HD's National Signing Day Headquarters!

Charlie Strong's first full recruiting class is in the books, including a couple National Signing Day surprises in the Longhorns' favor thanks to the flips of previously committed 3-star S James "P.J." Locke of Beaumont Central (Oregon) and 4-star WR Ryan Newsome of Aledo (UCLA).

Here is your one-stop shop for NSD analysis, class member by class member, as well as how each fits with the Longhorns now that their Letters of Intent have been received by the Texas coaching staff.

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2015 LONGHORNS EARLY ENROLLEES:

Has Texas Received his National Letter of Intent?

Yes

How Quickly Can He Make an On-Field Impact at UT?

The five-star linebacker would compete, and probably gain early playing time any time he arrived on a campus. But he’s almost a lock to play right away given what UT has returning at LB. Texas will have to replace leading tacklers Jordan Hicks and Steve Edmond, and will only have two LBs returning with substantial PT in Peter Jinkens and Dalton Santos. Jefferson is a Day 1 playmaker and likely starter for the Longhorns.

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Has Texas Received his National Letter of Intent?

Yes

How Quickly Can He Make an On-Field Impact at UT?

Immediate. Combine the fact Vasser only has two years of eligibility with the fact he's an early enrollee, and Texas is planning on the former Georgia commit coming in right away as a rotational player at DE at the very least. Vasser has the size - 6-4, 265 - to play the run in addition to rushing the passer. With Cedric Reed moving on, Vasser will likely battle Shiro Davis for the left defensive end position starting in spring football.

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Has Texas Received his National Letter of Intent?

Yes

How Quickly Can He Make an On-Field Impact at UT?

Immediately. In fact, if Brandon Hodges doesn't walk in as one of the team's starting tackles (preferably left), it would be a disappointment. The Horns took 6 offensive linemen in this class, and Hodges only has two years of eligibility left. He helped East Mississippi CC to the NJCAA national title. He's got all the tools you look for in a left tackle (long arms, good feet and size at 6-5, 290). Landing Hodge was huge because it appears to be instant help. Now, he just has to play huge.

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Has Texas Received his National Letter of Intent?

Yes

How Quickly Can He Make an On-Field Impact at UT?

Usually when a coaching staff goes to the JUCO ranks and offers a player, they are expecting that player to come in right away and compete for PT. While we do believe that Nickelson will compete for PT at one of the tackle positions, we aren’t sold on him starting at this point. He still has a ways to go from a technique standpoint. When he gets there though, and combines that with his physical stature, he could be a valuable bookend for the Longhorns in the future.

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Has Texas Received his National Letter of Intent?

Yes

How Quickly Can He Make an On-Field Impact at UT?

Another early enrollee, Williams is getting a jump start on what exactly it is that Joe Wickline wants in his offensive linemen. He’s physically ready to play but he’ll have a hard time doing so in 2015 because of all of the OL that UT has to work with. Factoring into the two-deep isn’t out of the equation, especially because he’s already on campus. But it’s going to be tough. The fact that he can play either OT or OG will help his cause.

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Has Texas Received his National Letter of Intent?

Yes

How Quickly Can He Make an On-Field Impact at UT?

Despite Thomas being an early enrollee, his path to playing time will likely come after a season of learning the system and further growing into his body. Texas just has too many OL at this point; 14 on campus right now and several more signing Letters of Intent today.

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NON-EARLY ENROLLEE LONGHORNS COMMITMENTS:

Has Texas Received his National Letter of Intent?

Yes

How Quickly Can He Make an On-Field Impact at UT?

Anyone who has watched Texas’ return units over the last couple of seasons knows that playmakers have lacked… greatly. Newsome can come in right away and be a difference maker. He’s one of the more explosive and versatile return men in the country with top-end speed. Getting the former UCLA commitment in the program will also do wonders for Jay Norvell’s unit. Newsome’s shiftiness and quickness off the edge, especially in speed sweep formations, is something that could warrant early PT.

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Has Texas Received his National Letter of Intent?

Yes

How Quickly Can He Make an On-Field Impact at UT?

