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Thursday, November 14, 2013
Big 12 recruiting storylines: Nov. 14

By Damon Sayles

Can Texas pull one of the biggest trifectas in college football this weekend? Will Baylor land a 2014 quarterback? Kansas got out of a recruiting slump, but can it add more players? And what’s the word on one of the nation’s fastest-rising wide receivers?

Here’s a look at this week’s Big 12 storylines:

Longhorns hoping for ESPN 300 pledge ... or three

Texas has exorcised almost all of its early-season demons.

Tony Brown
Could another Texas win help keep ESPN 300 DB Tony Brown from leaving the Lone Star State?
Nobody’s talking about the BYU loss anymore. Or the Ole Miss loss. Or the sudden change in defensive coordinators. Even the talk of Mack Brown being gone after this year has diminished.

Winning seems to silence a lot.

And it’s surely helping on the recruiting trail. The Longhorns are sitting in a good spot with 24 commits -- seven in the ESPN 300 -- and the No. 8 spot in the latest ESPN class rankings.

However, adding a couple more ESPN 300 athletes to the recruiting class wouldn’t be a bad thing. Texas gets the golden opportunity this weekend to impress three top-25 players in cornerback Tony Brown (Beaumont, Texas/Ozen), safety Jamal Adams (Lewisville, Texas/Hebron) and running back Leonard Fournette (New Orleans/St. Augustine), the top-ranked overall player in the country.

Brown and Adams, along with ESPN 300 quarterback and Texas commit Jerrod Heard (Denton, Texas/Guyer) will be on official visits this weekend when the Longhorns host Oklahoma State on Saturday. Fournette will be on unofficial visit.

Lone Star State good to Oklahoma State

Oklahoma State has a chance to make a statement against Texas on the road. The Cowboys are also hoping to turn the heads of some prospects.

The Cowboys have 71 Texans on their current roster, and they’re hoping to add several more when signing day comes. Twelve of Oklahoma State’s 22 current commits are from the Lone Star State, including four-star linebacker Josh Mabin (Spring, Texas/Klein Oak) and the duo of four-star cornerback Chris Hardeman and high three-star receiver Keenen Brown, teammates from Houston Alief Taylor.

As Brown and Adams visits Texas this weekend, the Cowboys are hoping a solid performance can sway the ESPN 300 defensive backs to consider playing in Stillwater at the 11th hour of their recruiting processes. Other Texans the Cowboys are looking at are three-star defensive end Trey Carter (Dallas/Pinkston) and three-star defensive tackle Cedric Johnson (Rowlett, Texas/Rowlett).

Oklahoma State has always done well with recruiting Texans. Since 2006, of the 184 players OSU has signed, 113 (61.4 percent) have come from Texas. Arguably the most recognizable name of that group is Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant, the No. 29 player in the 2007 class.

Baylor QB situation better than expected

As Baylor continues its stellar run through the Big 12, it’s also quite comfortable with its 2014 class. The Bears have 23 commitments but is without a quarterback.

Baylor was looking at three-star Randall Cunningham II (Las Vegas/Bishop Gorman) but has backed away from recruiting him. However, based on what the Bears currently have, they might not need to take a QB in this class.

Bryce Petty is a junior who could come back if he doesn’t test the NFL waters. Seth Russell is a redshirt freshman. Chris Johnson, a true freshman who was an ESPN 300 player, signed with Baylor in February. And what’s better: Baylor has two players from the Class of 2015 who can play quarterback. ESPN Junior 300 receiver Chad President (Temple, Texas/Texas) is a quarterback for his high school, and three-star Blake Lynch (Troup, Texas/Troup) is a developing dual-threat.

Rising ESPN 300 WR continuing to shine

Ever since wide receiver Frank Iheanacho (Houston/Westside) was added to the ESPN 300, he’s yet to disappoint.

Iheanacho has caught 45 passes for 588 yards and 14 touchdowns this season and Westside is preparing for the first round of the playoffs this weekend.

Once the playoffs are over, look for Iheanacho to focus full attention on his recruiting. Iheanacho has a Big 12 offer from TCU, as well as offers from LSU, Florida State, Texas A&M, Arkansas, Michigan State and a host of other schools.

Kansas hoping for a recruiting jolt

While the calendar has turned to hoops season for Kansas fans, the Jayhawks football staff is still out to land a couple more high-profile prospects.

The Jayhawks only have nine commits in this class. Junior college defensive end Damani Mosby (Mesa, Ariz./Mesa Community College) verbally committed on Tuesday, breaking a nearly two-month skid of recruiting silence for the program.

There are still several players available who can help Kansas in the long run. The Jayhawks are hoping to keep ESPN 300 offensive lineman Braden Smith (Olathe, Kan./Olathe South) in state. Three-star defensive tackles D.J. Williams (Lufkin, Texas/Lufkin) and Daniel Wise (Carrollton, Texas/Hebron) could fit in well, as would juco defensive end Demetrius Hill (Kankakee, Ill./Fort Scott Community College).