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Thursday, August 15, 2013
Big 12 recruiting storylines: Aug. 15

By William Wilkerson

Three of the best offensive weapons the state of Texas has to offer, regardless of class, committed to three different Big 12 programs this past week. Those recruits, as well as a look at a startling number of big-time uncommitted prospects left in the state, highlight this week’s top Big 12 storylines:

Baylor has 'it'

“It” at Baylor can stand for a few things. It could be the new football stadium being constructed on the banks of the Brazos River or the offense that has annually become one of the nation’s most prolific.

Whatever “it” you want to choose, Baylor coach Art Briles has helped build it and the recruits are coming in fast.

The Bears are up to 23 commits for the 2014 class and they, not surprisingly, include some of Texas’ top offensive playmakers.

Their newest addition could be the best in ESPN 300 wide receiver K.D. Cannon (Mount Pleasant, Texas/Mount Pleasant), the No. 5 WR overall, who announced his commitment on Saturday. He joins fellow 2014 pledge Davion Hall (Texarkana, Texas/Liberty-Eylau), the No. 9 athlete overall to make one of the best offensive combinations of any class in the country.

When they get to Baylor they’ll join 2013 signee Robbie Rhodes, the No. 3 WR, and 2012 signee Corey Coleman, the No. 17 athlete, to give Briles his most highly touted group of playmakers yet.

The person throwing them the ball, oh by the way, will likely be 2013 signee Chris Johnson (Bryan, Texas/Bryan), the No. 5 dual-threat quarterback.

Texas picks up first 2016 recruit

The Longhorns continued to show that they aren’t just adapting with the ever-changing ways of recruiting but that they are, in many ways, setting the precedent.

Not only are they off to a blistering start in 2015 with eight commitments, but they just picked up their first 2016 verbal pledge on Tuesday.

That’s right. The program that until a short time ago wouldn’t even offer juniors until they attended a junior day in the spring of their junior year now has a commitment from 2016 wide receiver Reggie Hemphill (Manvel, Texas/Manvel). Hemphill marveled at one of Texas’ camps this spring where he really had his way with 2014 UT commitment, and ESPN 300 defensive back, Jermaine Roberts (New Orleans/Saint Augustine). He’s an early candidate for top player in his class in the state.

This is a win-win for Texas because Hemphill was also seriously considering Texas A&M. Not only that but his pledge should give UT a better shot at landing his teammate, 2016 DB Deontay Anderson, who, like Hemphill, holds a Texas offer.

OSU with offseason victory over OU

It’s a good day in Stillwater, OK, any time Oklahoma State can take something its hated rival, Oklahoma, also wanted. That made Sunday a fantastic day to be a Cowboys fan when they picked up the commitment of two Sooners targets in ESPN 300 cornerback Chris Hardeman (Houston/Alief Taylor) and teammate, three-star wide receiver Keenen Brown.

Chris Hardeman
Former LSU defensive back commit Chris Hardeman committed to Oklahoma State over the weekend.
What made it even sweeter for Mike Gundy and his staff was the fact that the Houston duo, highlighted by Hardeman, who is a recent LSU decommitment, visited Oklahoma earlier in the day.

They were also the fourth and fifth prospects from the Houston area to commit to the Cowboys in 2014. They join Houston Eisenhower athlete Trey Roberts, Houston Clear Lake offensive tackle Matthew Mucha and Pearland (Texas) High School inside linebacker Justin Phillips.

Mountaineers search far and wide

If you think it’s strange that West Virginia only has one commitment from a player from its own state, think again.
The Mountaineers only had one commitment from an instate player in 2013. That was actually one more than WVU totaled in 2012.

In fact, it’s actually long been the norm in Morgantown for the Mountaineers to go out of state for its commitments. The most instate commitments its had in the past seven years came in 2007 when WVU signed a whopping three.

So get comfortable, Amanii Brown (Morgantown, WV/Morgantown): you could be the only instate commitment in 2014.

As for the state’s West Virginia frequently recruits, they include Florida, Georgia, Maryland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Ohio.

With 35 ESPN 300 recruits and 51 four-star prospects, the Lone Star State is again loaded with some of the top talent in the country.

Lone Star State full of uncommitted recruits

Though 80 percent of its top 100 recruits have given their verbal pledge, the 20 recruits who remain uncommitted are among the top players in the country.

That includes the state’s top three recruits, four of its top five, and six of its top 12 prospects.

Defensive end Myles Garrett (Arlington, Texas/Martin), the top player in the state, has kept his recruitment close to his vest for the most part. That should begin to change when he starts taking official visits.

Cornerback Tony Brown (Beaumont, Texas/Ozen), the No. 2 player in Texas, has been a little more progressive but is still a ways away from making a decision. LSU, Alabama, Texas, Texas A&M and Florida State are all in good standing here.

Safety Jamal Adams (Lewisville, Texas/Hebron), the No. 3 player in the state, has Florida, Texas, Texas A&M amongst his top schools.

Defensive end Solomon Thomas (Coppell, Texas/Coppell), cornerback Nick Watkins (Dallas/Bishop Dunne) and safety Edwin Freeman (Arlington, Texas/Bowie) are three of the other high-profile recruits still there for the taking.