The Texas Longhorns had zero offensive line commitments in their class of 2023 cycle before Sunday. But after the weekend's official visit wrapped, they'd gained 1,255 pounds in the trenches.
Connor Stroh was the only one of the four recruits to enter the weekend knowing his future home. The 6-foot-7-inch, 345-pound left tackle from Frisco Wakeland took the charge to get the rest of the guys on board over the course of the visit. He was the first dominoe to fall, and his persuasiveness ensured he wasn't the last.
"I committed right when I got there," Stroh said. "So the rest of the weekend was me trying to convince them to come with me."
Mansfield Timberview's Andre Cojoe, a 6-foot-6-inch three-star interior offensive lineman, pledged next. Then Jaydon Chatman shocked the group when the four-star Harker Heights prospect committed. Finally, Melissa offensive tackle Trevor Goosby flipped his commitment from TCU to Texas to cap off a historic recruiting day for the Longhorns. The momentum has only built since, as Texas received commitments from eight prospects in four days time, punctuated by Desoto wide receiver Johntay Cook II,to propel them to the No.3-ranked recruiting class in the nation.
Stroh was the first from Texas's pivotal official visit to commit and played an integral part in convincing the others to join him, but he certainly won't take all the credit for the massive haul. The Longhorns were leading Stroh's recruitment, but it wasn't until the nation's No.1-overall prospect, Isidore Newman quarterback Arch Manning, committed that Stroh decided to shut down his own process.
"I was really leaning towards Texas, and I was probably going to commit that weekend, but then Arch (Manning) committing just tipped that," Stroh said. "And I think that’s what tipped it for a lot of guys too."
If Manning was the tipping point, Texas offensive line coach Kyle Flood pushed Stroh to the edge. Stroh says Flood has taken an interest in each of the offensive line recruits personally and that they've all spent quality time together, especially over the past weekend. Not only are all the new commits outstanding high school athletes, but Stroh thinks they all have good character.
Flood has made a case for the hottest recruiter in the college game. He helped Texas ink their best offensive line class of all time in the 2022 cycle with seven total commitments, headlined by five-stars Devon Campbell and Kelvin Banks. Rather than taking the new influx of talent as a deterrent, Stroh says he is embracing the competition he will see when he gets to Austin and likes the direction the position group is heading in.
"I’m going to face competition anywhere," Stroh said. "I wasn’t going to let that decide for me. Even before, the O-Line room was severely lacking in numbers so now I think we’re just getting to where we needed to be."
Stroh is prepared to compete for a starting spot, but he's shut down the competiton for his services. He held 18 total offers from Power Five schools such as Arkansas, Auburn and Baylor, but perhaps the one that hit closest to home was Texas A&M. Both Stroh's parents, Nick and Rosie, are Aggie grads, and Connor even spent Father's Day on an official visit to College Station with his family.
But neither parent tried to exert a particular preference onto Connor, instead trusting in their son to make the best decision for his future. When he chose to spend the next four years with the Longhorns, they supported their son's resolve.
"They believe in me and believe I can make the right choice for myself," Stroh said. "They don’t want me going to A&M just because they went there. They would’ve been fine if I went there, but they don’t want the reason I would’ve gone to A&M just to be because they went there."
Stroh's whirlwind recruiting journey is over, but Frisco Wakeland is undergoing seismic changes after a 9–3 season in 2021, their best finish since 2007.
Marty Secord, the only head coach in the program's 16-year history, announced on June 13 that he was stepping down to take a coordinator position with the Coaches Outreach ministry team in Texas. While Stroh says the news shocked the team, they are rallying behind Chan Isom, who was promoted from offensive coordinator, a position he had held for seven years.
While Wakeland's defense on returns two starters, Isom has a bevy of talent returning on the offensive side. Rising junior quarterback Brennan Myer is back under the helm after earning District 5-5A DI Offensive Newcomer of the Year honors as a sophomore. He'll have a returning weapon in three-star senior tight end Tripp Riordan and will be protected up front by Stroh at left tackle and 6-foot-5-inch, 243-pound right tackle Colton Lewis.
As for Stroh, he has a clear goal for his senior year now that he had his college destination locked and loaded.
"Just to have fun," Stroh said. "I’ve worried so long about the recruiting process and now that it’s finally over I just want to go into it knowing I’ve got a place and obviously try to earn that fifth star."
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