Big 12: Bralon Addison

Wrapping up signing day in the Big 12

February, 2, 2012
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National signing day has come and gone, and as with any game week, we'll provide a proper wrap-up of the events of the week. Time to hand out a few superlatives.

Top class: Texas

The Longhorns did what the Longhorns do once again: Dominate a state with a talent pool as rich as any in America. The flagship school in the state of Texas reeled in 12 ESPNU 150 signees, seven more than any school in the Big 12, and finished the day at No. 3 in ESPN Recruiting's class rankings, the only Big 12 team in the top five.

Player you'll see next year: Courtney Gardner, WR, Oklahoma

The Sooners grabbed Gardner, a juco prospect, on signing day after he had been committed to Arkansas. Gardner's physical maturity earned rave reviews. For the Sooners, who need big help at pass-catcher positions, he'll provide a big, versatile target to help replace Ryan Broyles, who left for the NFL and left a big void in the Sooners' lineup when he tore his ACL late in 2011.

Best save: Texas A&M

The Aggies got some semi-expected news early, receiving word that Bralon Addison had sent his letter of intent to Oregon. It didn't take A&M long to get over it, though. The nation's No. 18 receiver had left the fold, but later in the day, at a news conference in Dallas broadcast live on ESPNU, the nation's No. 3 receiver pledged to the Aggies. The sweetest part for the Ags: SEC-bound Thomas Johnson had previously been committed to Texas, which is badly in need of receivers.

Biggest thieves: Texas

The Longhorns did a little work on the recruiting trail late, too. Eight of the final nine commitments that Texas received were previously committed elsewhere, and Mack Brown's staff flipped four players between Saturday and signing day. The final one came midday on signing day, when LSU-committed, Shreveport-bred Torshiro Davis flipped his commitment from LSU and sent Texas his letter of intent.

Future award winner: Johnathan Gray, RB, Texas

You don't become the nation's all-time high school leader in touchdowns scored by accident. Gray is the top overall player headed to a Big 12 school and could do big things in Texas' physical attack. The backfield will be crowded at first, but Gray seems like a can't-miss prospect who could perhaps become another award winner in the backfield for Texas, which hasn't had one since Cedric Benson in 2004.

Program on the rise: Baylor

RG who? Baylor's more than just one player, and Art Briles' staff proved it this year. Baylor brings in a class just outside the national top 25 that's loaded with prospects on the side of the ball the Bears need the most help with: Defense. Linebacker Brian Nance and defensive tackle Javonte Magee are among the nation's best at their positions.

The Aggies lost one commit on Wednesday morning, but Texas A&M picked up an even bigger signee later.

Thomas Johnson, the nation's No. 3 receiver, chose the Aggies live on ESPNU, sliding on a Texas A&M hat after asking host Dari Nowkah for his thoughts on where he should go. Johnson is the nation's No. 33 prospect.

Better yet for the Aggies? Johnson was previously committed to Texas before de-committing from the Longhorns last month.

Here's what our scouts have to say about the Dallas native:
Johnson is a game breaking wide receiver with an athletic wiry build and explosive speed. He was hampered by injury as a junior, but his limited duty produced some eye-popping production both as a wide receiver and Wildcat QB. Reminds us of another Skyline WR Mike Davis from the 2010 class only Johnson may be a little more fluid. He plays big and physical. Has a muscular build and could develop into an imposing threat. Is very fluid and shifty with smooth change-of-direction skills.

The Aggies lost Bralon Addison, but picking up Johnson will be huge. The 6-foot, 180-pounder was apparently attracted to new coach Kevin Sumlin's reputation for being one of the game's best offensive minds.

Aggies lose ESPNU 150 commit to Ducks

February, 1, 2012
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Texas A&M commit Bralon Addison faxed a letter of intent to Oregon on Wednesday morning, confirming suspicions late in the recruiting process that the one-time Oklahoma State commit would switch his allegiance once more on signing day.

Addison committed to Texas A&M over the summer, but wavered late in the process.

The Missouri City, Texas, native ranks as the nation's No. 18 receiver and is No. 129 on the ESPNU 150, a list of the nation's top 150 prospects. He was the No. 20 player in the state of Texas.

Last-minute flips are part of signing day. Sometimes it works out well. Texas A&M, though, suffered the biggest loss early.

The Ducks also swiped three-star receiver Chance Allen, another Missouri City, Texas, native, who had been committed to Oklahoma State since Jan. 20. He was the nation's No. 141 receiver.

Chat: Stoops, playoff, more

January, 17, 2012
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Thanks for all the questions today. Here's the full transcript.

And if you want to make an appearance in a later mailbag, here's where you can reach me.

And now, for a few highlights:
Ryan (MO): What do you think would help our defense become great again? Is Mike S. coming back going to make it better?

David Ubben: Yeah, that could help. Clearly, Mike Stoops is a coach who has learned a lot as a head coach. How long he'll be back at Oklahoma is anyone's guess, but defensive improvement seems likely. I don't know how "great" an Oklahoma defense is going to be in the offense-heavy Big 12, but it can be better. It doesn't need to be much better for OU to win big. The key in this league, more than anything, is limiting big plays. OU had big issues in that area.

alan (stillwatet): hey ubbs, i was driving around campus and saw that they are building the practice facility for OSU. My question is do the practice facilities really make a difference or is it more of a recruiting thing?

