Charlie Strong, Texas pull off wild national signing day finish

Charlie Strong urged Texas fans to be patient with his 2016 recruiting class. That patience was rewarded in a remarkable way Wednesday on national signing day.

A Longhorns class that ranked No. 33 in the nation at the start of the day moved all the way up into the top 10 after six major commitments, including two of the nation’s top 50 recruits.

The Longhorns started the day with commitments from ESPN 300 defensive tackles Chris Daniels and Marcel Southall, picked up three-star defensive back Chris Brown and pulled off a last-minute flip of ESPN 300 linebacker Erick Fowler, who had been committed to LSU since June.

The biggest wins of the day came with the signings of Brandon Jones and Jeffrey McCulloch. Jones, the nation’s No. 2 safety, chose the Longhorns over Texas A&M and Baylor. McCulloch, an outside linebacker ranked the No. 3 recruit in Texas, followed, picking the Horns soon after. At No. 26 in the ESPN 300, he became Texas’ highest-rated signee since 2013.

Texas did miss on a few top targets, as linebacker Dontavious Jackson (Florida State), defensive tackle Stephon Taylor (South Carolina) and offensive guard Patrick Hudson (who stuck with Baylor) signed elsewhere. But the Longhorns are still expected to receive one more ESPN 300 pledge when defensive tackle Jordan Elliott makes his announcement at 2 p.m. ET.

The addition of Elliott would mean Strong and the Longhorns locked up nine four-star commitments in their final week of recruiting. Texas is on pace to finish with the No. 1 recruiting class in the Big 12 for a second consecutive year.

Here’s the Longhorns’ updated commitment list, which has grown from 11 pledges to 23 since the start of 2016.