Immediately following Oklahoma State’s “Orange Blitz” open practice on April 5, coach Mike Gundy agreed that J.W. Walsh had seized control of the quarterback competition.

But Tuesday during the Big 12 coaches spring teleconference, Gundy held off on naming Walsh his starter for the Cowboys’ opener against Florida State -- despite how inevitable it seems.

“We had a really good competition throughout the spring,” he said. “It’ll continue on.”

[+] EnlargeJ.W. Walsh
AP Photo/Richard CarsonJ.W. Walsh seems to be a shoo-in to be Oklahoma State's starting quarterback, but there have been no proclamations from head coach Mike Gundy.
The Cowboys have two challengers to Walsh in walk-on Daxx Garman and freshman Mason Rudolph, who enrolled early to participate in spring ball.

Garman, who might have the strongest arm of the bunch, progressed rapidly during the spring, but he injured his knee and missed the last week of spring ball.

Rudolph was rated as the nation’s No. 8 pocket-passing quarterback, making him one of the most highly touted quarterbacks ever to sign with Oklahoma State. Rudolph had his moments this spring, including a long touchdown pass in the Orange Blitz.

But Rudolph didn’t make the same splash that Wes Lunt did in 2012. Lunt beat out Walsh and Clint Chelf that year to win the starting job coming out of spring ball as a true freshman.

Still, because Garman and Rudolph were getting significant reps this spring for the first time in their college careers, the possibility for growth is there. That might be one reason why Gundy held off on naming Walsh the starter.

“Daxx Garman, who’s been in our program, had a really good spring,” Gundy said. “Then we obviously we had the freshman, Mason Rudolph, that was here that was learning and getting better each day.”

Walsh remains the overwhelming favorite to lead the Cowboys offense against the Seminoles. That became evident during the spring, even to the players.

“J-Dub has been the most consistent,” running back Desmond Roland told ESPN.com earlier this month. “He’s the first one in the weight room, the last one to leave. First one to watch film, first one out before practice, last one to leave.

“So, I believe he’s going to be one."

But Walsh isn’t the one just yet. At least not according to Gundy.

“Those three guys need to compete,” Gundy said. “They need to put their time and effort in the summer and the offseason and develop their leadership skills during the conditioning with the team.

“And then we’ll let 'em go at it for the first 15 days or so of fall camp.”
Turnovers have been a major issue in Lubbock, Texas, for the past five seasons.

Texas Tech has committed 133 turnovers in 64 games during that span, worst in the Big 12 and 115th in the bowl subdivision. When Kliff Kingsbury took over the program before the 2013 season, he knew it was an issue that needed to be addressed.

Yet not much changed last season as the Red Raiders finished with 33 turnovers, which again was worst in the Big 12 and 119th among FBS teams.

[+] EnlargeKliff Kingsbury, Davis Webb
Kirby Lee/USA TODAY SportsTexas Tech's Kliff Kingsbury and Davis Webb are focused on ball security these days.
After looking at those numbers, Kingsbury’s response to a question about what pleased him most about the Red Raiders’ spring practice is no surprise.

“Ball security on offense was a big emphasis, and it has been the past two years. Last year we weren’t very good at it,” Kingsbury said. “I thought they did a good job protecting it this spring.”

The tangible result of Texas Tech's ball-security struggles was a minus-51 points-off-turnovers margin in 2013. The Red Raiders’ 15 fumbles and 18 interceptions made life much more difficult for Kingsbury during his first season, as turnovers are directly tied to Texas Tech's five losses in 2013. A turnover margin of minus-9 in those games, including a minus-4 turnover margin in the fourth quarter alone, underscores the importance of Kingsbury changing the turnover trend in Lubbock.

Adding to the misery was Texas Tech's penalty troubles. It had the fourth-most penalties in the nation in Kingsbury’s first season with 103 total penalties and an average of 75.2 penalty yards per game. Penalties aren’t as big an issue as the turnovers, as the three teams with more penalties than the Red Raiders -- Baylor, UCLA and Oregon -- combined to win 32 games last season.

Kingsbury knows his team will have to be better in both respects if they hope to insert themselves into the Big 12 championship chase this fall.