David Ubben: Well, in OSU's case, it'll be a big help. Tech, too, if they can get an indoor facility of their own. It helps in recruiting, but mostly, it's a lack of headache. When the weather's bad, OSU has to alter their practice schedule. Not many others in the Big 12 has to deal with that. Tech can use the indoor facility at Frenship High, but not all the time. It's a headache and a runaround to get players in the loop. Now, for OSU, that headache is about to go away.

Wade (San Diego): If the Big 12 decided to go to 14 teams, which 4 teams would you add?

David Ubben: Nebraska, Missouri, Texas A&M, Colorado.

Connor R (Beamont, TX): I just want to know what it is that you do not see in David Ash? That being said, was the decision for Texas not to pursue the JuCo quarterback a good one or a bad one? My money is on the negative but let's hope I'm wrong.

David Ubben: He didn't show a lot this year to make people believe he can be a special QB like you need in the Big 12. That said, I do buy into the theory that his growth was stunted by a lack of reps in spring and fall camp, as well as limited work in summer 7-on-7. That'll change this offseason. We'll know just how good David Ash can be about halfway through his sophomore year. He doesn't need to be great, but he needs to show a lot more than he did this year.

Mark L (Saint Louis, MO): Hey Ubbs love your commentary, i have one question to ask. I know people are down on THE MISSOURI TIGERS. Do you think with the team they have are they going to finish near the top, middle or the bottom and why.

David Ubben: Meh, I don't think too many people are down on them. I think Mizzou's got a great chance to be a big contender in the SEC East next year. They'll probably be the third-best team in the division right away, but UGA and USC aren't teams that will completely outclass Mizzou or require Mizzou to go 11-1 to win the division. 9-3 might win it. The Tigers will be right there immediately. In the long run, however, I think Mizzou might be in for some lean years as its recruiting philosophy shifts.

Candice (Tulsa): Why do you think OSU's recruiting isn't sky rocketing after their successful year? What do you think they can do to change it?

David Ubben: Usually a season like this takes a year to sort of grab hold on the recruiting trail and show some dividends. We'll see what the 2013 class looks like. OSU was pretty good last year, though. Cowboys fans have to be a little disappointed with an underwhelming class that was good early, but they lost a few commits like Kendall Sanders and Bralon Addison that would have probably put this class near the top 25.

george (Baton Rouge): Dear Big 12, please take Les Miles back

David Ubben: LOLSU.

Steve (Austin, TX): What do you think the chances are that Texas is able to steal DGB away from Arkansas?

David Ubben: I will say this and only this, re: DGB: I will be shocked if he goes to Texas.

Chris (DC): What are your thoughts on a potential plus-one? Do you think this would help or hurt the Big XII? Would you want a seeded plus-one (basically, a 4-team playoff) or just an extra game after the current BCS bowls (play the BCS bowls minus the NCG, rerank the teams, then have 1 vs 2)?

David Ubben: I love the idea. I had sort of given up on a playoff and stopped being emotionally invested, but now that there's some momentum in making it a reality, I want it badly. I don't think it has a huge effect on the Big 12 either way. It'll come down to beating the SEC. I like the idea of playing the first round of semifinals the week after championship weekend, and sending the losers to the bowls with a four-team playoff at the end of the bowls.

Matt (Dallas): Does Art Briles have another QB phenom recruit in the wings that he's managed to keep a secret so far?

David Ubben: Well, if he told us he'd have to kill us, right?

Seems like he'll throw him out there and everybody will rip on Texas for not having him like always. Won't be next year, though. Seems like Baylor's about to be Nick Florence's team. Showed some nice things in the win over Tech this year. Much improved from a guy that struggled in 2009.

Updated 2012 Big 12 recruiting scorecard

December, 20, 2011
12/20/11
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So, the season gets, you know, kind of crazy. It's unrelenting, and recruiting plummets in priority. Thus, we haven't had a recruiting update since before the season.

Time to update.

Signing Day is less than two months away, and here's where each Big 12 team sits as we hit the recruiting home stretch before the big day in February.

All commit totals, rankings and stars via ESPN Recruiting, which updated its national recruiting rankings this week.

1. Texas Longhorns

National ranking: No. 1
Total commits: 25
ESPNU 150 commits: 10
Key commits: RB Johnathan Gray, DT Malcom Brown, WR Cayleb Jones, QB Connor Brewer
Class notes: Four of Texas' top five commits are skill position players, a huge need for the Longhorns. They're one of a handful of schools still chasing one of the nation's top recruits, too, receiver Dorial Green-Beckham. Gray will come to Texas as the Gatorade National Player of the Year. Texas also has two juco transfers coming next year, OT Donald Hawkins and DT Brandon Moore, a rarity for the Longhorns.

2. Texas A&M Aggies

National ranking: No. 8
Total commits: 22
ESPNU 150 commits: 4
Key commits: OLB Jordan Richmond, RB Trey Williams, ATH Bralon Addison, QB Matt Davis
Class notes: Texas A&M's class is being spearheaded by Davis, who's spreading the "Agg Swagg Movement" via social media, and Texas A&M will enter the SEC with one of its best classes in recent history. It's a deep class, too. Eleven of the 22 commits earned four-star status on ESPN.

