Mack Brown signed 15 players in his final recruiting class of 2013 -- and of those 15, 11 of them committed to Texas by June 12, 2012. In fact, eight of them pledged their allegiance to the burnt orange and white by the end of February 2012. Texas inked 28 players in 2012, including 18 commits by mid-June, with a dozen of those coming by the end of February. The 2011 class? Seventeen of the 22 pledged to UT by the end of February; only one came after the Fourth of July.
Brown revolutionized recruiting at Texas by pursuing and accepting commitments before the rest of his competition and then was undone by his own revolution, all too often passing on players who longed to see their recruitments stretch into their senior year.
Now contrast that with Charlie Strong, whose nine commitments in the run up to Signing Day last week eclipsed the entire number of the 16-year Brown era.
Strong detailed his strategy with the Austin American-Statesman, admitting that, yes, much of the buildup to late January and early February was intentional. Sure, part of it was to build a buzz on Signing Day, but much was a defensive strategy, laying in the weeds until it was too late for opponents to mount a counter-offensive.
“Because of the season we had, I didn’t want them to attack us,” Strong said.
Texas was also selective in who it offered and who it brought to campus (a link he shares with his predecessor). While Brown had the majority of his class wrapped up by the time spring football opened, 13 of the 24 players who eventually signed with Texas last week did not hold offers until spring of their junior year. And only 33 players snagged official visit invites, well below the NCAA limit of 56.
But once Strong and company are sold on a player, the lock on like a pit bull with his mouth around a ribeye.
"All I've got to say is that if you don't want to go to Texas, don't let (Strong) get on your couch because that man is very persuasive," defensive tackle signee Chris Daniels said last week. Daniels didn't receive a Texas offer until Dec. 17, committed to Oklahoma a day later but announced for the Longhorns on Wednesday.
“The day before he committed to Oklahoma," Strong said, "I called him and I said ‘I know you’re gonna commit tomorrow, but I’m gonna keep recruiting you, and it’s gonna be hard for you to tell me no because I’m gonna stay on you.’”
Added linebackers coach/recruiting coordinator Brian Jean-Mary: “If someone can force you to make a decision, it’s very easy for another person to come in and make you change your mind about what you just did."