“I think when you’re playing the alpha-level teams in this conference, you can’t have those penalties, you can’t have those turnovers,” Kingsbury said. “So we have to find a way to minimize those. As many plays as we [run], you’re going to have penalties but you can’t be at the bottom of the country. That’s unacceptable.”

Big 12 lunchtime links

April, 23, 2014
Apr 23
12:00
PM ET
Played pick-up basketball last night... and lost all six games.
  • Texas coach Charlie Strong is a little too honest for his fanbase, in the opinion of the Dallas Morning News' Kevin Sherrington. The paper's Chuck Carlton got a one-on-one video interview with Strong.
  • The naming of Montell Cozart as Kansas' starting QB was all about timing, writes the Lawrence Journal-World's Matt Tait.
  • Baylor is relishing its role as the defending Big 12 champs.
  • TCU defensive end Devonte Fields has returned better than ever, writes Stefan Stevenson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Lindy Berry, a former TCU All-American QB, passed away at 86.
  • Iowa State coach Paul Rhoads wants a starting quarterback named by mid-August, reports the Ames Tribune's Bobby La Gesse.
  • The Kansas State running back competition continues, according to the Manhattan Mercury's Joshua Kinder. The Wildcats are looking for more out of linebacker Charmeachealle Moore, writes the Topeka Capital-Journal's Ken Corbitt.
  • Oklahoma lost another commitment, its second in the last week. The Sooners are hoping to land this blue-chip kicker. An Alabama transfer offensive lineman chose Ohio State over Oklahoma. Bob Stoops weighs in on whether transfer QB Baker Mayfield will be on scholarship.
  • West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen is a fan of the NCAA’s graduate transfer rule, but wonders if it's going to be reformed, reports Dave Hickman of the Charleston Gazette. Allan Taylor of the West Virginia MetroNews Network addresses whether the Mountaineers receiving corps can regain its swagger.
  • Coach Kliff Kingsbury said incoming freshman Patrick Mahomes is likely to be Texas Tech's No. 2 QB behind starter Davis Webb.
  • Big 12 coaches don't see players as employees, The Oklahoman's Jason Kersey reports.
  • Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy sees the College Football Playoff eventually going to eight teams, according to the Austin American-Statesman's Kevin Lyttle. Gundy also thinks college football is becoming more time consuming for players, reports the Tulsa World's Kelly Hines.
  • The Dallas Morning News wraps up spring ball for Baylor, Oklahoma, TCU, Texas and Texas Tech.
B.J. Finney epitomizes the Kansas State era under coach Bill Snyder.

Finney arrived in Manhattan, Kan., as a walk-on, earned a scholarship, then started 39 games at center for the Wildcats while becoming a first-team All-Big 12 performer. Finney, who will anchor the K-State offensive line next season as a senior, talked with ESPN.com on a range of topics as the Wildcats prepare for this weekend's spring game:

What is the confidence level of this team after the way you finished last season?

BF: I would say our confidence is high in the fact we know we can be a great team. It’s about how hard we’re willing to work to be that great team. We have that athletic ability to make great plays. It’s about playing consistent and working to be that great team.

[+] EnlargeB.J. Finney
Peter G. Aiken/Getty ImagesB.J. Finney will again anchor Kansas State's offensive line in 2014.
What was the difference between the first half of the season and the second when you played so well?

BF: I think the main thing was we took our performance for granted as a team. There wasn’t a whole lot of change from the coaches standpoint, the routine was the same as far as practices, meetings; we had the same game plan. We just didn’t play well enough. We felt like we would play well, but we weren’t doing the things necessary during the week to play well.

How would you compare this team right now to the one that eventually captured the Big 12 title in 2012?

BF: There’s a lot of the same characteristics. Just different personnel. We have the guys that can make the big plays. It all boils down to working hard, staying focused and not taking anything for granted. That team was the hardest working team I’d been around as a whole. In terms of staying focused, developing, improving. We had the belief we could be great, and the only thing standing in the way was ourselves and how bad wanted it. Everything was in place for that season to take place. It just took the hard work to make it happen.

