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Wednesday, December 11, 2013
Big 12 class rankings analysis

By Damon Sayles

Two Big 12 teams made positive moves in the latest ESPN class rankings. West Virginia cracked the top 40, coming in at No. 39, and Oklahoma State continued its ascension, climbing from No. 24 to No. 22.

Texas still holds the No. 8 spot, while Baylor remains at No. 16. Oklahoma fell one spot from No. 23 to No. 24, and Texas Tech remained in the top 40 at No. 36.

Here is a more in-depth look at the Big 12 class rankings:

Trending up: West Virginia and Iowa State both saw spikes in their 2014 recruiting, but the Mountaineers are the hottest of the two, particularly after picking up ESPN 300 athlete Dravon Henry (Aliquippa, Pa./Aliquippa), the top-ranked recruit in the state of Pennsylvania. West Virginia also landed junior college quarterback Skyler Howard (White Settlement, Texas/Riverside Community College), who threw for more than 3,100 yards and 33 touchdowns this season. Let’s also give credit to Iowa State, who scored five commitments in the first 10 days of the month, the latest being junior college defenders Jordan Harris (Wesson, Miss./Copiah-Lincoln Community College), an inside linebacker, and Gabe Luna (Garden City, Kan./Butler Community College), a defensive end.

Trending down: From a recruiting standpoint, Kansas State is in need of much-needed positive news. The Wildcats haven’t had a new pledge since Oct. 18 -- three-star offensive tackle Alec Ruth (Highlands Ranch, Colo./Valor Christian) -- and only have two commitments since mid-August. Kansas State has 16 commitments and has its eye on a few targets, including ESPN Junior College 50 cornerback Danzel McDaniel (Dodge City, Kan./Dodge City Community College) and three-star, junior college offensive tackle A.J. Allen (El Cajon, Calif./Grossmont College). December and January will be critical months.

One to watch: With news that Texas coach Mack Brown is reportedly expected to resign this week, you have to be on the lookout for several Longhorn commitments. ESPN 300 outside linebacker Otaro Alaka (Houston/Cypress Falls) has said he will consider looking around if Brown leaves. Four-star defensive tackle Trey Lealaimatafao (San Antonio/Warren) has taken consecutive official visits to UCLA, Arizona State and Ole Miss. Whether or not Alaka or Lealaimatafao -- or any other Texas pledge -- decommits is still to be determined, but Brown’s decision is expected to shake up recruiting one way or the other.

Bold prediction: Iowa State already has had a huge recruiting beginning to December, and TCU will see a spike for the end of December and beginning of January. The Horned Frogs have only 11 commits, which means there’s plenty of opportunity to grab players. TCU already has two December commits in receiver Ryan Parker (Keller, Texas/Fossil Ridge) and defensive end Casey McDermott Vai (Raytown, Mo./Raytown South). Among the top players still high on TCU’s list are ESPN 300 wide receiver Frank Iheanacho (Houston/Westside) and ESPN 300 offensive lineman Braden Smith (Olathe, Kan./Olathe South).