3. Oklahoma Sooners

National ranking: No. 9
Total commits: 17
ESPNU 150 commits: 5
Key commits: RB Alex Ross, WR Sterling Shepard, WR Durron Neal, OL Ty Darlington
Class notes: The Sooners are after DGB, too, but may have a sudden big need at running back after a handful of transfers over the past few months. ESPNU 150 signee from 2010 Trey Metoyer, a receiver, is expected to be in Norman next year after spending a year at Hargrave Military Academy. He'll offer some nice help, but will Landry Jones be throwing him the ball?

4. Texas Tech Red Raiders

National ranking: No. 17
Total commits: 22
ESPNU 150 commits: 3
Key commits: WR Reginald Davis, WR Dominique Wheeler, OT Michael Starts, QB Clayton Nicholas
Class notes: The Red Raiders added five commits since our last update, but Davis, Wheeler and Starts should all be nice pickups and additions to an offense that lacked a big-play threat this year when Darrin Moore was battling injuries. Tech is also adding five juco transfers, including two more receivers and a pair of pass-rushers.

5. Oklahoma State Cowboys

Total commits: 16
ESPNU 150 commits: 1
Key commits: TE Dominic Ramacher, OLB Jeremiah Tshimanga, QB Wes Lunt
Class notes: Texas swiped CB Kendall Sanders with a late recruiting push, following a few high-profile former OSU commits to go elsewhere. This year's class won't make many headlines, but it'll be interesting to see if the 2011 Big 12 title pays off in the 2013 recruiting class. OSU knows definitively now that it can be better than OU and Texas. Lunt, an Illinois native, is an uber-productive dual-threat. Former blue-chipper Calvin Barnett, a DT from Tulsa, spurned OSU for Arkansas on Signing Day 2010, but he's committed this year via junior college.

6. Baylor Bears

Total commits: 19
ESPNU 150 commits: 0
Key commits: ATH Corey Coleman, OT Kyle Fuller, CB Terrell Burt, WR Kiante' Griffin
Class notes: Baylor added a handful of recruits just before the season to reach 18 commits, and added just one commit over the course of the season. Baylor's grabbed big-time recruits like Ahmad Dixon and Kendall Wright in the past that have been productive, but there's no big name in this class just yet.

7. Missouri Tigers

Total commits: 15
ESPNU 150 commits: 0
Key commits: DT Donald Hopkins, QB Maty Mauk, ILB Donavin Newsom
Class notes: Missouri is chasing DGB too, but the story this season has been class attrition for the Tigers. They were in the top 20 but lost ESPNU 150 commit Evan Boehm, who decommitted. The Tigers fell out of the top 25 and fell behind Oklahoma State and Baylor. Running back Jonathan Williams took his four stars to Arkansas and OT Germain Ifedi moved to fellow future SEC member Texas A&M. Mauk, Hopkins and Newsom are the only remaining four-star recruits in the class.

8. Iowa State Cyclones

Total commits: 20
ESPNU 150 commits: 0
Key commits: OT Daniel Burton WR P.J. Harris, WR Quan West, QB Grant Rohach
Class notes: The Cyclones added 11 commits since our last update. Three of the Cyclones top four commits are offensive skill position players, but Burton is the class' top commit. He committed on Sept. 29. A second QB, Luke Knott, committed way back in April. His older brother, Jake Knott, is a star linebacker for the Cyclones. Paul Rhoads' 10-year contract extension could help on the recruiting trail next year, too, offering parents some security that he'll still be coaching their sons for their whole careers. ISU has no four-star commits, but eight three-stars.

9. Kansas State Wildcats

Total commits: 11
ESPNU 150 commits: 0
Key commits: WR Vernon Vaughn, DT Travis Britz, RB Jarvis Leverett, QB Tavarius Bender
Class notes: Kansas State added four commits since our preseason update. Seven of the commits are three-stars and just one is committed via junior college. Two commits are unranked.

10. Kansas Jayhawks

Total commits: 8
ESPNU 150 commits: 0
Key commits: QB Seth Russell, TE Jordan Smith, OG Brian Beckmann
Class notes: ATH Bilal Marshall and DE De'Jon Wilson are no longer committed and new Kansas coach Charlie Weis has his work cut out for him. He says he doesn't want to be under scholarship numbers, but he doesn't want to offer guys just to fill scholarships with bodies. It'll be a tough balance. He's got catching up to do. WR Tre Parmalee and DT Keon Stowers are Weis' first two commits.

The Big 12 recruiting scorecard for 2012

August, 18, 2011
8/18/11
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It's mid-August. The season starts in two weeks and signing day is a little more than five months away. We are more than halfway through the recruiting season and here's how the Big 12 classes for 2012 look.

We'll try to offer a monthly scoreboard update between now and signing day next February. There hasn't been a ton of shifting and activity since our last update in July, but here's a look at where we stand now.

All numbers are courtesy of ESPNU Recruiting. You can see them by clicking on each team for more on each class. The teams are ranked below.

