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Monday, October 14, 2013
Weekend recruiting wrap: Big 12

By William Wilkerson

Last week wasn’t full of commitments for Big 12 programs, but it did yield an important verbal pledge for one team in Oklahoma. Speaking of Texas’ neighbor to the north, the Sooners suffered their first loss to the Longhorns in four years on Saturday. A look at why that victory was so important for UT and who exactly that commitment was is in this week’s Big 12 weekend wrap.

Biggest commitment: Luke Hayes (El Dorado, Kan./Butler Community College), who could very well be the top juco offensive tackle in the country, committed to Kansas State on Sunday afternoon. Hayes (6-foot-6, 300 pounds) also had offers from Kentucky, Arizona, Arizona State, Baylor, Kansas, Michigan State, North Carolina State, Oklahoma State and West Virginia. Not only is this a huge pickup for K-State's 2014 class, which now has 15 commitments, but it also strengthens KSU’s pipeline with one of the top junior colleges in the country. Hayes is Kansas State’s second offensive line commitment, along with center Dalton Risner (Wiggins, Colo./Wiggins).

Biggest offer: That goes to Oklahoma and the offer it extended to 2017 linebacker Joshua Ross (Orchard Lake, Mich./St. Mary’s). Anyone being offered anything other than a hall pass at that age is definitely going to get more than the one offer Ross now has. But it was a win-win situation for the Sooners. Ross is the younger brother of current Michigan linebacker James Ross III. So there might be some allegiance to the Wolverines. If that’s the case and he ends up there, so be it. But this shows the rest of the country that Oklahoma isn’t afraid to jump out in front of recruits any longer. Texas already has a commitment from a 2016 prospect.

Best performance by a commit/target: Class of 2015 running back Dedrick Scrivens (McKinney, Texas/McKinney) doesn’t report any offers. But that could change after his 34-carry, 5-touchdown performance Friday. Scrivens had 264 yards on the ground and scored on runs of 56, 4, 6, 23 and 8 yards in a 42-21 win over Plano West. West’s Soso Jamabo, an ESPN Junior 300 RB, had 18 carries for 143 yards, including a 78-yard touchdown in the loss.

Most important visit: Anyone who attended Texas’ victory over Oklahoma. Take your pick: Solomon Thomas, Nick Watkins, Edwin Freeman, DaMarkus Lodge, Jordan Stevenson, Jamabo, Malik Jefferson, Anthony Wheeler, James Lockhart, Justin Dunning, James Proche II, Deontay Anderson, Bailey Phillips, etc. And there were plenty more than that reportedly at the game. They witnessed a Longhorns victory over the Sooners for the first time in four years, and did so while Texas was the home team. That’s significant because Texas was the only team able to host recruits like a home game. There aren’t many head-to-head battles left between these two programs this season, so this victory will pay dividends for Texas more so in 2015.

Biggest answer: Everyone knew the Sooners were going to host one of their biggest recruiting weekends of the Bob Stoops era when OU hosted TCU on Oct. 5. A plethora of ESPN 300 recruits made their way to Norman, including five-star cornerback Adoree' Jackson (Gardena, Calif./Serra) and four-stars in athlete Michiah Quick (Fresno, Calif./Central East), running back Joe Mixon (Oakley, Calif./Freedom), outside linebacker Dwight Williams (Gardena, Calif./Serra), among others. Question was, would any of these targets, or the dozens of others on hand, commit. So far the answer is no. But that’s not to say that any of these recruits won’t at some point. Consider the victory over TCU more of a “planting the seed” occasion.

Biggest question: Will Texas Tech's hot start pay dividends this recruiting cycle or next? The Red Raiders improved to 6-0 with a 42-35 victory over Iowa State on Saturday. Momentum is clearly in favor of first-year Tech coach Kliff Kingsbury. However, none of their 21 commitments in 2014 are ESPN 300 members and only three are four-star prospects. When will bigger names start looking at Lubbock as a potential college destination? Yes, they've picked up three commitments since Sept. 17, but none were the type to shake the recruiting landscape. If this success keeps up look for more names to look toward Texas Tech beginning in 2015.