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Friday, February 4, 2011
Mailbag: Class grades, TT, OSU, UT futures

By ESPN.com staff
ESPN.com

Thanks for the questions, everybody. Lots of good ones as usual.

Rusty Shakleford in Kerrville, Texas asks: Mr. Ubben, enjoy reading your work daily. I was wondering which Big 12 school had the best recruiting class from a standpoint of filling immediate needs as well as anticipating future holes? Overall class rating really doesn't always mean a whole lot. Thanks!

David Ubben: Yeah, generally I'd agree with you. I tweeted this on Thursday, but I still got a ton of questions about my comments about recruiting classes not correlating to their grades. Those grades weren't given by me, they were given by our team of ESPN recruiting analysts. They were also in the context of national recruiting, not relative to each team's individual circumstances.

I hope that explains why some of those grades were low.

Anyway, I think there were definitely some great classes in the Big 12. I don't see much notable about Texas and Oklahoma's class, but the two that impressed me the most were Kansas and Texas Tech. Turner Gill had a ton of pressure to bring in a good class this year, and he's gotten one with a lot of players who look like they could be impact players, and added some good offensive linemen to hopefully help out with depth.

Texas Tech added a lot of speed, and a caliber of player that hasn't signed with Texas Tech very often. The elite defensive players weren't there in 2011, but I think more guys will follow Derek David's lead in 2012. He's one of the nation's best linebackers, and committed to Tech last summer.

So, if you want to talk about relative grades, I thought those two classes were the best in the Big 12. Oklahoma State was probably right below them.


Luke in Heartland, America asks: Why does ESPN still keep posting [expletive] about Colorado and Nebraska in the Big 12 blogs and newslines. Not one of their signees will ever see action as a Big 12 player, nobody gives a [expletive], and it just ESPN look behind the times like usual.

Ron in Omaha asks: David, last time I checked Nebraska and Colorado are still in the big 12. Why the snub on recruiting analysis? Still would be interesting to read your thoughts on those two.

DU: Ha, I can't win with you guys. You might have noticed that Colorado and Nebraska have been removed from our little sidebar on the right and moved to their respective new conference, but the official transition is coming very soon. You won't be able to miss it. It hasn't taken place just yet, though.


Cody in Lubbock, Texas asks: David, hopefully, you get me in this time. Do you think there is a correlation between Auburn's national championship team and Tommy Tuberville's recruiting abilities, given his recruiting success this week at Tech? Obviously Tuberville did not bring in Cam Newton or Michael Dyer, nor did he coach the team, but his presence on Auburn's squad does seem apparent. I appreciate it.

DU: There's definitely some. It's not huge, but there's no denying that Tuberville had an influence. Does that mean "Well, Texas Tech's national title is only a couple years away?" Obviously, no. Recruiting doesn't work like that. Neither does college football. But Texas Tech is getting a lot better, and things are changing on the plains.


Tommy B in Stillwater, Okla., asks Is J.W. Walsh the next starting QB for the Pokes after Weeden leaves?

DU: If I had to bet on it, he'd be my pick. From the quick release to the mobility to the winning in high school, Welsh has a lot to like. That said, it should be a solid competition between him, Clint Chelf and Johnny Deaton. Chelf earned most of the backup reps this year for the Cowboys, and that will be valuable, but you might see (read: hear about) some solid competition for the backup job this year in practice.


Mack Prioleau in Fort Worth, Texas asks: once again, Texas lands a top 5 recruiting class in the nation... With all of their new espn150 and rivals 5 and 4 star recruits, will they be good next year? I am not a Texas fan, but I am just wondering because it is embarrassing for them to do as bad as last year when they have a top 3 recruiting year after year

DU: Well, Texas rebounding in 2011 doesn't have much to do with the recruiting class. It has everything to do with the talent already in place learning the new offense under Bryan Harsin and the new defense under Manny Diaz, and executing it on the field. Malcolm Brown might have an impact, but Texas won't try to rebuild its program in 2011 with these guys just yet. That task is charged to guys like Keenan Robinson, Emmanuel Acho, Garrett Gilbert and the big guys on the offensive line.

What I'm interested to see is what a Texas team with a whole lot to prove looks like. You heard it last week from Mack Brown, there's a renewed sense of purpose in the program, and certainly a lot of anger from what happened last season that should manifest itself on the field. Does that mean wins and a return to contender status for the Longhorns? We'll see.