Very nice showing for the Big 12 so far, with six of the 10 teams in the league ranked in ESPN's top 25 class rankings, including fish-in-barrel shooters Texas, which tops the national recruiting rankings.

1. Texas Longhorns
National ranking: No. 1
Total commits: 18
ESPNU 150 commits: 9
Key commits: RB Johnathan Gray, DT Malcom Brown, WR Cayleb Jones, QB Connor Brewer
Personnel notes: Seven of the Longhorns' commits are offensive players, nine are on defense and another is designated as an athlete. Four of the top five commits, however, are skill-position players. Texas also has kicker Nick Jordan (No. 8 nationally) committed.

2. Texas A&M Aggies
National ranking: No. 8
Total commits: 21
ESPNU 150 commits: 4
Key commits: OLB Jordan Richmond, RB Trey Williams, ATH Bralon Addison, QB Matt Davis
Personnel notes: The Aggies swiped Addison from Oklahoma State and gave themselves four commits who are designated as athletes. Eight of their other commits are on defense and nine play offense. Davis was recently added to the ESPNU150 as the nation's No. 7 quarterback.

3. Oklahoma Sooners
National ranking: No. 10
Total commits: 12
ESPNU 150 commits: 4
Key commits: RB Alex Ross, WR Sterling Shepard, WR Durron Neal, OL Ty Darlington
Personnel notes: The Sooners are still after Dorial Green-Beckham, the nation's No. 1 receiver and No. 3 overall prospect. Oklahoma's class has just two defensive players and one athlete, Daniel Brooks. The other seven commits play offense. The Sooners swiped Neal from Missouri, where the in-state Tigers were hoping to add him to their 2012 fold. OU missed out on QB Gunner Kiel to former coordinator Kevin Wilson, who convinced Kiel to commit to in-state Indiana.

4. Texas Tech Red Raiders
National ranking: No. 15
Total commits: 17
ESPNU 150 commits: 3
Key commits: WR Reginald Davis, WR Dominique Wheeler, OT Michael Starts, OT Christian Okafor
Personnel notes: Davis and Wheeler could offer a big talent upgrade at the skill positions in the future. Nine commits play offense, two are athletes and six play defense.

5. Missouri Tigers
National ranking: No. 18
Total commits: 15
ESPNU 150 commits: 1
Key commits: OG Evan Boehm, DT Donald Hopkins, QB Maty Mauk, OT Germain Ifedi,
Personnel notes: Hopkins was a top addition for the class, which would get a huge boost with the addition of Green-Beckham. The class includes seven defenders (four linebackers) and five offensive players, with two of the top four commits being offensive linemen. Mauk and Boehm allowed the Tigers to jump into the top 25 class rankings and leapfrog Oklahoma State over the summer.

6. Oklahoma State Cowboys
Total commits: 11
ESPNU 150 commits: 1
Key commits: TE Dominic Ramacher, CB Kendall Sanders, OLB Jeremiah Tshimanga, OT Timothy Hines
Personnel notes: Oklahoma State added four commitments since our last update to a class that features four defenders, four offensive linemen and three offensive skill position players.

7. Baylor Bears
Total commits: 18
ESPNU 150 commits: 0
Key commits: ATH Corey Coleman, CB Terrell Burt, WR Kiante' Griffin, LB Kendall Ehrlich
Personnel notes: Baylor's seen the biggest jump in the past month, adding six commits to its class. Art Briles' 2012 class currently has three athletes, 10 defenders and five offensive players.

8. Iowa State Cyclones
Total commits: 9
ESPNU 150 commits: 0
Key commits: WR P.J. Harris, WR Quan West, DE Mitchell Meyers, QB Grant Rohach
Personnel notes: The Cyclones added a string of a couple players earlier this month with a handful of commits in just a few days. The class now consists of two receivers, two quarterbacks (including Luke Knott, the younger brother of LB Jake Knott), a running back and four defenders.

9. Kansas State Wildcats
Total commits: 7
ESPNU 150 commits: 0
Key commits: WR Vernon Vaughn, DT Travis Britz, QB Tay Bender, OG Aderius Epps
Personnel notes: Kansas State added two commits since our July update. The Wildcats have three defensive commits, and four offensive commits.

10. Kansas Jayhawks
Total commits: 6
ESPNU 150 commits: 0
Key commits: QB Seth Russell, ATH Bilal Marshall, DE De'Jon Wilson, OG Brian Beckmann
Personnel notes: Kansas added three commits since our July update, including Russell, a quarterback. The class now consists of two athletes, two offensive players and two defenders.

Big 12 recruiting -- 2012 classes take shape

July, 18, 2011
7/18/11
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It's mid-July. The season starts in six weeks and signing day is a little more than six months away. We are now almost halfway through the recruiting season and here's how the Big 12 classes for 2012 look.

We'll try to offer a monthly scoreboard update between now and signing day next February. There's been plenty of shifting and activity since our last update in June.

All numbers are courtesy ESPNU recruiting pages. You can see them by clicking on each team for more on each class. The teams are ranked below.

Very nice showing for the Big 12 so far, with six of the 10 teams in the league ranked in ESPN's top 25 class rankings, including fish-in-barrel shooters Texas, who top the national recruiting rankings.

