|Eric Gay/Associated Press|
|Texas defensive end Cedric Reed will return to play for the Longhorns in 2014.|
Charlie Strong has work to do in recruiting, but the new Texas head coach already scored three significant commitments when junior defensive end Cedric Reed, cornerback Quandre Diggs and running back Malcolm Brown all pledged to return to school next season.
Reed (6-foot-6, 258 pounds) is the most critical of the three, as the Longhorns already lose Jackson Jeffcoat to graduation. Together Reed and Jeffcoat formed one of the most devastating pass-rush tandems in college football this season, with Reed accounting for 19 tackles for loss, 10 sacks and five forced fumbles.
Diggs, the younger brother of Denver Broncos safety Quentin Jammer, had a team-leading 10 pass breakups but did not intercept a pass. Having posted eight picks in the previous two seasons, Diggs (5-10, 200) is more than capable of the kind of bounce-back season Justin Gilbert of Oklahoma State just concluded, where he went from zero interceptions to a Big 12-best seven.
Brown (6-0, 225) led Texas with 904 rushing yards and nine touchdowns. Proving to be especially effective after Johnathan Gray went down with a torn Achilles tendon, Brown averaged 25 carries per game during the final six games of the season and closed out the year with 128 yards against Texas Tech, 131 at Baylor and 130 against Oregon in the Alamo Bowl.
Together, the collection of Reed, Diggs and Brown will have to be the foundation if Strong's first team at Texas is to contend for a conference championship.
Follow Dan Greenspan on Twitter @DanGreenspan.