The Longhorns got a HUGE National Signing Day gift today when four-star Chris Warren announced his commitment to Texas. He will unquestionably factor into the early season depth chart for the Longhorns for a few reasons. For starters, he’s good enough. Two, Tommie Robinson loves to play multiple backs in a single game and Warren is one of the better backs UT will have. Three, the Longhorns will need to find a way to replace Malcolm Brown and Warren seems to be the perfect player to assume that roll.

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Has Texas Received his National Letter of Intent?

Yes

How Quickly Can He Make an On-Field Impact at UT?

Longhorns coaches, and commitments alike, all worked really hard to get Locke away from Oregon and it paid off in a big way. The three-star CB had been committed to Oregon since July 1, 2014 but Texas got him to flip in a matter of days. Question is: Will he make an early impact for UT? He’ll have a chance. DeShon Elliott is going to play along with returnees Dylan Haines and Jason Hall. The question for Locke is going to be whether or not he can position himself in front of Adrian Colbert, Kevin Vaccaro and Erik Huhn. Colbert and Vaccaro have both had opportunities to prove their worth, and there is still much to be desired by both. Huhn has been injured and hasn’t really gotten the chance. So the opportunity is certainly there for Locke to factor into the rotation. Hall played last season as a true freshman and Haines is a former walk-on. The UT coaches aren’t shya bout giving chances to those that have earned them.

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Has Texas Received his National Letter of Intent?

Yes

How Quickly Can He Make an On-Field Impact at UT?

Boyd will come in and compete right away for early PT, no doubt about it. The Longhorns are fortunate to have him and will give him the chance to compete. Of the incoming freshmen DBs, Boyd and Holton Hill are the two with the best chance at seeing early PT. Texas has plenty of unanswered questions at CB with Duke Thomas being the only one with considerable experience. Sheroid Evans missed all of last season with an injury, Bryson Echols has never panned out like we thought (not yet anyway), neither has Antwuan Davis, and Jermaine Roberts and John Bonney are both waiting for their first opportunities. Boyd is coming in at the right time.

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Has Texas Received his National Letter of Intent?

Yes

How Quickly Can He Make an On-Field Impact at UT?

Given how hard the Longhorns staff worked on Burt (both times), it’s hard to imagine him at least not getting a look early on. We believe he will and will eventually factor into the WR rotation along with Daje Johnson, Marcus Johnson, Jacorey Warrick, Armanti Foreman, Lorenzo Joe, and Roderick Bernard (he’ll likely be more of a special teams player).

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Has Texas Received his National Letter of Intent?

Yes

How Quickly Can He Make an On-Field Impact at UT?

The Longhorns haven’t had a playmaker like Clarington at TE for a long, long time, and aren’t going to waste any time getting him involved in their passing game. Andrew Beck showed glimpses of being a threat in the passing game last season, and Blake Whiteley is said to have excellent hands. But Clarington is the player that everyone will have eyes on amongst the TEs. He’s got great hands and good speed. Toss it up to him and let him go to work.

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Has Texas Received his National Letter of Intent?

Yes

How Quickly Can He Make an On-Field Impact at UT?

McNeal is going to play in 2015. No doubt. The Texas coaches have reportedly gone as far as to say he’ll get the ball on the first play of the game in the season opener against Notre Dame. That remains to be seen. Regardless, though, McNeal will be one of the frontrunners to take over for Jaxon Shipley and John Harris. During his recruitment, Texas coaches told McNeal that they saw him as Harris’ replacement. He’ll arrive on campus as the most physically impressive WR on the roster.

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Has Texas Received his National Letter of Intent?

Yes

How Quickly Can He Make an On-Field Impact at UT?

It is really unfair to count out any of Texas’ incoming linebackers from seeing early PT at this point because of how many questions remain at the position right now. The Longhorns have to replace their two leading tacklers in Jordan Hicks and Steve Edmond, and only have two returning LBs with notable playing experience in Peter Jinkens and Dalton Santos. Early PT is going to be there for the taking for these freshmen and Townsend will be one of the leading candidates to take that time. He is one of the more driven individuals you will ever see – his health is of the utmost importance to him. Physically, he won’t be overwhelmed. And his attitude will be exactly what Brian Jean-Mary wants to see. He’ll be a favorite of the coaching staffs in little time.

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Has Texas Received his National Letter of Intent?

