You saw the first version of the ESPNU 150 earlier this week, and now, we've released our class rankings as well.
Four Big 12 teams made the cut.
Here they are.
Nine ESPNU 150 commits headline Texas' well-stocked early class. Adding five-star RB Johnathan Gray (Aledo, Texas/Aledo), No. 8 in the ESPNU 150, to join 2011 five-star RB Malcolm Brown is a huge step in the right direction. Cayleb Jones (Austin, Texas/Stephen F. Austin) and Thomas Johnson(Dallas/Skyline) are top 35 players overall and the top two wideouts in the state. The pair of Under Armour All-Americans can run, and Jones is a big target while Johnson is a home run threat.
My take: It's not surprising to see the Longhorns here, despite the 5-7 year in 2010 and resulting shakeup.
"You're not going to see too much of a significant change in Texas recruiting, unless you see successive losing seasons," ESPN national recruiting director Tom Luginbill told me last month. "I think you'd have to see a minimum of, not counting last year, another two after this. If you count last year, three total before you see a significant drop."
The Longhorns have nine ESPNU 150 commits, two more than anyone else, which make up over half its class. Having the most historic success in the state that produces the second-most top-flight prospects has its advantages. Texas is reaping those benefits, despite the successes of others around on the recruiting trail. Players love playing for Mack Brown, and infusing his staff with younger coaches full of energy that are even more skilled at relating to his players won't change that.
4. Texas A&M
20 commits, the most in the country. RB Trey Williams (Houston/Andy Dekaney) is undersized, but a water bug of a runner who is tough to keep up with. OLB Jordan Richmond (Denton, Texas/Billy Ryan) is rangy, athletic and should have plenty in front of him to keep blockers occupied in the future with five D-linemen also on board, including four-star DE Michael Richardson (DeSoto, Texas/DeSoto). ATH Bralon Addison (Missouri City, Texas/Hightower ) is an electrifying threat on offense.
My take: As previously predicted, the Aggies' class debuts in the top 5. Luginbill says the strength of the class is in its middle, not its top. That will pay off.
"If you took an 85-man roster and spread it over the course of four years and you have 3-4 classes with 20 guys in each class and the top 4-6 were five-star guys, that's only making up a quarter of those 85 guys, if that," Luginbill said.
Texas A&M is now charged with the task of holding together the class, while trying to add to it. It lost a very good commit in Louisiana native Davante Borque earlier this week, but the coaches will have to keep in touch with those committed to prevent others from following.
"I think that's going to be more of a challenge for Texas A&M than it's going to be for the Texas Longhorns," Luginbill said. "Not only fulfilling the rest of the class, but the challenge of maintaining this level of a class over an extended period of time could be one of their greatest recruiting challenges.
"It's a long way between now and February."
The Sooners added three potential difference-makers at the offensive skill positions and retained the top two in-state prospects. RB Alex Ross (Jenks, Okla./Jenks) is a top-five back in the country with his great combination of size and speed. He could be the next big-load back in Norman. Receiver Sterling Shepard (Oklahoma City, Okla./Heritage Hall) may lack ideal measurables, but this guy simply makes plays and can move the chains from a variety of positions.
My take: Oklahoma has eight commitments after adding St. Louis receiver Durron Neal earlier this week, giving them three ESPNU 150 commits.
The Sooners 2012 class won't be big one, but Oklahoma is in on a number of big-name recruits, namely the nation's No. 1 quarterback (Gunner Kiel) and No. 1 receiver (Dorial Green-Beckham). Expect to see Oklahoma crash the top 10 as usual by next February.
14. Texas Tech
The Longhorns and Aggies are off to very hot starts in the state of Texas, but Tommy Tuberville's Red Raiders are enjoying some early success on the recruiting trail, as well. The class features two ESPNU 150 prospects led by wide receiver Reginald Davis (Tenaha, Texas/Tenaha), a speedy and athletic playmaking prospect. The other 150 member of this class is offensive tackle prospect Michael Starts (Waco, Texas/La Vega), a physically good-looking player with the athleticism for the tackle position.
My take: Texas Tech is fresh off the best class in school history. Starts was a big pickup for the Red Raiders, but could Tommy Tuberville's 2012 class be even better? The Red Raiders are on track to make it happen.
22. Oklahoma State
The Cowboys' class may have come in a little higher in the initial class rankings if ESPNU 150 LB Dalton Santos (Van, Texas/Van), the top ILB in the country, didn't decommit, but despite that the class is still off to a good start. It has three four-star prospects, highlighted by ESPNU 150 TE Dominic Ramacher (Denton, Texas/John H. Guyer). He is a big, ultra-versatile throwback player who can line up at just about any offensive skill position.
My take: Mike Gundy has built up Oklahoma State's recruiting year-by-year since he came to Stillwater, and the Cowboys look headed for another top 25 finish after a very solid class in 2011. He has just six commits in this class, including one ESPNU 150, but snagging Barry Sanders Jr., the son of the legendary Cowboys Heisman winner, would add a sure fan favorite to his future teams.