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Wednesday, September 25, 2013
Big 12 class rankings analysis

By Damon Sayles

There were no changes in the ESPN class rankings, but wins and losses are determining who the top uncommitted players are looking at from a recruiting standpoint.

As for the top 40, Texas still holds strong at No. 7, while Baylor stayed in the top 20 at No. 17. Oklahoma is No. 22, Oklahoma State is No. 29, Texas Tech is No. 31, and West Virginia hangs on with the No. 40 spot.

Trending up: All eyes are on the Baylor Bears, arguably the hottest team in the country not named Alabama or Oregon. While many focus on the team’s fast-paced, high-scoring offense, more attention needs to be given to the Bears' underrated defense, which has scored more touchdowns (four) than it's allowed (three) this season. While picking up a quarterback is key for a 2014 class with 23 commits, Baylor wouldn’t mind landing a couple of defensive targets. High three-star safety Payton Hendrix (Dallas/Bishop Dunne) and three-star defensive tackle Cedric Johnson (Rowlett, Texas/Rowlett) are two players who have the Bears high on their lists.

Trending down: No team wants a shutout on its résumé, and as uncommitted players inch closer to finalizing their decisions, every top performance is important. West Virginia’s 37-0 setback is a temporary black eye in recruiting, but the Mountaineers can bounce back strong with a solid outing at home against Oklahoma State on Saturday. ESPN 300 athlete Dravon Henry (Aliquippa, Pa./Aliquippa), three-star safety Deandre Scott (Philadelphia/Imhotep Institute Charter) and junior college linebackers Edward Muldrow (Snellville, Ga./Copiah-Lincoln Community College) and Jakevin Jackson (Milledgeville, Ga./Georgia Military College) are among the players strongly considering West Virginia.

One to watch: TCU has a golden opportunity to do two things on Saturday. First, it can get a victory against Metroplex rival SMU. Second, it can put together a big performance in front of a bunch of targets from the Dallas-Fort Worth area. Whether targets attend the game or see it nationally televised, Saturday could be the shot in the arm the Horned Frogs need. Currently, TCU has only nine commitments, high three-star offensive tackle Ty Barrett (Dallas/Skyline) being the latest on Aug. 3. Among the higher-profile players -- in and out of state -- who have expressed interest in TCU are defensive end Myles Garrett (Arlington, Texas/Martin), offensive lineman Braden Smith (Olathe, Kan./Olathe South) and safeties Laurence Jones (Monroe, La./Neville) and safety Edwin Freeman (Arlington, Texas/Bowie). All are ESPN 300 players.

Bold prediction: In less than a week, rising 2015 defensive tackle Darrion Daniels (Dallas/Bishop Dunne) has picked up offers from five major BCS programs. Oklahoma was Daniels’ first offer, and Notre Dame, Baylor, Arizona State and Texas Tech all followed. Look for the 6-foot-4, 290-pound defensive tackle to have a dozen offers by the end of October and as many as 25 offers by the end of the spring.