1. Texas Longhorns
National ranking: No. 1
Total commits: 18
ESPNU 150 commits: 9
Key commits: RB Johnathan Gray, DT Malcom Brown, WR Cayleb Jones, QB Connor Brewer
Personnel notes: Seven of the Longhorns' commits are offensive players, nine are on defense and another is designated as an athlete. Four of the top five commits, however, are skill-position players. Texas also has kicker Nick Jordan (No. 8 nationally) committed.

2. Texas A&M Aggies
National ranking: No. 4
Total commits: 20
ESPNU 150 commits: 3
Key commits: OLB Jordan Richmond, RB Trey Williams, ATH Bralon Addison, ATH Matt Davis
Personnel notes: The Aggies swiped Addison from Oklahoma State and gave themselves four commits that are designated as athletes. Eight of their other commits are on defense, and nine play offense. Quarterback Trevor Knight recently switched to Oklahoma, but Davis is expected to play QB for the Aggies.

3. Oklahoma Sooners
National ranking: No. 12
Total commits: 11
ESPNU 150 commits: 4
Key commits: RB Alex Ross, WR Sterling Shepard, WR Durron Neal, OL Ty Darlington
Personnel notes: The Sooners recently added Knight, a quarterback, but would still love to add receiver Dorial Green-Beckham, the nation's No. 1 receiver and No. 3 overall prospect. Oklahoma's class has just two defensive players and one athlete, Daniel Brooks. The other eight commits play offense. The Sooners swiped Neal from Missouri, where the in-state Tigers were hoping to add him to their 2012 fold.

4. Texas Tech Red Raiders
National ranking: No. 14
Total commits: 16
ESPNU 150 commits: 3
Key commits: WR Reginald Davis, WR Dominique Wheeler, OT Michael Starts, OT Christian Okafor
Personnel notes: Wheeler is the class's top commit, but David and Starts are the other two ESPNU 150 prospects. Nine commits play offense, two are athletes and five play defense.

5. Missouri Tigers
National ranking: No. 19
Total commits: 12
ESPNU 150 commits: 1
Key commits: OG Evan Boehm, QB Maty Mauk, OT Germain Ifedi, ILB Donavin Newsom
Personnel notes: The Tigers beat out Oklahoma for in-state prospect Boehm, and would like to do the same with Green-Beckham. But for now, the class includes seven defenders (four linebackers) and five offensive players, with two of the top three commits being offensive linemen. Mauk (No. 14 QB nationally) was a recent addition. Mauk and Boehm allowed the Tigers to jump into the most recent top 25 class rankings and leapfrog Oklahoma State.

6. Oklahoma State Cowboys
National ranking: No. 24
Total commits: 7
ESPNU 150 commits: 1
Key commits: TE Dominic Ramacher, CB Kendall Sanders, OLB Jeremiah Tshimanga, OT Timothy Hines
Personnel notes: OSU has had a rash of decommitments, including two from ESPNU 150 listers Dalton Santos and Bralon Addison. The current class is headlined by Ramacher, one of four offensive players in the class. Two of the three defenders are cornerbacks. OSU also added a quarterback since our last update, 6-foot-4 Wes Lunt of Rochester (Ill.).

7. Baylor Bears
Total commits: 12
ESPNU 150 commits: 0
Key commits: ATH Corey Coleman, CB Terrell Burt, WR Kiante' Griffin, ATH Terrence Singleton
Personnel notes: The Bears have three athletes in the group, five offensive commits and four defenders, including three defensive backs. Quarterback Jared Johnson was a high-profile recent pickup.

8. Iowa State Cyclones
Total commits: 6
ESPNU 150 commits: 0
Key commits: WR Quan West, DE Mitchell Meyers, QB Grant Rohach, RB Barkley Hill
Personnel notes: The Cyclones have a second QB in Luke Knott, the younger brother of star linebacker Jake Knott, and four of the six commits are skill position players. The Cyclones also have a pair of defenders, with no offensive linemen currently committed.

9. Kansas State Wildcats
Total commits: 5
ESPNU 150 commits: 0
Key commits: WR Vernon Vaughn, DT Travis Britz, QB Tay Bender, ILB Will Davis
Personnel notes: The Wildcats have three defensive commits, and both offensive commits are skill position players.

10. Kansas Jayhawks
Total commits: 3
ESPNU 150 commits: 0
Key commits: CB Daniel Gray, OG Brian Beckmann, ATH Derek Keaton
Personnel notes: Turner Gill set the bar high with his first full class in Lawrence, and will need a late charge to surpass a fantastic effort in 2011 on the recruiting trail.

Mailbag: Preseason hype, recruiting, '04 title

June, 15, 2011
6/15/11
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Thanks for all the questions, everybody. Didn't get yours answered? Try again with a more interesting one.

Jon D in Davis, Calif., asks: Other than trying to pad his legacy or résumé, I cannot believe that Tuberville is being serious about his comments and the vacated 2004 title. Auburn should be the champ? Is he nuts? Was that not the same year that Auburn had the 90th-100th toughest schedule in the country? His comments make about as much sense as that hack that runs Ohio State and spews garbage out of his mouth "little sisters of the poor." We all saw how Wisconsin and the Big 10 handled that little sister TCU.