Yes

How Quickly Can He Make an On-Field Impact at UT?

It’s hard to imagine Houston breaking into the rotation in 2015 given Texas has Johnathan Gray, D’Onta Foreman, and Donald Catalon coming back. The Longhorns will also have highly-touted RB Chris Warren coming in as well as Kirk Johnson, one of the top RBs in California. Houston will likely redshirt just as Catalon did last season.

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Has Texas Received his National Letter of Intent?

Yes

How Quickly Can He Make an On-Field Impact at UT?

From a physical standpoint, Omenihu is already where he needs to be. And you aren’t going to find anyone more excited to be in Austin than him. His drive is on point. Given this, you could see him work his way into the two-deep. But it’s going to be tough as Texas has several DEs returning in Shiro Davis, Caleb Bluiett, Bryce Cottrell, and Naashon Hughes. The Longhorns will also break prized redshirt freshman Derick Roberson into the rotation and welcome JUCO Quincy Vasser. So it’s going to be tough.

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Has Texas Received his National Letter of Intent?

Yes

How Quickly Can He Make an On-Field Impact at UT?

Anyone who has ever seen Major play or watched film of him will likely tell you that he has a bright future ahead. It just might take him a bit longer to get there because he is still so raw. Because he is likely going to play OT, Major will likely redshirt as Texas tries to make due with Brandon Hodges, Marcus Hutchins, Camrhon Hughes, Tristian Nickelson, Darius James, Alex Anderson and a few others.

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Has Texas Received his National Letter of Intent?

Yes

How Quickly Can He Make an On-Field Impact at UT?

At 6-foot-2 and roughly 200 pounds, Davis is precisely the type of cornerback that Charlie Strong, Vance Bedford and Chris Vaughn loves to work with. Who wouldn’t? He’ll have a tough time seeing the field before Kris Boyd and Holton Hill – two other 2015 UT commitments – but will give both a run for their money. Strong didn’t bring these Florida players to Austin to sit the bench, and they didn’t leave the Sunshine State to ride the pine either. As long as he comes in with the right attitude, Davis will have a chance to compete for early PT considering Texas will only have one CB with considerable PT returning in Duke Thomas.

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Has Texas Received his National Letter of Intent?

Yes

How Quickly Can He Make an On-Field Impact at UT?

Locksley only started at QB in high school for two years while waiting behind an eventual Maryland signee. He played receiver as a sophomore. In those two seasons at QB for Gilman Prep in Baltimore, Md., he threw for 11 TDs and ran for 31 TDs. He's raw as a passer in terms of footwork. But he keeps his eyes down field when he breaks the pocket and knows the game (his father is Maryland OC Mike Locksley). He's a great athlete who leads his basketball team in scoring and also competes in the 200, long jump and triple jump in track. He's got great leadership skills and expects to compete for the starting QB job at Texas as a freshman.

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Has Texas Received his National Letter of Intent?

Yes

How Quickly Can He Make an On-Field Impact at UT?

If Hill is as good as we at HornsDigest think he is, he could be starting at CB as a freshman. Hill is a big corner (6-foot-3, 190) with good change of direction and better-than-you-think closing speed for his size. Hill has 12 interceptions and 12 pass breakups his senior season at Houston Lamar, which is ridiculous. Yet, as good as he is with the ball in the air, he'll get physical and use his size to come down hill and deliver a blow to ball carriers. The Texas coaching staff wanted to get bigger at cornerback to match up with big receivers in some of the Big 12's spread offenses. Hill fits that description perfectly. Look for an immediate impact.

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Has Texas Received his National Letter of Intent?

Yes

How Quickly Can He Make an On-Field Impact at UT?

Johnson is a big (6-4) receiver with speed who will have a chance to come in and take over the role vacated by last year's leading receiver John Harris. Johnson, of Homestead, Fla., is a natural pass catcher. And he has the ability to high-point the ball and make even circus-style catches. He needs polish on his route running. But he's got a ton of upside and reminds this coaching staff of DaVante Parker, a big (6-3) receiver they had at Louisville, who made an immediate impact and turned into a dominating wideout with 33 career TD catches.

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Has Texas Received his National Letter of Intent?