What have you seen from Jake Waters over the last year?

BF: Jake has grown into his own. He’s more comfortable, more confident. He’s stepped into a leadership role. The guys look to him. He fits in with the team very well, the brotherhood. All he wants to do is win, which makes him a perfect fit here.

Who has impressed you this spring?

BF: I would say team has as a whole. We’ve gone back and forth in the scrimmages. The offense wins one day, the defense the next.

Has anyone specific caught your eye?

BF: Honestly, I can’t answer that. Coach (Snyder) says to refrain from answering those kind of questions.

What are your thoughts on the Auburn game? I know you guys have a couple tough games before that, but that would seem to be a springboard opportunity for this team going up against the defending national runner-up?

BF: It’s a great opportunity that sits in front of us. We have a tough schedule, the game before that we’re playing Iowa State at Iowa State, and that early on in the season, that’s going to be a tough game, too.

What was it like growing up in Andale, Kan., which has a population under 1,000?

BF: I actually grew up in Clearwater (Kan.) and moved to Andale the summer before high school. Clearwater is 30 minutes outside of Wichita. But both were small-town farming communities. It was awesome. Everyone knew everybody. All your friends were in town. When people think of small-town America, those are the towns they think of. Everyone was always willing to help out. It was a blessing to have a community like that growing up.

Did you grow up on a farm?

BF: I actually didn’t, but I grew up working on a family friend’s farm. We did it all. We moved cattle from pasture to pen. We worked the harvest, worked the garden. We bottle-fed the calves.

What was your favorite thing to do on the farm?

BF: Probably bottle-feeding the calves. Getting out and making sure the calves were doing all right. Bottle-feeding was always the last chore of the evening. It took almost an hour-and-half to do all the calves. Doing that with my best friend and his brothers, it was a fun time.

I read you’re a history major. What history is your focus?

BF: I mainly focus on history of the United States. I want to be a high school history teacher and a football coach.

I’ve studied everything, Imperial Germany to the Aztecs and Mayans to China in 1,200 B.C.

What is your favorite subject?

BF: I would say anything war-related. The Civil War, the First World War, World War II, Revolutionary War, the War of 1812, the Seven Years War. Anything war related. I like learning how tactics, weaponry, technology changed how everything was won. What caused victories and defeat in battle.

When you become a football coach and history teacher, will you farm again, too?

BF: I would say more of those days in front of me.
AUSTIN, Texas -- Calling Texas quarterback Tyrone Swoopes’ performance in the Orange-White spring game “inconsistent” or “up-and-down” doesn’t suffice. It’s too simplistic a summation of what was really a tale of two performances.

So we reviewed the film. Here’s a closer look at the plays that stood out from the second-year QB’s critical day.

The bad

[+] EnlargeTyrone Swoopes
AP Photo/Michael ThomasQB Tyrone Swoopes showed flashes of his incredible talent, but was inconsistent in the Orange-White game.
We have to start off here only because of Swoopes’ rocky start. Facing a second-team defense, his first four drives as Texas’ QB went like this: Interception, punt, three-and-out and a missed field goal after three plays netted zero yards.

His only first-quarter completion was a screen pass. So was his second completion of the day. When Shawn Watson appeared for a quick in-game interview on Longhorn Network, he admitted Swoopes had “a little deer-in-the-headlights look” early on.

In fairness, his offensive line should take some of the blame for his early mistakes. Desmond Harrison ignored defensive tackle Hassan Ridgeway on Swoopes’ first dropback, leading to an 11-yard sack. In a real game, Swoopes would’ve been flattened on that one.

On the next snap, right tackle Kennedy Estelle didn’t slow down a blitz from the slot by Naashon Hughes, who got good pressure. Dalton Santos did an impressive job of dropping back deep into coverage, leading Swoopes to try throwing the pass high. It sailed past his receiver and into walk-on Dylan Haines' arms.

Swoopes got oh-so-close on two potential touchdown balls to Jaxon Shipley. On the first, Shipley beat Chevoski Collins for an easy third-down TD over the middle if the pass was even chest-high. Instead, another overthrow that seemed more a product of Swoopes’ footwork.

