Wednesday, national signing day, was a day high school football players and coaching staffs alike circled on their calendars, the end to the madness that is open recruiting season. When the dust finally settled — sans another decommit — the Longhorns had inked 15 for their class of 2013.
“The fifteen we got are very passionate about being at Texas,” head coach Mack Brown said at his Wednesday press conference. “And that’s what you want. You want people who want to be at your school, and then when somebody decides to back out on you, you’ve got to go look forsomebody else.”
Among them is a defensive back, Bastrop’s Antwuan Davis, who Brown called “one of the fastest in the country,” a trio of wideouts and perhaps a Vince Young doppleganger in Tyrone Swoopes. But for all the flash, it’s the big-uglies up front who have Brown most excited.
“The highlight of this class is the offensive line,” he said. “They average over 6-foot-5 feet tall and 300 pounds and they can all move their feet.”
With a hectic few weeks that included the decommitment of star defensive tackle A’Shawn Robinson and fellow defensive tackle Andrew Billings’s decision to go to Baylor, Brown said he’s still pleased with the batch he’s got at the end of this year’s recruiting process.
“We’ve had some top-ranked signing classes before that didn’t pan out,” Brown said. “We looked at a few that didn’t want to come, but if you look at that it’s happening across the country. Worry about the ones you get, because you’ve got them for five years, 365 days a year.”
With coaches recruiting earlier and earlier to attain top talent, Brown said he’s focused on building relationships with high school coaches and finding players genuinely interested in bringing their talent to Texas.
“I think it’s very important for me to have presence in high schools, so I like to go to the schools and see the coach,” he said. “I need to go see those guys and shake their hands and tell them we’re not backing out on kids.”
Those new talents will join a roster of returning 19 starters and other veteran players who are eager to extend their leadership to the newest members of the team.
“The strength of this team are the sophomores and the juniors,” Brown said. “I’m seeing more leadership than I have the last two years.”
He was also quick to point out that there will be ample opportunities for young players to showcase their talents early on.
“All of our jobs are always open,” he said. “We’re going to play all the best players. They’re really getting after each other. There’s more accountability now.”
A core focus is returning to a sharp offense that illuminate the scoreboard in the fall, Brown said.
“Right now in the Big 12, it’s a speed game,” Brown said. “We’ve got to get back to the upper 40 and 50 points offensively, and to do that in this league, you’ve got to have great speed.”
Despite the hullaballoo that commonly surrounds signing day, Brown cited history as a reminder that what’s to come is much more significant.
“Marquise [Goodwin] wasn’t talked about on this day, [Alex] Okafor was projected to be a really good football player and nobody even knew who Kenny Vaccaro was,” he said. “Those are our three guys that will probably be drafted the highest [in the NFL.] Today isn’t as important as what happens after today.”