David Ubben: I can't believe people have a problem with him campaigning for it. As a lover of college football, I'd like to see it remain vacated if for no other reason than awarding it to someone else doesn't do very much and cheapens the title for the program that gets it.

But imagine if it was your school or in Tuberville's case, your team. Criticize the nonconference schedule all you'd like, it cost them a spot in the national championship. But the Tigers still made it through the SEC undefeated, and went 13-0 with five wins against top 15 teams. That's a national championship-caliber résumé. Tuberville's campaign is futile, but that doesn't mean it's misguided. I'd probably do the same thing if I were in his shoes.

Rob in St. Peters, Mo., asks: Why is aTm getting more preseason love than Missouri? Does nobody remember the beating that the Tigers gave them @ Kyle Field last season?

DU: Here's the thing: I've realized over time that fans have a very warped perception of a team based on how it played against them the previous year.

I saw A&M play in person four times last year, and watched their entire games on a few other occasions. I'll be clear about this: That was the worst performance the Aggies had last year by a wide, wide margin. It's the same reason why all my friends from Arkansas thought they were going to roll the Aggies in 2010. I disagreed then, too.

More than anything, the lack of an experienced QB is why Texas A&M is going to be favored by the posse of prognosticators this fall. But despite Missouri's solidness just about everywhere, I'd take the Aggies at just about every position other than defensive line. They're a solid team who, in the past, has shown some problems handling hype. We'll see how it ends up in 2011. Both are good teams, but A&M is just a bit better at almost every position. That pays off. I'm in the minority in thinking Missouri is a top 20 team, but I'd say A&M is a borderline top-10 team to kick off the season.

Edward in Austin, Texas, asks: Hey Ubbs...love the blog. It seems to me that talent doesn't necessarily translate from one level to the other; a lot of (if not, a substantial portion) of the time, highly-touted HS players don't do that well at the college level. And maybe as an extension of that, players that weren't highly sought after become superstars. I guess my question is, how much stock do you put in the ESPNU 150 rankings?It also seems the same is true for the next level. To recent memory, a couple of Heisman trophy winners (Matt Leinart and Eric Crouch) flopped in the NFL. Also you look at guys like Peyton Manning and Tom Brady...who were afterthoughts in their respective drafts. Am I being overly critical? Your thoughts?

DU: I'll nitpick a bit before I answer this question and point out that Manning was the No. 1 pick in the 1998 draft, but I get your question.

Obviously, the ESPNU 150 isn't the gospel, but it's still a good indicator of future success. Guys will hit and miss, and you can pick out plenty of All-Americans or Heisman winners who weren't top-flight recruits, but a good percentage of those All-Americans and Heisman winners? They were. It's no guarantee, but get more ESPNU 150 guys, and you're liable to have a better team. The simple truth is the chances of them turning out to be stars is much higher. Sure, there's a few two and three-star guys who become big time, but there's a whole lot more who don't. I'd be interested to see the percentage of guys who become starters after being five-star recruits vs. guys who become starters out of the three and two-star group. I'd bet good money the top guys are a lot higher.

John in Stillwater, Okla., asks: Why do you think recruits are decommitting from OSU? Are there any reasons to be alarmed?

DU: I assume you're talking about LB Dalton Santos and ATH Bralon Addison, a pair of former OSU commits who were ESPNU 150 guys. Santos reopened his recruitment and Addison did so briefly before committing to Texas A&M.

They were doing something right to get them to commit in the first place.

It's no cause for alarm. Nothing happened for them to jump ship. It's different for every guy. I don't really see a trend. The larger trend is Mike Gundy being in classes that are better and better, and you've seen that with OSU's recent rise, culminating in the first 11-win season in school history last year.

You never know what exactly causes high school kids to pick or not pick a school. When they do, it's a lot of the same comments about "family," etc, but it comes down to the best fit and what each individual player wants out of his college experience. Not every guy goes to the best school he possibly can go to. You have to consider playing time, helping a program rise, family connections, etc.

OSU's recruiting is fine.

Jared in College Station, Texas, asks: With all the hoopla around A&M's recruiting class, how much of a disappointment is it that they only have a few guys on the ESPNU150? (Especially since Texas has 7)

DU: I wouldn't get too wrapped up in it. I don't get out and watch or scout high school guys, so it's tough for me to say definitively. If a top recruit is playing a game on national TV, I'll usually DVR it and kind of half watch it while I work.

But, every indication about A&M's class is that the strength is in that second group. You only see three of them in the ESPN 150, but if it was the ESPN 350, I bet you'd see a ton more.

Cal Hardage in Chelsea, Okla., asks: All the talk about ESPNU 150 makes me wonder which coaches do more with less. Sure Texas (outside of 2010) wins, but they also bring in highly rated recruits. I'm not sure how you calculate it. Number of stars per win? Wins per star? Do you use only starters, two-deep, or entire team? I'm sure you can figure out a great way for it. Thanks!

DU: Yeah, you could probably break it down over time, but from a birds-eye view, I'd say it's pretty clear Missouri does the most with the least of any team in the Big 12. They don't haul in a lot of top-flight recruits, but they've won consistently in the last six years or so under Gary Pinkel, winning a share of the North three times and playing in the Big 12 title game twice. Texas Tech is probably a close second in that group.