He had a heck of a throw later when Shipley was fading to the right corner of the end zone. Swoopes put it in the perfect spot, right where Bryson Echols and Adrian Colbert had no chance to make a play, but just one yard too far from Shipley’s outstretched hands.

One more play to note, because it came right before Swoopes started to get rolling: The ugly conversion on fourth and 4 in the second quarter. Texas lined up in a power set with two tight ends and a fullback and went with a play-action pass that was well-protected.

But Swoopes looked right and didn’t find what he wanted. So he rolled left and fired a pass off his back foot. He was fortunate Shipley broke off his comeback route toward the sideline. The sophomore QB fit the pass into traffic for a difficult but important completion.

The response from Watson? Screaming. He threw down his headset and ripped into Swoopes, presumably for making the wrong look off the run fake and turning a tricky play into a much more difficult one.

The good

From there, Swoopes got better. Texas found the end zone three plays after the fourth-down pass to Shipley. Then, after a quick takeaway from the No. 1 defense, came the play that turned the tide for Swoopes.

He rolled to the right and all the way to the sideline on the final play of the first half. With Caleb Bluiett in close pursuit, Swoopes loaded up and fired a pass off his back foot that traveled at least 50 yards. The diminutive Daje Johnson pulled it down in a crowd of three defenders.

That, in one shiny nutshell, is what you can get when Swoopes’ raw tools are put to good use. A lucky completion, obviously, but one that still requires a cannon.

The Texas coaches were wise to simplify from there. Swoopes got in a zone by hitting some easy stuff, comebacks and passes over the middle and two bootleg passes to tight end Geoff Swaim. It’s also good vanilla ball for a spring game on TV.

Swoopes ended his day with a magnificent throw. Clean drop, looked off a safety, made the right read and threw a perfect ball that fluttered nearly 45 yards to Shipley. He pulled it down in between Collins and Colbert and finished for the score.

That gave Swoopes reason to celebrate. He watched, waited, even leaned in as he watched the ball. When he knew it was good, he threw up his hands and let out a shout. Plays like that build confidence, no matter the setting.

The unknown

There’s a lot more work to be done here. Watson will work with Swoopes on his mechanics this summer, though he says those fixes won’t need to be significant. He’ll get stronger -- though the physical tools are all there -- and he’ll spend a lot of time studying the scheme the summer.

But how far Swoopes advances by the end of summer and into fall camp will depend on what he puts in. With Jerrod Heard and, potentially, Max Wittek arriving in the summer, and David Ash returning from his foot fracture, reps with the No. 1 offense won’t be handed to Swoopes by default like they were over the final week of spring ball.

This isn’t to say Swoopes will be some forgotten man. Not at all. But if he wants to seriously contend for the job this fall, he’s going to have to master this offense and outwork everyone else.

If his rally on Saturday means anything, perhaps it’s this: Don’t count him out just yet.
Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops' words are a small glimpse into the Sooners’ approach on the recruiting trail, which has helped land them several players who outperformed expectations during his tenure in Norman, Okla.

Heisman Trophy winner Sam Bradford, top-five NFL draft pick Lane Johnson and FBS all-time receptions leader Ryan Broyles are just a few players who exceeded the production of other highly regarded recruits in their class.

“We’re very aware when we see very good football players, and they may not have all the stars or may not fit any one particular position,” Stoops said during Tuesday’s Big 12 teleconference. “But we love the way they play, they’re smart, they have size, they can play multiple positions.”

OU may have found another one in its 2014 class. Fullback Dimitri Flowers, who enrolled early and participated in spring drills, has already started carving a role in the Sooners’ plans for 2014. Flowers could help fill the void left by Trey Millard, a four-year starter and critical contributor.

“This is the first guy in three years that we felt reminded us of Trey Millard because they aren’t easy to find,” Stoops said. “We get him on campus and he’s everything and more than we thought he would be. We’re elated with all the things he can do and how similar he is to Trey Millard and all the versatility Trey gave to us.”

