Big 12: Craig Loston

Big 12 lunch links: Can Leach's contract be worked out?

February, 9, 2009

Posted by's Tim Griffin

Mike Leach's quest for a new contract spilled into the public when e-mail records between Leach's agents and Texas Tech athletic department and school officials were released Friday afternoon. And it's provided ready fodder for comments from both sides at several Texas newspapers.

Don Williams of the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal writes about the simmering disagreement between Leach's representatives and his employers. And e-mail records show that the chasm has widened over the last several months -- despite the Red Raiders' 11-2 record in 2008 that matched a school single-season record for victories. The Dallas Morning News' Brandon George provides an extensive timeline detailing the key dates in the dispute between the two sides.

Here are some other stories from across the Big 12 for your edification.

  • Five Texas A&M players have left the program and are no longer on the Aggies' roster, Lori Dann of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports. They include defensive tackle Kellen Heard, wide receiver E.J. Shankle, tight end Harold Turnage, linebacker Aaron Buckley and running back Mike Goodson.
  • John Hoover of the Tulsa World writes about intangibles that college coaches consider when they are recruiting.
  • Mitch Albom of the Detroit Free Press weighs in on recruiting -- using one-time Texas A&M recruit Craig Loston and current Texas A&M signee Colton Valencia as examples for a system he thinks is flawed
  • The unprecedented financial climate has resulted in stark cuts being considered at Missouri for all sports. After generating a record $7.7 million for the Tigers Scholarship Fund after the school's breakout 2007 football season, David Briggs of the Columbia Daily Tribune writes that school is bracing for a significantly reduced amount this year.
  • Top 2010 quarterback recruit Connor Wood of Houston is considering Texas and Oklahoma and will likely make his call within two weeks. Wood could be attracted to Oklahoma because he wants to major in petroleum engineering and has been intrigued with the school's Mewbourne School of Petroleum and Geological Engineering, the Oklahoman's Jake Trotter writes.
  • Eric Peterson of the Cedar Rapids Gazette writes why Iowa State coach Paul Rhoads seldom leaves his house without wearing a ball cap.

Texas A&M recruiting capsule

February, 6, 2009

Posted by's Tim Griffin

Texas A&M

The Aggies' complete signing class can be found here.

Recruits: 28.

Breakdown: 27 high school, one junior college.

Positions: 7 DB, 5 LB, 4 OL, 4 WR, 3 DE, 2 RB, 1 TE, 1 P, 1 DT.

Where they came from: Texas 25, Louisiana 3.

The stud: RB Christine Michael, of Beaumont, Texas (West Brook). The elusive Michael arrives as the most heralded Aggie recruit in more than a decade. He should have the opportunity to immediately compete for a starting job, boosting production of the Big 12's worst rushing attack.

Recruiting-class sleeper: WR Kenric McNeal of Spring. He was a quarterback in high school and missed most of his senior season with an injury. But his speed should get him a long look at wide receiver and perhaps for a special package as a shotgun-based quarterback. His athleticism will help the Aggies wherever he ends up.

The one who got away: S Craig Loston of Aldine (Eisenhower). The nation's No. 1 safety according to Scouts Inc., was an early recruit for the Aggies who de-committed after the firing of Dennis Franchione. He still was interested in the Aggies before deciding to attend LSU, where his cousin Russell Shepard also was a member of the Tigers' Class of 2009.

Needs addressed: Linebacker, running back, defensive back.

Not as pressing: Quarterback, defensive tackle.

Scouts Inc. grade: B- (Third in the Big 12, third in South Division).

My take: Coach Mike Sherman expects this class to immediately contribute several players who will contend for starting positions. Obviously, Michael is the key and Sherman's most heralded recruit yet. The Aggies also added talent in the secondary and at linebacker - key needs after last year's defensive struggles. And this class represents a fundamental philosophical switch in recruiting direction for the Aggies. Texas A&M has traditionally relied on much recruiting of smaller Class 3A Texas schools and below, but this class features only two players from high schools below the Class 4A level.