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While much was made of Charlie Strong's inability to connect with the fraternity of Texas High School Football coaches, the bulk of the 2015 class is made up of Texas kids, heavily centered in the DFW and Houston regions. But the class was supplemented with parts from throughout the Southeast (including the oft-discussed and reformed Florida 5), and capped with a pair of skilled athletes from Maryland and California.
The class kicked off in earnest in December 2014 with the commitments of Mesquite Poteet's Malik Jefferson and DeAndre McNeal. Jefferson, the jewel of the class, provided Charlie Strong a turning point as a recruiter that created the momentum to finish the class. Another star linebacker product in the Dallas area, Skyline's Anthony Wheeler, followed shortly after. The three were part of six commitment's credited to linebacker coach and recruiting coordinator Brian Jean-Mary, who finished as the 7th ranked recruiter in the nation according to 24/7. Jean-Mary was also credited with the rest of the linebacker group, Austin's Breckyn Hager and Ridge Point's Cameron Townsend, as well as the first of the Florida commitments in Cecil Cherry.
Cherry was the first piece of the Florida 5, and was quite vocal about opening Charlie Strong's pipeline to Texas. Defensive backs coach Chris Vaughn, who finished 9th in 24/7's recruiting rankings, was responsible for pulling the rest of the Florida 5 in early January. Booker T. Washington TE Devonaire Clarington and DB Davante Davis, and WR Gilbert Johnson (who began his HS career in Florida before attending prep school in Georgia) stayed with the class while Tim Irvin left for Auburn. John Burt, the Tallahassee WR that decommitted from Texas, recommitted and gave the Florida 5 a final form.
When Burt re-entered the fold, he worked hard on recruiting Baltimore ATH Kai Locksley, a friendship formed late in the recruiting process. Locksley, son of Maryland OC Mike Locksley, became the sole QB to sign with Texas in the class (grayshirt candidate Matthew Merrick of Irvine is still in line to grayshirt in 2015, but may receive a full offer in the fall). Locksley was also a Chris Vaughn commitment. In total, Vaughn was credited with 10 commitments, including the CB tandem of Gilmer's Kris Boyd and Houston's Holton Hill, and the late flip of PJ Locke. Locke, out of Beaumont, was on the staff's radar throughout the process, and DC Vance Bedford kept the door open for the safety prospect. When Jamile Johnson flipped to Texas Tech, following his South Oak Cliff HC to Lubbock, a spot opened for Locke and he took it.
To round out the map, Longhorn legacy and California product Kirk Johnson is the staff's sole west coast commitment.
As of Signing Day, Charlie Strong's recruiting charges filled all put two available early enrollee and 2015 scholarship spots. It took a lot of hard work, including the new Florida pipeline, and some crucial recruit-to-recruit relationships, but the class looks to provide the foundation for what Strong's Texas program will be.