Flowers spent a lot of time with the first-team offense during OU’s spring game before a injury knocked him out of the scrimmage. The hyper-extended knee is not expected to keep Flowers from participating in summer workouts or preseason camp.

If Flowers is as good as advertised he could team with returning fullback Aaron Ripkowski to give the Sooners a pair of quality blockers as they try to match their 223.9 rushing yards per game average from 2013.
Baylor coach Art Briles finally got his chance Tuesday to respond to Texas linebacker Steve Edmond's rantings against Baylor.

Three days after Edmond told reporters after the Orange-White spring game that, among other things, "I really don't like Baylor. I still think they're trash," Baylor's head coach offered a response that was predictably diplomatic.

[+] EnlargeArt Briles
AP Photo/LM OteroCoach Art Briles and Baylor have won three out of four games against the Longhorns.
"I’m not aware of anything he had to say," Briles said in his Big 12 teleconference appearance. "Hard for me to comment on something I’m not aware of."

When a reporter further clarified that Edmond said he considers Baylor "trash," Briles didn't bite.

“Well that’s all right," he said. "Shoot, everybody's entitled to their opinion."

The senior linebacker's post-spring game comments evoked a big response from Baylor players and fans on social media, and no doubt gave Briles and his coaching staff perfect bulletin board material for when BU takes on Texas in Austin on Oct. 4.

Briles didn't think much of Edmond's complaint about how much the Bears celebrated their 30-10 victory over Texas last December. He has been in those shoes before.

"I wasn't particularly pleased at some of the places we weren't victorious, either," Briles said. "Our cause for celebration that game was for two reasons: winning the Big 12 and closing down Floyd Casey Stadium. I'm not going to spend a lot of time being protective of somebody's comments about our program when they don't understand it."

Edmond wasn't reprimanded by Texas for his largely unprovoked comments about Baylor, at least not publicly, but first-year coach Charlie Strong was disappointed by Edmond's comments.

"You know how kids are, they get so emotional and wrapped up in the game," Strong said on the teleconference. "But he's got to be smarter than that. I have a lot of respect for Coach Briles. He's done an unbelievable job at Baylor. Right now, that's the way it is. We haven't beaten Baylor."

Briles does have the scoreboard on his side. Baylor was won three of its last four against Texas, with two of those victories coming by 20-plus point margins. Sure seems like he has won the war of words with Edmond, too.
The Jayhawks went into spring ball with three quarterbacks in the mix for the starting job.

They came out with one.

[+] EnlargeMontell Cozart
AP Photo/Orlin WagnerSophomore Montell Cozart beat out senior Jake Heaps and UCLA transfer T.J. Millweard to start at quarterback for the Jayhawks.
After the conclusion of spring ball last week, Kansas named sophomore Montell Cozart its starter. Cozart was in a battle with senior and 2013 starter Jake Heaps and UCLA transfer T.J. Millweard.

During the Big 12 spring teleconference on Tuesday, coach Charlie Weis explained why his staff elected to make the call posthaste in a quarterback competition that seemed to be wide open going into spring ball.

“What we didn’t want to do was go into the summertime misleading our players about who the starting quarterback was,” Weis said. “After the spring game, which was really practice 15, we did post-spring evaluations with the whole team; I think in the eyes of the coaching staff, Montell had clearly played better than the other quarterbacks on our team.”

Cozart appeared in seven games last season after his redshirt was pulled as a freshman. He never got on track with his arm, and completed only 37 percent of his passes. But Cozart sparked the offense with his legs, rushing for 193 yards during a four-game stretch in November.

Weis indicated that if Cozart hadn’t emerged as the obvious starter, the competition could have lingered into the preseason.

But Cozart clearly was the most effective quarterback in Kansas’ spring game, rushing for 70 yards and two touchdowns on just seven carries. And according to Weis, he was also clearly the most effective quarterback throughout the spring.

As a result, Weis saw no benefit in concealing from his players who the starter would ultimately be.

“We just thought it was in the best interest of our quarterbacks and our team to name him,” Weis said. “What would have happened was Jake would have been the leader in the summertime, then we would have come back [and] Montell would have gotten the first reps. We thought we would have mislead our team while they went through a tough, grueling summer. I think that it’s important for the players to know exactly where they stand.”

