Tuesday, August 20, 2013
The List: Most important Big 12 recruits
By Damon Sayles
As we inch closer to the start of the college football season, wins and losses are going to be important -- not only for bowl-game consideration but also to keep current commitments interested.
Several 2014 athletes have pledged to Big 12 programs, and it’s up to the conference's schools to keep those athletes committed. Here are must-keep recruits for each team, athletes who can impact their respective classes.
If Baylor can hang on to ESPN 300 WR Davion Hall it'd make an already powerful Bears receiving corps that much better.
ATH Davion Hall (Texarkana, Texas/Liberty-Eylau) 6-foot-2, 194 pounds ESPN 300 rank: 75
Although ESPN 300 WR K.D. Cannon (Mount Pleasant, Texas/Mount Pleasant) is Baylor’s highest-ranked 2014 pledge, Hall, who is also expected to play receiver, might be the most important, as he’s the one who many feel could switch his commitment from Baylor to Alabama. If the Bears can hang on to Hall, they’ll have one of the nation’s most dynamic receiver classes -- and Baylor fans feel Hall will be a Bear when it’s time to sign in February.
For Cyclones fans, this is almost a no-brainer. He’s the class’ only ESPN 300 player -- a top-20 receiver nationally. He’s the Cyclones’ first pledge of the 2014 class, and he’s also the class’ only in-state commit. Losing Lazard would be detrimental on several levels, but the Cyclones are doing everything in their power to make sure the stud receiver doesn’t venture elsewhere.
The race is close between Bragg and Kansas’ top-ranked recruit, ESPN 300 OLB Kyron Watson (East St. Louis, Ill./East St. Louis), but with Bragg gets the nod for playing a critical position in the Jayhawks' run-heavy offense. The center is the quarterback of the offensive line, and Bragg -- a player who is talented enough to see time at all five spots on the line -- can be a leader for an offense with potential.
Kansas State has 15 commits, and 12 of the 15 are three-star athletes. Sizelove is the player the Wildcats need to keep an eye on. Earlier in the summer, his name came up as someone Texas A&M hadn’t offered but had showed interest in. Sizelove can play both inside and outside linebacker, and his size and versatility makes him an intriguing prospect.
Hansen, the nation’s No. 4 dual-threat quarterback, is an ambassador of sorts for the Sooners’ 2014 class. In addition to being the future signal-caller for the program, he’s also the guy who has taken it upon himself to be a leader of the class. Keeping the No. 2 prospect out of Oklahoma is a major priority for the Sooners and something Bob Stoops and Co. take very seriously.
When the Cowboys landed Rudolph on June 5, they won a sweepstakes over LSU, Virginia Tech, Ole Miss and Louisville. The No. 7 pocket-passing quarterback, Rudolph is expected to be the next in line for a program that loves to gather yards and put points on the board. Rudolph showed last season he’s capable of doing that, throwing for 4,010 yards and 41 touchdowns as a junior.
Since Gary Patterson took over as the Horned Frogs’ head coach, one thing has remained true: TCU is all about defense, and a strong defense equates to victories. When Swain committed to TCU over Oregon, Stanford, Kansas State, Missouri, Arkansas and Michigan, it was a big win for the Horned Frogs and a shock for non-TCU followers. Swain can be a defender who makes an immediate impact in the Big 12.
Fortunately for the Longhorns, this spot can go to several different players. Of their 23 commits, 12 are four-star players, and seven are ESPN 300 prospects. Roberson is one Texas needs to keep because of his pass-rushing ability. In a conference like the Big 12, disrupting plays by getting to the quarterback means everything. Look for Roberson to be solid at the next level. Look for Texas to also make sure he doesn’t go anywhere.
Since the spring, Sadler has continued to show that he’s a lot better than advertised. Texas Tech saw something before everyone else, but Sadler’s coming-out party to the masses came during the Texas State 7-on-7 Championships. Sadler has been compared to former Red Raider Wes Welker, and if he performs the way he did at the 7-on-7 tournament, it could mean big things for Texas Tech.
West Virginia WR Lamar Parker (Miami/Booker T. Washington) 5-8, 155 ESPN 300 rank: 230
Remember the hype Tavon Austin brought to West Virginia? Parker has a similar build and similar speed as Austin when he arrived in Morgantown, and the Mountaineers are hoping Parker can be just as dynamic on offense and special teams. Parker brings a level of explosiveness that can put West Virginia over the hump in close Big 12 battles.