Wednesday marks the release of the 2011 ESPNU 150, naming the nation's top 150 recruits. This year, we took a look back at the players who made the past five years of this list and signed with Big 12 teams, but it's time to direct our focus to the players who made last year's list.
Biggest impact players:
No. 21: Tony Jefferson, S, Oklahoma -- Jefferson was one of seven ESPNU 150 signees for Oklahoma in 2010, and shared Big 12 Defensive Freshman of the Year honors. The 5-foot-10, 199-pounder has drawn comparisons to Oklahoma legend Roy Williams for his work at the nickelback spot, and could be a dark horse candidate for Defensive Player of the Year next season.
No. 75: Shaun Lewis, LB, Oklahoma State -- Lewis was the Cowboys' lone ESPNU 150 signee, but he paid off in a big way. He shared Big 12 Defensive Freshman of the Year honors with Jefferson, and made two of the biggest plays of the season in 2010, picking off Jerrod Johnson to set up a game-winning field goal, and picking off Landry Jones for a touchdown in the regular-season finale.
Nos. 83 and 90: Luke Joeckel and Jake Matthews, OL, Texas A&M -- The pair could be game-changing bookends for the offensive line. They were two of the Aggies' three ESPNU 150 signees. Joeckel took over as the starter at left tackle in his first spring and Matthews joined him midway through last season. Both are likely All-Big 12 performers as sophomores.
Ready to break out:
No. 2: Jackson Jeffcoat, DE, Texas -- Jeffcoat, one of the Longhorns' 14 ESPNU 150 signees, showed big promise early, but an ankle injury slowed his development as a freshman. He showed tons of raw talent, and if he stays healthy, could prove himself as one of the league's best pass-rushers.
No. 4: Jordan Hicks, LB, Texas -- Hicks missed the spring with a broken foot after making 21 tackles last season, including 11 in a win against Nebraska. An Ohio native, Hicks could be headed for a big season once he's back to full strength.
No. 13: Mike Davis, WR, Texas -- Davis was already second on the team with 47 receptions, 478 yards and two touchdowns. Coach Mack Brown was raving about his receiver this spring, saying he'd be the go-to guy in his new offense if the season began this spring.
No. 15: Ahmad Dixon, S, Baylor -- With experienced safeties on the roster last season, Dixon had a modest impact (16 tackles, one forced fumble). However, he's moved into a likely starting role at nickelback in Phil Bennett's new defense this spring. The Bears' only ESPNU 150 signee, Dixon offers a combination of size and speed not often seen on a Baylor defense.
No. 62: Corey Nelson, LB, Oklahoma -- Nelson had just 21 tackles last season, but blocked a punt against Texas A&M, the team he spurned for the Sooners on signing day. This spring, coach Bob Stoops called him the best player on the defense. Stoops should find a way to make sure Nelson is on the field this fall.
Redshirted last season, but look out:
No. 142: Justin McCay, WR, Oklahoma -- McCay, a 6-foot-3, 200-pounder, was rated by some recruiting services as one of the Sooners' top recruits. He suffered a knee injury this spring and missed the spring game, but could add more depth to the Oklahoma receiving corps as a big target in 2011.