Both teams always seem to find a lot of great players that weren't highly recruited. Sean Weatherspoon and Danario Alexander are two great examples of guys that not a lot of schools wanted but became stars at Mizzou.

Five Big 12 teams in 2012 recruiting top 25

June, 10, 2011
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You saw the first version of the ESPNU 150 earlier this week, and now, we've released our class rankings as well Insider.

Four Big 12 teams made the cut.

Here they are.

1. Texas
Nine ESPNU 150 commits headline Texas' well-stocked early class. Adding five-star RB Johnathan Gray (Aledo, Texas/Aledo), No. 8 in the ESPNU 150, to join 2011 five-star RB Malcolm Brown is a huge step in the right direction. Cayleb Jones (Austin, Texas/Stephen F. Austin) and Thomas Johnson(Dallas/Skyline) are top 35 players overall and the top two wideouts in the state. The pair of Under Armour All-Americans can run, and Jones is a big target while Johnson is a home run threat.
My take: It's not surprising to see the Longhorns here, despite the 5-7 year in 2010 and resulting shakeup.

"You're not going to see too much of a significant change in Texas recruiting, unless you see successive losing seasons," ESPN national recruiting director Tom Luginbill told me last month. "I think you'd have to see a minimum of, not counting last year, another two after this. If you count last year, three total before you see a significant drop."

The Longhorns have nine ESPNU 150 commits, two more than anyone else, which make up over half its class. Having the most historic success in the state that produces the second-most top-flight prospects has its advantages. Texas is reaping those benefits, despite the successes of others around on the recruiting trail. Players love playing for Mack Brown, and infusing his staff with younger coaches full of energy that are even more skilled at relating to his players won't change that.

4. Texas A&M
20 commits, the most in the country. RB Trey Williams (Houston/Andy Dekaney) is undersized, but a water bug of a runner who is tough to keep up with. OLB Jordan Richmond (Denton, Texas/Billy Ryan) is rangy, athletic and should have plenty in front of him to keep blockers occupied in the future with five D-linemen also on board, including four-star DE Michael Richardson (DeSoto, Texas/DeSoto). ATH Bralon Addison (Missouri City, Texas/Hightower ) is an electrifying threat on offense.
My take: As previously predicted, the Aggies' class debuts in the top 5. Luginbill says the strength of the class is in its middle, not its top. That will pay off.

"If you took an 85-man roster and spread it over the course of four years and you have 3-4 classes with 20 guys in each class and the top 4-6 were five-star guys, that's only making up a quarter of those 85 guys, if that," Luginbill said.

Texas A&M is now charged with the task of holding together the class, while trying to add to it. It lost a very good commit in Louisiana native Davante Borque earlier this week, but the coaches will have to keep in touch with those committed to prevent others from following.

"I think that's going to be more of a challenge for Texas A&M than it's going to be for the Texas Longhorns," Luginbill said. "Not only fulfilling the rest of the class, but the challenge of maintaining this level of a class over an extended period of time could be one of their greatest recruiting challenges.

"It's a long way between now and February."

11. Oklahoma
The Sooners added three potential difference-makers at the offensive skill positions and retained the top two in-state prospects. RB Alex Ross (Jenks, Okla./Jenks) is a top-five back in the country with his great combination of size and speed. He could be the next big-load back in Norman. Receiver Sterling Shepard (Oklahoma City, Okla./Heritage Hall) may lack ideal measurables, but this guy simply makes plays and can move the chains from a variety of positions.
My take: Oklahoma has eight commitments after adding St. Louis receiver Durron Neal earlier this week, giving them three ESPNU 150 commits.

The Sooners 2012 class won't be big one, but Oklahoma is in on a number of big-name recruits, namely the nation's No. 1 quarterback (Gunner Kiel) and No. 1 receiver (Dorial Green-Beckham). Expect to see Oklahoma crash the top 10 as usual by next February.

14. Texas Tech
The Longhorns and Aggies are off to very hot starts in the state of Texas, but Tommy Tuberville's Red Raiders are enjoying some early success on the recruiting trail, as well. The class features two ESPNU 150 prospects led by wide receiver Reginald Davis (Tenaha, Texas/Tenaha), a speedy and athletic playmaking prospect. The other 150 member of this class is offensive tackle prospect Michael Starts (Waco, Texas/La Vega), a physically good-looking player with the athleticism for the tackle position.
My take: Texas Tech is fresh off the best class in school history. Starts was a big pickup for the Red Raiders, but could Tommy Tuberville's 2012 class be even better? The Red Raiders are on track to make it happen.

22. Oklahoma State
The Cowboys' class may have come in a little higher in the initial class rankings if ESPNU 150 LB Dalton Santos (Van, Texas/Van), the top ILB in the country, didn't decommit, but despite that the class is still off to a good start. It has three four-star prospects, highlighted by ESPNU 150 TE Dominic Ramacher (Denton, Texas/John H. Guyer). He is a big, ultra-versatile throwback player who can line up at just about any offensive skill position.
My take: Mike Gundy has built up Oklahoma State's recruiting year-by-year since he came to Stillwater, and the Cowboys look headed for another top 25 finish after a very solid class in 2011. He has just six commits in this class, including one ESPNU 150, but snagging Barry Sanders Jr., the son of the legendary Cowboys Heisman winner, would add a sure fan favorite to his future teams.

