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Monday, September 9, 2013
Weekend recruiting wrap: Big 12

By Damon Sayles

The talk of the Big 12 circled around the meltdown of the Texas defense, which ultimately led to the dismissal of defensive coordinator Manny Diaz. While that went on, Baylor put up 70 points and a school-record 781 total yards against Buffalo, and Oklahoma topped West Virginia in the only interconference battle of the week.

While Big 12 teams had their storylines, a few conference recruiting targets also managed to make headlines. Here are some of the highlights from the weekend.

Biggest commitment

All eyes were on the Longhorns’ lackluster defensive effort Saturday against BYU. With four-star safety John Bonney (Houston/Lamar) choosing the Longhorns, it gives the program a solid defensive back who can play the run and the pass well -- and Texas needed a lot of help with the run on Saturday, allowing 550 rushing yards and nearly 700 total yards of offense to BYU. Any help at defense is good for Texas, but a revered defensive back like Bonney -- a player whose team nearly won a Texas Class 5A state championship last season -- gives Texas fans reason to cheer.

Biggest offer

Baylor is running out of spots for recruits, but it offered a playmaker in Payton Hendrix (Dallas/Bishop Dunne). The high three-star safety plays with a chip on his shoulder, and his aggressiveness could benefit a Baylor program that’s on the rise.

Best performance by a commit/target

ESPN 300 defensive end Myles Garrett (Arlington, Texas/Martin) and rising running back Xavier Turner (North Richland Hills, Texas/Birdville) share honors here. Garrett, the No. 7 player in the country, had seven tackles and a personal-best 4.5 sacks in a win against Dallas Skyline, one of the nation’s most respected programs. The Under Armour All-American is considering Texas A&M, Alabama, TCU, Ohio State and Florida State. Turner rushed 27 times for 269 yards and seven touchdowns in a win against North Richland Hills (Texas) Richland. A 5-foot-10, 205-pound running back, Turner has interest from Texas, Oklahoma, Texas Tech and TCU.

Most important visit

Oklahoma has two ESPN 300 tight end commits in Mark Andrews (Scottsdale, Ariz./Desert Mountain) and Carson Meier (Tulsa, Okla./Union), as well as an ESPN Junior 300 tight end commit in Bobby Evans (Allen, Texas/Allen). So why are the Sooners still pursuing another tight end? When asking about high three-star DeAndre Goolsby (Derby, Kan./Derby), it makes sense, as he can be used as either a tight end or wide receiver. Goolsby, the No. 4 player in Kansas, is versatile enough to spread defenses, and he’s competitive enough to challenge the already-committed ESPN 300 tight ends for playing time. An even bigger question: Can Oklahoma win over a player who has a Kansas State offer and whose father played for Kansas State in the 1990s?

Biggest answer

The Jenks, Okla., defensive back tandem of Steven Parker and Dylan Harding showed they are top-notch players who ultimately can be major contributors at the college level. Parker and Harding helped Jenks defeat traditional Lone Star State power Euless (Texas) Trinity in Saturday’s annual Southwest Showdown, and the safeties made momentum-turning plays throughout the game. Harding, an Oklahoma State commit, played at safety and a wide receiver. After the game, Parker said Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas, Texas A&M, Michigan and Ohio State are some of the schools that he’s considering. Harding said he’d love for Parker to join him at Oklahoma State, but won’t pressure him to make a decision.

Biggest question

TCU lost a big-time commit in defensive tackle Zaycoven Henderson (Longview, Texas/Longview). Who will they replace him with? Or even more important, will they have to replace him? Although Henderson decommitted, he said he’s keeping the Horned Frogs high on his list and chose to decommit simply to weigh all of his options. TCU, Texas, Baylor, Ole Miss, Florida and South Carolina are the teams Henderson has in his top six. Texas and Florida have yet to offer, but the programs are very interested in the 6-foot-1, 281-pound tackle.