The Jayhawks know where they stand at quarterback. And now they can move forward around Cozart.

“I think it’s important if a guy has won a job, he should be put as the leader,” Weis said. “And based on 15 practices, not just the spring game, Montell had clearly won the job.”

Big 12's lunch links

April, 22, 2014
Apr 22
12:00
PM ET
The Grizzlies eventually won, but this shot was insane.
AUSTIN, Texas -- Dalton Santos made his plea Sunday afternoon. By Monday afternoon, his family's prayers had been answered and then some.

The Texas linebacker took to Twitter to ask his fans and followers for help raising money for his mother's open heart surgery. The initial goal was $5,000. The response was immediate and overwhelming.



According to her page on the website YouCaring.com, Mary Vista Santos was diagnosed with a thoracic aortic aneurism that will require open heart surgery to be repaired. A family friend who set up the donation page, Malinda McKnight, wrote that the mother of three does not have insurance that will cover the operation.

On the site, McKnight wrote: "We need to raise money to help her during this time. Even if you can only donate 5 dollars it will help ease the burden. The stress of finances should not be something our friend worries about during this time."

And so the Santos family and its friends went online, asking for the support of the hard-hitting inside linebacker's friends and fans. Santos' initial Twitter post has been retweeted more than 250 times and more than 260 donations have already come in.

The donation total passed $5,000, and then it kept going. It surpassed $10,000 by Monday afternoon, and more than $12,000 by the end of the day.

"We feel truly blessed and honored to be a part of such a caring football family," Dalton's father, Albert Santos, told ESPN.com.

Donations to the family are not a violation of NCAA rules, according to Texas' official Twitter account.


This week's "Take Two" topic: Who will be Texas’ starting quarterback in the Longhorns’ Aug. 30 opener against North Texas?

Take 1: Max Olson -- David Ash

[+] EnlargeDavid Ash
Ronald Martinez/Getty ImagesIf David Ash can stay healthy, he's Texas' best option at quarterback for 2014.
When is the last time we saw David Ash at his best?

There are two correct answers: Either the second half of the 2013 opener against New Mexico State (a team that would go 2-10), or the second half of the 2012 Valero Alamo Bowl to rally past Oregon State.

Texas fans have been clinging to those fleeting flashes of brilliance for, what, eight months now? Those quarters are some of the best evidence that, when everything is clicking, Ash can operate a tempo offense with confidence and creativity.

But he has to do it for four quarters and 12 games if he wants to hold on to Texas’ starting quarterback job.

I don’t doubt that, barring another injury, Ash will be the guy behind center when the Longhorns open their season. He did enough this spring in nearly a dozen practices to show Charlie Strong and quarterbacks coach Shawn Watson he’s the right quarterback to bet on.

The foot fracture Ash is recovering from now is a poorly timed setback, no question, and it prompts skeptics to point out Ash has now dealt with three troubling injuries (broken ribs, concussions, foot fracture) in less than two years.

An Ash optimist would point out this: As a true sophomore in 2012, he was a top-25 passer by QBR and efficiency standards. And, really, it won’t be easy for another QB to surpass him. Tyrone Swoopes should redshirt. Jerrod Heard is better off doing the same. That leaves potential transfer Max Wittek, who’d face three months of catching up this summer, to learn the offense.

As long as Ash doesn’t eliminate himself from the race with another injury, you only need that process of elimination to see it’s still his job to lose.

Take 2: Jake Trotter – Max Wittek

I don’t deny Ash has talent. But after missing an entire season due to lingering concussion issues, then most of a spring with a fractured foot, I’m skeptical of Ash’s long-term health. And that’s why I’m going another direction.

Swoopes showed in the spring game that he’s not ready to be the starting quarterback at Texas, even with a decent finish after a disastrous start. Heard is loaded with potential, but he’s going to be a true freshman.

That leaves USC transfer Max Wittek, who visited the Austin campus for a third time over the weekend, suggesting a decision to ink with the Longhorns could be imminent. Wittek will graduate from USC in May and will be eligible immediately wherever he decides to go. He has two seasons of eligibility remaining.

