Monday, December 16, 2013
Weekend recruiting wrap: Big 12
By Damon Sayles
If all eyes weren’t on the Heisman Trophy race Saturday, then they were on Mack Brown's impending resignation as head coach of the Texas Longhorns. Add that in with the multiple junior college pledges to Big 12 programs, and you have a pretty solid weekend of recruiting as we approach the middle of the month.
Official visits and in-home visits were major topics of discussion last week. Here are some of the top storylines over the weekend:
Official visits take back seat to news at Texas
Texas had a plethora of official visitors in Austin, but the visits seemed to take secondary billing, as Brown announced he’d be stepping down as head coach after 16 seasons.
There were some who felt Brown’s news would hurt Texas recruiting. After speaking with multiple recruits, don’t expect a lot of commitment changes. Most of the commits are excited about playing in the burnt orange, assuming either their position coaches or their recruiting contacts are still around -- and that’s something to watch as a new head coach could walk in with a new staff.
Commits such as ESPN 300 quarterback Jerrod Heard (Denton, Texas/Guyer) and ESPN 300 defensive end Derick Roberson (San Antonio/Brennan) will be monitoring the coaching search but are still expecting to sign with the Longhorns in February. Four-star offensive lineman Terrell Cuney (Jasper, Texas/Jasper) said he will stay solid with Texas regardless of the coaching decision.
The one player many asked questions about is Otaro Alaka (Houston/Cypress Falls). The ESPN 300 outside linebacker heard rumors about Brown early last week and said he would consider other options if Brown were to leave. On Sunday, Alaka said he is still committed to Texas and will not make any decisions until after
In-home visits aplenty for five-star Brown
ESPN 300 cornerback Tony Brown's (Beaumont, Texas/Ozen) in-home visit schedule looks like a dream list for many football players.
The five-star shutdown cornerback, ranked No. 11 overall, was very busy last week, as he hosted Texas, Alabama, Texas A&M, Ohio State and USC within a two-day span. Texas visited Brown on Dec. 12 in one of Mack Brown’s final recruiting trips.
All five schools are very much alive in Brown’s recruiting; however, no timetable is set on his decision. Brown is an Under Armour All-American, and while a decision could be made during the bowl game, he hasn’t ruled out a decision before the end of the year.
Juco athletes find Big 12 homes
Sunday was a huge day for junior college players verbally committing to Big 12 schools.
Two ESPN JC 50 athletes are off the market, as cornerback Danzel McDaniel (Dodge City, Kan./Dodge City Community College) committed to Kansas State, and tight end Isaac Ijalana (Woodland Hills, Calif./Pierce College) recommitted to Oklahoma after first pledging in November but decommitting on Dec. 3.
McDaniel is No. 44 in the ESPN Junior College 50. Ijalana is No. 46.
Texas Tech upped its 2014 class by adding two on Sunday. Defensive back Josh Keys (Seminary, Miss./Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College) and defensive tackle Marcus Smith (Highland, Kan./Highland Community College) both committed, and both players will arrive in Lubbock with high expectations.
“I like Texas Tech a lot. I like the coaches there,” said Keys, the nation’s No. 2 juco safety. “Coach [Kliff] Kingsbury is a good coach. He’s making progress in college ball. I like the way the [defense] sets up and the players coming back. I thought it was a great opportunity for me.”
Big 12 out of the hunt for ESPN 300 DB
While the Mack Brown announcement didn’t hurt when discussing the current commits, it may have been a blow to landing the current high targets.
The Big 12 is officially out of contention for ESPN 300 safety Jamal Adams (Lewisville, Texas/Hebron).
According to ESPN.com’s William Wilkerson on Saturday, Adams has eliminated Texas from his list of schools.
Adams officially named a top three of LSU, Florida and Ole Miss, leaving Texas off the list for the first time. Adams said he was a big fan of Brown, and seeing him leave helped make the decision of moving on without Texas in the picture.
Adams has said on multiple occasions that he sees himself as “an SEC guy,” and hosted Ole Miss, Florida and LSU on in-home visits last week. Adams is expected to announce his commitment at the Under Armour All-America Game on Jan. 2.
Decisions coming this week for juco OT, DB
Wednesday is expected to be decision day for two junior college players who could see immediate game time next season.
Safety Kenny Iloka (Sugar Land, Texas/Tyler Junior College) took visits to both Texas and TCU last week, and the 6-foot-2, 208-pound athlete is expected to choose one of those schools. Offensive tackle Dontae Levingston (Harbor City, Calif./Santa Monica College) visited Texas Tech over the weekend and is expected to choose either Texas Tech or Kansas.
Iloka has additional offers from Texas Tech, Memphis, UNLV and others. Levingston has additional offers from Kansas State, Washington State, UTSA and others.