Texas deep in the heart of Big 12 recruiting


Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin
Big 12 recruiting coordinators joke they can throw a rock in Houston and Dallas and find more potential football players within a 20-mile radius than any place in the country. It's why those areas have become the recruiting center for almost every team in the conference.

An ESPN.com survey (see chart below) indicates that 45.4 percent of all players in the conference played at Texas high schools. Every team in the South Division has more Texas players on its roster than those from any other state.

Both Missouri and Kansas have parlayed contributions from lightly-regarded Texas recruits to become North Division powers in recent seasons.

Missouri quarterback Chase Daniel was ranked as a solid prospect at Southlake Carroll in suburban Dallas-Fort Worth, but never turned the heads of national powers when he was recruited as might have been expected after watching his college career play out.

But the Tigers have also hit the jackpot on Texans like wide receiver Danario Alexander (Marlin), defensive tackle Ziggy Hood (Amarillo Palo Duro) and defensive end Stryker Sulak (Rockdale) to become huge producers.

Kansas coach Mark Mangino has employed the same strategy, clicking on players like quarterback Todd Reesing (Austin Lake Travis), wide receivers Dezmon Briscoe (Dallas Cedar Hill), Dexton Fields (Dallas South Oak Cliff) and Marcus Herford (De Soto Cedar Hill) and safety Patrick Resby (Houston Forest Brook) to help fuel last season's trip to the Orange Bowl.

The survey indicates that seven schools have more Texas players on their roster than any other state. Baylor, Kansas, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas, Texas A&M and Texas Tech all have rosters tilted to the Lone Star State.

Texas coach Mack Brown realizes that he can't keep every top recruit in the state.

"There are a lot of kids that get out of Texas because there's 350 of them and we can only take 22," Brown said. "So there's about 330 that are mad at me every year."

Such recruiting slights have fueled Daniel, who will make his first trip to Austin in a pivotal Oct. 18 game when he faces the Longhorns. Brown and the Longhorns face those challenges from former Texas high-school players every week in the Big 12.

"That's an exciting thing," Brown said. "They always want to prove we were wrong. We knew [about Daniel], the guy didn't lose one high school game. This doesn't surprise us at all. He's done a great job changing the face of Missouri and turning them into a national power. He's great."

Daniel actually never lost a high school game, but who's counting? He was a great Texas high school player who decided that playing at a Big 12 school away from the state was the best way that his friends and family could watch him.

Just like a bunch of others across the conference have done.

Source: 2008 Big 12 Media Guide