Wittek might not be Bobby Layne, but given Ash’s injuries, Swoopes’ lack of polish and Heard’s complete inexperience, Wittek could very well be the best option for Strong’s maiden voyage.

Big 12 recruiting update: 2015

April, 22, 2014
Apr 22
9:00
AM ET
With spring football all wrapped up, college coaches are back on the road recruiting from now until May 31. Here’s an update on where the Big 12 classes stand entering the spring evaluation period. Also, remember to check out the RecruitingNation team and follow the On the Trail blog:

BAYLOR

4-star: WR John Humphrey Jr.; WR Devontre Stricklin; ATH Louis Brown; WR Chad President; RB Ja’Mycal Hasty; ATH Blake Lynch

3-star: OT Sam Tecklenburg

Other: OT Maurice Porter

The skinny: Baylor’s class is ranked No. 15 nationally, and no program in this conference has more ESPN 300 commitments than BU’s six. Hasty and Humphrey are perfect fits for what the Bears do on offense, and Humphrey might be the fastest prospect in the state of Texas. After loading up on offensive talent, expect some defensive pledges in the next few months.

IOWA STATE

4-star: None

3-star: None

Other: OLB Bobby McMillen

The skinny: More than two months after landing McMillen, the Cyclones have yet to add a second pledge.

KANSAS

4-star: None

3-star: None

Other: None

The skinny: Kansas hosted plenty of recruits this spring, but still no verbal commitments so far.

KANSAS STATE

4-star: None

3-star: QB Alex Delton

Other: None

The skinny: Delton remains the only pledge in this class, but he’s a good one. ESPN scouts praise his athleticism and instincts but want to see him make some mechanical fixes before he gets on KSU’s campus.

OKLAHOMA

4-star: DT Marquise Overton; TE Bobby Evans; S Jamile Johnson Jr.

3-star: DT Du’Vonta Lampkin

Other: None

The skinny: Oklahoma’s post-Sugar Bowl recruiting moment took a hit when ESPN 300 lineman Joshua Wariboko decommitted last week, but the Sooners are still in the running for him as well as some of the best prospects in Oklahoma and Texas. Wariboko wants to play in college with his younger brother, 2016 CB Max Wariboko, so it might take offering both to get the offensive guard back on board.

OKLAHOMA STATE

4-star: RB Ronald Jones II; QB John Kolar; OG Johnny Wilson

3-star: DT Taaj Bakari

Other: None

The skinny: The newly released ESPN 300 was very friendly to the Cowboys. Jones chose OSU this month over Baylor, Oklahoma, Oregon, Ohio State, USC and Notre Dame, and he’s now ranked No. 3 among all running back prospects. Kolar was a huge riser in the rankings and is now the nation’s No. 3 pocket passer. Bakari, the most recent pledge, was a nice interior addition.

TCU

4-star: None

3-star: WR Tony James; WR Jarrison Stewart; OLB Alec Dunham; DE Breylin Mitchell

Other: DT Joseph Broadnax; WR J.F. Thomas; ILB Semaj Thomas; ATH Tre’Vontae Hights; OT Cody Ford

The skinny: TCU is off to a really nice start with nine commitments, highlighted by pledges from four future receivers. That’s just what the Frogs’ new offense needs. James might be one of the most underrated athletes in Texas, but the same could be said of several of these recruits. Considering this staff’s reputation for talent evaluation, don’t be shocked if a few of these TCU commits end up as four-stars when it’s all said and done.

TEXAS

4-star: S DeShon Elliott; OT Toby Weathersby; OG Patrick Vahe; RB Tristian Houston; RB Jordan Stevenson; OT Ronnie Major

3-star: DT Bryce English; RB Kirk Johnson; DE Charles Omenihu

Other: CB Keivon Ramsey

The skinny: The Longhorns are now in great shape at running back after landing Houston and Johnson in the same week, and Johnson’s coveted younger brother, 2016 WR Collin Johnson, also committed last week. Ramsey made his pledge at the spring game and is another hard hitter for the secondary. Texas would have 12 commitments now, but early pledges CB Jalen Campbell and S Johnny Shaw were taken off the list and will get a chance to re-earn their offers in summer camp.

