Coach Strong Impresses Recruits at Junior Day
“I want you here.”
That’s the first thing new head coach Charlie Strong said to Former LSU commit Xavier Lewis when they first shook hands. And without appearing desperate, one would struggle to come up with four words as apt as those.
Texas held their first Junior Day in the Charlie Strong era Saturday, and it quickly became clear to potential recruits who previously dealt with Mack Brown that Strong is a much different man, coach and recruiter, but with the important similarities to boot.
“Coach Strong and Coach Mack Brown are two totally different people. But, you know, I still get similar vibes,” Missouri City (Texas) Ridge Point linebacker Cameron Townsend said. “I definitely like the new coaching staff a lot. I really like Coach Strong. He seems like a really legit guy.”
Junior Day is a way for potential recruits to kick the proverbial tires, and to see if a school is the right fit for them. The same could be said for the school hosting the potential recruits.
Recruits work out, speak to the coaches, and take tours of the campus. Their families are usually in tow (these are 16 year-old kids, after all) and are likewise able to gain an impression of the University.
After Saturday, eight 2015 recruits walked away with scholarship offers. Only time will tell whether they choose Texas or not, but one thing is clear, Strong impressed.
“I actually liked it better (than the previous coaches),” cornerback Holton Hill said. “I like the coaching staff. I feel like I’ll have a better connection to them.”
Considered more of a “players coach,” Strong and his staff thrive on discipline and hard work, and are committed to the development of their players.
“Coach [Chris] Vaughn and Coach Bedford, they’re not all just about football,” cornerback Lewis said. “They’re about building you up as a man. I liked that [Strong] was really hands-on with everybody and moving around and talking to everybody.”
Earlier this year, Strong had a tough task at hand. Hired only a month before National Signing Day, Strong was in the precarious position of having to convince athletes who signed under Brown to stay at Texas while also shoring up other weak spots.
Judging Strong’s recruiting prowess after this first month would be like judging the Wright Brothers for not making it to the Moon, he just didn’t have the time or the tools to land the number of five star recruits Texas fans have become accustomed to.
Now, with Junior Days, face-to-face meetings, workouts and the time to develop relationships at his disposal, Strong appears well on his way to landing the right recruits for Texas.