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Monday, November 4, 2013
Weekend recruiting wrap: Big 12

By Damon Sayles

Texas Tech and West Virginia each scored verbal commitments from athletes in the 2014 class, and in case you didn’t get the memo: Texas is relevant again. Wins tend to make people forget the immediate past.

There were several other updates from Big 12 programs from the weekend, including one 2015 athlete landing his third Big 12 offer. Here are some of the highlights:

Biggest commitment: Although juco cornerback Jamarcus Howard (Coffeyville, Kan./Coffeyville Community College) committing to Texas Tech is a big deal, West Virginia’s newest commitment might be the bigger story. Three-star outside linebacker Xavier Preston (Jensen Beach, Fla./Jensen Beach) verbally committed to the Mountaineers on Halloween, and prior to his verbal, West Virginia had 14 commits -- only four of whom were defensive targets. Preston gives the Mountaineers another player who can help a defense currently ranked ninth out of the 10 teams in the Big 12. Preston joins ESPN 300 Davonte James (Springfield, Ohio/Springfield), three-star defensive end Tyree Owens (Oviedo, Fla./Oviedo), junior college linebacker Edward Muldrow (Snellville, Ga./Copiah-Lincoln Community College) and juco cornerback Jaylon Meyers (North Augusta, S.C./Hutchinson Community College) as a defensive pledge.

Biggest offer: Kansas offered 2015 defensive end Josh Moore (Olathe, Kan./Olathe North), giving him his third offer overall. Ironically, all three offers are from the Big 12 -- TCU and Texas Tech are the others. Moore has a solid frame at 6-5 and 250 pounds, and he could be recruited as a tight end. Moore additionally plays with the desire to improve every game, which makes him an attractive prospect to college scouts.

Best performance by a commit/target: Texas is still hoping to land a couple of ESPN 300 defensive backs in cornerback Tony Brown (Beaumont, Texas/Ozen) and safeties Jamal Adams (Lewisville, Texas/Hebron) and Edwin Freeman (Arlington, Texas/Bowie). If the Longhorns miss on them, they’re hoping to have Jason Hall (Grand Prairie, Texas/South Grand Prairie) play the way he played over the weekend. Hall, a three-star cornerback projected to play safety in college, finished Friday night with three interceptions and returned one of the picks 62 yards for a game-winning touchdown. Hall now has six interceptions for the season.

Most important visit: It’s been said that defense wins championships. Texas Tech could have used some defense in its 52-34 loss to Oklahoma State. Defensive tackle Zaycoven Henderson (Longview, Texas/Longview) and outside linebacker Vincent Jackson (Tampa, Fla./Jesuit) are two four-star defenders who could help the Red Raiders on the defensive side of the ball. Both took official visits to Lubbock, Texas, over the weekend. Texas Tech is hoping to close its 2014 recruiting with a couple of defensive standouts such as Henderson or Jackson -- or both.

Biggest answer: Many were asking if high-rising wide receiver Frank Iheanacho (Houston/Westside) was worthy of his new ESPN 300 ranking. Iheanacho went from being an unranked player to No. 89 in the ESPN 300. If there were any questions before the weekend, they were silenced on Saturday. Iheanacho caught six passes for 77 yards and three touchdowns in a win. The 6-7, 220-pound receiver has offers from Texas A&M, LSU, Florida State, Arkansas, Michigan State, Ole Miss, Mississippi State and others.

Biggest question: Should we read anything into K.D. Cannon’s (Mount Pleasant, Texas/Mount Pleasant) weekend visit to Texas Tech? The ESPN 300 wide receiver committed to Baylor on Aug. 10, but he ultimately chose Baylor over Texas Tech. Was the visit just another opportunity to see the campus and a competitive Big 12 match (Texas Tech hosted Oklahoma State), or is Cannon truly considering a change of heart in the recruiting game?