TEXAS TECH

4-star: QB Jarrett Stidham; DT Breiden Fehoko

3-star: None

Other: ILB D’Vonta Hinton; RB Corey Dauphine; OT Trace Ellison; OG Lio Lafaele

The skinny: Landing Stidham was huge, but Fehoko is another top-50 recruit who followed in his brother’s footsteps and will work hard to recruit for this class. He can play anywhere on a defensive line. Even at 5-foot-10, Hinton is one of the state’s most talented linebackers. The Red Raiders have a chance to put together one of their best classes in a long time.

WEST VIRGINIA

4-star: WR Jovon Durante; S Kendrell McFadden

3-star: ATH Jordan Adams; ATH Jacquez Adams; WR Kahlil Lewis; RB William Cameron; OG Matt Jones; Stone Wolfley

Other: S Kevin Williams; S Sheldrick Redwine

The skinny: Thanks to its efforts in Florida, WVU is off to an excellent start with this 10-man class. The tricky part will be holding on to some of these recruits, especially Durante. The No. 120 overall recruit visited Alabama this weekend and reportedly came very close to committing. That flip could be coming soon unless the Mountaineers coaching staff can convince him to stay put.
The starting quarterback battles remained wide open heading into the spring games at Kansas and West Virginia.

So Jayhawks coach Charlie Weis and Mountaineers coach Dana Holgorsen decided to augment their evaluation of the competitors by removing their protective jerseys.

It paid off for both programs. Holgorsen was able to get a more accurate read on his quarterbacks, and Weis was able to select his starter: sophomore Montell Cozart.

“It was fun watching those guys get hit,” Holgorsen said. “They weren’t making the progress we wanted, and about six practices ago, we let them get hit and the sense of urgency picked up.”

[+] EnlargeSteve Edmond
Evan Habeeb/USA TODAY SportsPaul Millard performed well without a noncontact jersey during West Virginia's spring game, but he hasn't won the job yet.
Paul Millard had a strong spring game, completing 14 of 19 passes for 129 yards and two touchdowns, but the Mountaineers’ starting quarterback competition will likely continue deep into preseason camp with Clint Trickett returning from injury and freshman William Crest joining the mix this summer.

At Kansas, new offensive coordinator John Reagan will bring some quarterback runs into play this fall. Cozart took advantage by rushing for 70 yards and two scores in the Jayhawks' spring game. He earned offensive MVP honors.

“In this offense, the quarterback has to be able to be a run threat as well as a passing threat,” Weis said. “If your quarterbacks never get hit, how do you know how they’re going to react when the pressure is on? The only way you can know is if he gets hit.”

There are pros and cons to this stance. Obviously it’s an silly option for a program such as Baylor, which returns the Big 12 offensive player of the year in quarterback Bryce Petty. There’s no reason for an established starter to go live in the spring game. But in certain situations, such as at Kansas and West Virginia, it makes sense. And not just for the quarterbacks in question.

“It’s really been good for our defense to see a lot,” Holgorsen said. “I mean, how many teams do we face that are going to run their quarterbacks a lot? It’s good for our defense to see it and their production picked up.”

Yet, there are still pitfalls.

“The easiest con is you can always get someone hurt,” Weis said. “It’s the last practice of the entire spring, and you’re going full speed with your quarterbacks. You leave yourself open for a lot of scrutiny if all of your quarterbacks get banged up. Fortunately, that didn’t happen with any of them.”

It’s an uncommon trend, but one that Weis didn’t rule out for the future.

“In the past, very seldom would I let the quarterbacks be hit or be touched,” he said. “There’s a risk/reward. The reward greatly outweighs the risk.”

Big 12's lunch links

April, 21, 2014
Apr 21
12:00
PM ET
A great moment.

Video: Kansas State moves

April, 21, 2014
Apr 21
10:30
AM ET
video

Brandon Chatmon talks about Daniel Sams' move to receiver at Kansas State. The former quarterback could become a key playmaker this fall.

SPONSORED HEADLINES