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Wednesday, January 29, 2014
Big 12 class rankings analysis

By Damon Sayles


With a week left until national signing day, Texas Tech climbed one spot, and Texas and West Virginia each fell a spot in the latest ESPN class rankings.

Clemson and Texas flipped spots, putting the Tigers at No. 13 and the Longhorns at No. 14. Oklahoma remained at No. 16, Baylor stayed at No. 18 and Oklahoma State remained at No. 26.

Texas Tech switched places with Northwestern, moving up a spot to No. 34. West Virginia, however, traded with North Carolina State and moved down to No. 38. Here is an in-depth look at the Big 12 class rankings:

Trending up: On the last day of 2013, Kansas had 13 verbal commitments. January has been very good to the Jayhawks, and with a week left until signing day, the Jayhawks now have 22 pledges -- and could pick up a couple more soon. Three of the commits are four-star athletes, and two of those three -- linebacker Kyron Watson (East St. Louis, Ill./East St. Louis) and offensive lineman Jacob Bragg (Nacogdoches, Texas/Nacogdoches) -- are ESPN 300 prospects. The Jayhawks focused on their run-oriented offense with their recent commitment from three-star junior college running back De’Andre Mann (Salinas, Calif./Hartnell Community College).

Trending down: Texas once had a top-10 recruiting class. It is now hoping to simply hold the top spot in the conference. Since Charlie Strong replaced Mack Brown earlier this month, the Longhorns have lost five 2014 commits -- and two 2015 commits -- but they hope to turn things around with a big pledge soon. ESPN 300 defensive tackle Poona Ford (Hilton Head, S.C./Hilton Head) is Texas’ primary target.

One to watch: With ESPN 300 running back Donte Thomas-Williams (Durham, N.C./Hillside), many believe it’s only a matter of time for him to verbally commit to West Virginia. The Mountaineers are in front for Thomas-Williams, the nation’s No. 13 running back and the No. 9 player in North Carolina, and running backs coach JaJuan Seider and wide receivers coach Lonnie Galloway have done a great job in recruiting him. West Virginia is the leader, but Vanderbilt is still in the running. Thomas-Williams also visited Florida State in November.

Bold prediction: Texas has 21 commitments, including seven ESPN 300 pledges. The Longhorns, however, might end up with the fewest number of pledges of the other nine schools in the conference. While many believe it’s ultimately about quality over quantity, depth is important on both sides of the ball. TCU, Kansas State and West Virginia each have 20 commits, but there’s still a week remaining until the first day recruits can sign national letters of intent.