Yes

How Quickly Can He Make an On-Field Impact at UT?

Wheeler is a physical middle linebacker with good instincts. He's got good size at 6-2 and 225 pounds and moves exceptionally well sideline to sideline, something Texas currently lacks on campus among MLB prospects. Wheeler has a great frame that projects to add weight easily and has the personality to lead from the middle linebacker position. This is a Charlie Strong type linebacker - loves to hit. With as much upside as Wheeler has, look for him to get on the field as a freshman as the Longhorns attempt to replace departed senior MLB Steve Edmond.

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Has Texas Received his National Letter of Intent?

Yes

How Quickly Can He Make an On-Field Impact at UT?

Cherry brings a physical toughness and aggressiveness that coaches covet and teammates feed off. He's ideal as an inside linebacker because he carries a tough-guy attitude and plays with outstanding aggression. In short, he wants to rip everyone's head off and delivers big hits. He'll have to adjust to playing in space against the speedy skill players in the Big 12. But Cherry comes from nothing and has a strong work ethic that has led him to this point. This is the ultimate lead-by-example guy, except that he may have one of the best personalities on the team. He likes to talk - a lot. Look for him to get on the field as a freshman and learn on the fly.

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Has Texas Received his National Letter of Intent?

Yes

How Quickly Can He Make an On-Field Impact at UT?

At 6-foot-3 and 210 pounds, Hager is a long, lean (right now) outside linebacker who could transition to defensive end as he adds weight. Hager has a powerful first step and has great instincts and closing ability when it comes to rushing the passer. There is no hesitation in this guy, and part of the reason is he comes from great bloodlines. His father, Britt, a punishing linebacker at Texas in the early 1980s, is still the all-time leading tackler in Texas football history. The first question Hager asked Strong during his in-home visit with the Texas coach was when and where he could start watching film. It would be a luxury to redshirt Hager and let him add bulk to his frame, but that hasn't been determined at this point.

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Has Texas Received his National Letter of Intent?

Yes

How Quickly Can He Make an On-Field Impact at UT?

It would be a luxury to redshirt Lampkin, a big (6-4, 290), raw but powerful defensive tackle who posted 80 tackles and 16 sacks for Cy Falls in 2014. He was a finalist for defensive player of the year in greater Houston. When Lampkin is dialed in, he shows a good understanding of how to take on and shed blockers and take good angles to the ball. Like most DTs making the transition from high school to the next level, Lampkin will need to be more explosive and more passionate from snap to snap. But all the physical tools are there.

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Has Texas Received his National Letter of Intent?

Yes

How Quickly Can He Make an On-Field Impact at UT?

There's a good chance the No. 2 RB in the state of California and son of former Texas All-American DB Johnny Johnson could redshirt in 2015 with Johnathan Gray, D'Onte Foreman and Donald Catalon returning. But Johnson has some serious burst and the ability to make people miss from point-blank range in the hole because of his patience, quick feet and ability to stop-and-start or sidestep defenders.

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Has Texas Received his National Letter of Intent?

Yes

How Quickly Can He Make an On-Field Impact at UT?

As far as we can tell, Elliott comes in with the best nickname of anyone in the 2015 recruiting class - "The Kraken." Let's hope for Texas' sake Elliott lives up to it as a 4-star safety at a position of need for Texas. Elliott fits the mold of safeties who get recruited by Charlie Strong - downhill and big-hitting with the ability to make plays on the ball in the air. Much like Jason Hall last year, Elliott stands a very good chance of playing early with Mykkele Thompson having moved on. Elliott will have to sharpen his coverage skills, but he has serious closing speed, drives through ball carriers and is tough as nails.

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Has Texas Received his National Letter of Intent?

Yes

How Quickly Can He Make an On-Field Impact at UT?

If Vahe doesn't play as a freshman it will be considered a disappointment. He's that good. If Vahe can handle playing center as a freshman, he might line up there against Notre Dame on Sept. 5. If center is too much, he might line up at guard. Vahe plays with great aggression and wants to put the man he's blocking on his back every chance he gets. He's relentless and has the passion and nastiness that's been sorely lacking on the Texas offensive line for some time. We think Vahe has a chance to have an honors-filled career at UT.

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