Texas leads the way in ESPNU 150

June, 8, 2011
6/08/11
12:35
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ESPN Recruiting has released its annual ESPNU 150, the nation's top 150 recruits. No more watch lists. No more guesses. The list can shift, but here's how the full list looks.

Committments are non-binding, and players won't be able to sign letters of intent until next February, but upon the list's release today, here's who is committed where:

And which players are committed where in the Big 12.

Texas (9 of 17 commits)
Texas A&M (3 of 22 commits)
Oklahoma (2 of 7 commits)
Texas Tech (2 of 8 commits)
Oklahoma State (1 of 6 commits)
Notes from the group:
  • Texas' nine commits are the most in the nation, leading Florida State (7) and Alabama (6). Texas A&M, with its three commits, is tied for seventh-most in the nation.
  • Oklahoma and Texas Tech's two commits have them tied for 12th most.
  • Of the ESPNU 150, 82 still remain uncommitted with about eight months to go before signing day.
  • Counting up the members of the list by state, Florida leads the way with 28 natives. Twenty of the players on the list call Texas home.
  • Six positions had more than 10 players on the list. Offensive tackles (21) were the largest group, followed by athletes and receivers (19), defensive tackles (16), defensive ends (14) and outside linebackers (11).

Recruiting in Texas heating up early

June, 3, 2011
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Texas Tech already reeled in what the program called its best recruiting class ever last February, and the Red Raiders are on pace for another great class in 2012.

Tommy Tuberville's team added another big piece on Thursday when it got a commitment from ESPNU 150 Watch List member Michael Starts, a 6-foot-4, 282-pound lineman from Waco, Texas that wanted to play defensive line at Tech, but was offered by others as an offensive lineman.

Regardless of the exact reasons for Starts' decision, he chose the Red Raiders over in-state rivals Texas and Texas A&M and also held reported offers from Auburn and Notre Dame.

Starts, who was recruited by Big 12 Recruiter of the Year Robert Prunty, should offer another nice option along the defensive line for the Red Raiders, who focused on bringing in pass rushers in the 2011 class as well.

Starts' commitment, though, is more evidence that the recruiting scene in Texas is getting even more crowded for Texas and Oklahoma. Texas Tech and Texas A&M have begun loading up for big classes in 2012, not to mention TCU, who will soon have easier access to the BCS in the Big East.

Here's how those schools sit in 2012 recruiting, along with Oklahoma. The official ESPNU 150 is scheduled for release next Wednesday, which will narrow down these classes a bit and better define how next year's classes will rank.

Texas
  • Commits: 16
  • Top ESPNU 150 Watch List members (16): RB Johnathan Gray, DT Malcom Brown, WR Cayleb Jones, QB Connor Brewer
Texas A&M
  • Commits: 22
  • Top ESPNU 150 Watch List members (11): RB Trey Williams, LB Jordan Richmond, ATH Bralon Addison, ATH Matt Davis
Texas Tech
  • Commits: 8
  • Top ESPNU 150 Watch List members (4): WR Reginald Davis, OT Michael Starts, OT Christian Okafor, QB Clayton Nicholas
Oklahoma
  • Commits: 6
  • Top ESPNU 150 Watch List members (4): RB Alex Ross, WR Sterling Shepard, OT Kyle Marrs, CB Devante Harris

Notes: Sooner bronzed, Aggies pull heist

May, 16, 2011
5/16/11
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Here's a quick look at a couple things you might have missed over the weekend.

Sam Bradford finally gets his statue

Bradford
Bradford
One of the Big 12's best traditions made an official addition on Saturday night.

Sam Bradford, who won the Heisman Trophy in 2008, had his bronze-painted statue unveiled at a gala with his former teammates and other former Sooners.

The statue will be dedicated at a game this fall and be the fifth at Oklahoma's Heisman park, a collection of statues featuring Oklahoma's four -- now five -- Heisman winners.

Billy Vessels, Steve Owens, Billy Sims and Jason White will have a new roommate on the east side of Gaylord Family-Oklahoma Memorial Stadium.

"You know," Bradford told reporters on Saturday, "I'm pretty young to be walking around looking at a statue of myself."

Bradford, 23, won the NFL's Offensive Rookie of the Year as a St. Louis Ram last season.

All of Oklahoma's living Heisman winners were on hand for the gala, as well as Gerald McCoy, a Sooner great among the fan base's most beloved players.

"I'm just gonna get me a Gerald McCoy bobblehead doll and glue it onto the bottom," McCoy joked with the Tulsa World. "Nah, man. Sam definitely deserves it."

Aggies swipe a touted OSU commit

A little over a month after committing to Oklahoma State, ESPNU 150 Watch List athlete Bralon Addison re-opened his recruitment.

On Saturday, he pledged to Texas A&M, giving the Aggies 22 commits, the most of any team in the country with more than eight months remaining in the 2012 recruiting season.

Addison is also the Aggies' 11th commit on the ESPNU 150 Watch List. A 5-foot-10, 185-pound athlete, Addison projects as a receiver in college, but plays quarterback for Missouri City (Texas) Hightower.

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