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

By Damon Sayles


Baylor needed Oklahoma to top Oklahoma State in the annual Bedlam Series, but when Saturday came to an end, the Bears were the new Big 12 champion. While Baylor didn’t add to its recruiting tally for the 2014 class, TCU, West Virginia, Iowa State and Kansas landed commitments throughout the week. The Cyclones picked up three pledges, while the Horned Frogs and Jayhawks added two apiece.

Here are some of this past week’s highlights:

Biggest commitment: Quarterback commitments are always a big deal, and West Virginia picked up a good one in junior college standout Skyler Howard (White Settlement, Texas/Riverside Community College). A 6-foot, 205-pound prospect, Howard threw for more than 3,100 yards and 33 touchdowns in Southern California Football Association play. Howard, Recruited to West Virginia by offensive coordinator Shannon Dawson, was an academic qualifier out of high school and will have four years to play three seasons. Howard is West Virginia’s second quarterback pledge, joining four-star, dual-threat option William Crest (Baltimore/Dunbar).

Biggest offer: Three-star offensive tackle Robert Castaneda (Round Rock, Texas/Round Rock), a Texas Tech commit, was offered by TCU on Sunday. This is significant for two reasons. First, TCU only has 11 commits, including two offensive tackles -- and one of those, high three-star Ty Barrett (Dallas/Skyline), has excelled at center all throughout his senior season. Second, the Red Raiders have four offensive tackles committed. Castaneda hasn’t wavered on his pledge to Texas Tech, but it’ll be interesting to see if the Horned Frogs can lure him away in the final weeks of his recruiting process.

Best performance by a commit/target: ESPN Junior 300 dual-threat quarterback Kyler Murray (Allen, Texas/Allen) further established himself as one of the nation’s best signal-callers with a balanced performance in a 48-13 playoff win against Spring (Texas) Westfield. He accounted for 364 total yards and five touchdowns in the win. Murray, the son of former Texas A&M quarterback Kevin Murray, has offers from Texas A&M, Ohio State, Clemson, Arizona State and Big 12 schools Texas, TCU and Texas Tech, among others.

Most important visit: It was an unofficial visit, but three-star safety Chance Waz (Pflugerville, Texas/Hendrickson) took in Saturday’s Baylor-Texas game at the final game played at Baylor’s Floyd Casey Stadium. Waz recently decommitted from Colorado and gave his pledge to Nebraska, but he’s always expressed high interest in playing BCS football close to home. Baylor offered Waz on Dec. 2, and many are now wondering if Waz will wear green and gold in college.

Biggest answer: Bedlam, indeed, gave us the answer of who will win the Big 12 championship -- and ultimately, it wasn’t Oklahoma State or Oklahoma taking top billing in the conference, as some predicted at the beginning of the year. The Cowboys’ loss to the Sooners gave the Baylor-Texas winner a chance at the conference title, and Baylor prevailed with a convincing win. Whether that helps Baylor in picking up a couple of last-minute pledges for the 2014 class still remains to be seen.

Biggest question: Will December belong to Iowa State? From September until the end of November, the Cyclones were able to land only three commits. In the first week of December alone, the Cyclones matched that number, the latest commit being three-star, dual-threat quarterback Darius Lee-Campbell (Spring, Texas/Spring). Iowa State has 18 commits, and it is looking to make a huge statement in the final month of 2013.