s biggest stages.

“We were able to meet our needs,” Strong said. “Our guys did a great job of selling this program.”

The Longhorns’ 2015 recruiting class is the best Texas list since 2012 — ranked No. 11 nationally and No. 1 in the Big 12, according to 247Sports. Strong added 28 signed recruits and displayed the ability to recruit both in state and around the nation. He reeled in 10 out-of-state prospects, five of whom come from Florida.

“The state of Texas will always be our ground,” Strong said. “[But] I don’t mind going out of state to win a battle.”

The Longhorns’ most important commitment of the day came from four-star Rockwall running back Chris Warren, who chose Texas over Washington. Warren, who is ranked No. 8 among running backs, gives Texas another option in a backfield that struggled to produce consistent yardage in 2014. The 6-foot-2, 240-pound Warren has a unique blend of size and speed, which showed in his senior year when he rushed for over 2,300 yards and 34 touchdowns.

“[Warren] is a big old strong back,” Strong said. “He has enough speed and quickness to get outside.”

While many expected Warren to choose Texas, Strong surprised experts Wednesday, as he flipped two prospects who were previously committed to other schools.

Strong flipped four-star Aledo receiver Ryan Newsome, who originally chose UCLA over Texas on Jan. 23. Newsome is a small but explosive receiver who racked up 21 total touchdowns in his

senior year. His speed is something the Longhorns lacked at the skill positions this past season, and his agility should make him an immediate contender for playing time this fall.

Strong was also successful in converting Beaumont’s three-star safety PJ Locke, who committed to Oregon last July. Although Locke is a little undersized at 5 feet 10 inches, 189 pounds, he showed his playmaking ability with seven interceptions in his senior year. He takes the place of three-star safety Jamile Johnson, who decommitted from the Longhorns on Sunday.

Newsome and Locke were two of nine commits to sign with Texas after originally committing to other schools. 

“You can’t take no for an answer until the paper or fax comes across your desk,” Strong said.

While the Longhorns added three key prospects, the Longhorns missed on some big-name targets. Both five-star targets — Plano West running back Soso Jamabo and Gladewater defensive tackle Daylon Mack — listed Texas as a finalist after visiting the school together on Jan. 23. After the Longhorns seemingly gained momentum with the pair, the two prospects decided to take their talents elsewhere, with Jamabo selecting UCLA and Mack choosing
Texas A&M.

Texas also missed out on Demarkus Lodge, four-star Cedar Hill receiver, and failed to sign potential three-star targets cornerback Deandre Baker and JUCO wide receiver Dominique Reed.

However, Strong added a variety of talent and addressed several areas of need in his first official recruiting class. More importantly, the Longhorns are confident the recent recruiting success will translate to on-field results.

“This whole team will be a lot better than it was last year,” Strong said.

Recruiting his first full class, head coach Charlie Strong should be excited. He’s got a top-10 class right now with the potential for it to get even better on National Signing Day with many top recruits in the fold.
Photo Credit: Lauren Ussery | Daily Texan Staff

With National Signing Day here, Texas head coach Charlie Strong’s first full Texas recruiting class is shaping up to be top notch.

Follow our live blog of National Signing Day here.

247Sports currently ranks Texas’ class No. 9, the highest a Texas class has been ranked since 2012, and the Longhorns have potential to look even better on National Signing Day with several top prospects still in play. If Texas can turn its recent recruiting momentum into a high-yield National Signing Day, the 2015 class will be a signature one for Strong and the Longhorns.

Chris Warren, RB, Rockwall

The Longhorns look to sign the nation’s No. 8 running back — Rockwall’s Chris Warren. The four-star running back scored 34 rushing touchdowns in his senior year and can help improve a Longhorn rushing attack that struggled with consistency in 2014. This weekend, he took an official visit to Washington, posing a major threat for the Longhorn’s prospects — partly because of Warren’s family ties to the state. Warren’s father was a three-time all-star for the Seattle Seahawks.

Announcement: 8:00 a.m. (WatchESPN)

Final list: Texas, Washington

DT Prediction: Texas (Ezra Siegel)

Soso Jamabo, RB, Plano West

Although Warren is likely headed to Austin, the Longhorns are also targeting an even higher-ranked rusher — Soso Jamabo, Plano West’s five-star running back. Ranked as the nation’s No. 2 running back, Jamabo showed a blend of speed and power when he accumulated more than 2200 yards rushing and 44 rushing touchdowns in his senior year. Reports surfaced Monday night that Jamabo told Texas coaches he would be going to UCLA, but he quickly sent out a tweet refuting those claims.

Announcement: 8:15 a.m. (ESPNU)

Final list: Texas, UCLA

DT Prediction: Texas (Evan Berkowitz)

Daylon Mack, DT, Gladewater

Daylon Mack, Gladewater’s five-star defensive tackle, joins Jamabo as Texas’ only remaining five-star targets. After committing to Texas A&M in 2013, Mack re-opened his recruiting in December. While publicly, Mack says he is still deciding between Texas, Texas A&M and TCU, rumors surfaced Tuesday morning that Mack will be heading back to Texas A&M, according to 247Sports. Mack has not confirmed those rumors and is still a target to watch on signing day. It would be a huge gain for Texas if Mack were to commit — and immediately fill the hole that Malcom Brown left.

Announcement: 11:30 a.m. (ESPNU)

Final list: Texas, Texas A&M, TCU

DT Prediction: Texas A&M (Aaron Torres)