Now that we're already deep into summer camp season, now seems like an appropriate time to ask: Which Big 12 recruiting class is off to the best start for 2016?
Take 1: Brandon Chatmon -- Baylor
Beware, Big 12.
Baylor is an “it” school, so if you were hoping for the Bears to disappear into the sunset, I have bad news for you.
As BU rose it was clear they could be a problem once they began overwhelming teams with NFL talent, particularly on the offensive side of the ball. And they did, riding Robert Griffin III, Kendall Wright and other future NFL players to become a consistent bowl participant.
As more NFL talent arrived, so did championship contention.
A look a BU’s Class of 2016 commitments shows the Bears don’t plan to go anywhere after back-to-back Big 12 titles. A pair of ESPN 300 offensive linemen sit atop the commit list with the nation’s top guard prospect, Patrick Hudson, and No. 9 tackle prospect, J.P. Urquidez, looking like they will anchor the trenches for Art Briles' team in the future.
And that’s why I say Baylor is off to the best start on the recruiting trail.
The road to a national championship becomes a lot easier with dominant forces in the trenches. It’s no coincidence the Bears leaned on Andrew Billings, Spencer Drango and Shawn Oakman en route to their first conference titles.
TCU is off to a stellar start on the recruiting trail but they don’t match the talent in the trenches committed to Art Briles' program. BU still is set to reload at the skill positions with three ESPN 300 prospects -- running back Kameron Martin, safety Kenan Ivy and quarterback Zach Smith -- joining Hudson and Urquidez on BU’s pledge list.
The Horned Frogs are the only other Big 12 team to match BU’s five ESPN 300 members on the commit list, but the Bears' elite commits along the offensive line give them the edge.
Take 2: Max Olson - TCU
Man, this is a tough call.
Baylor has the star power, no question, but I find myself slightly more impressed by how TCU has started off the 2016 class and capitalized off the momentum of its 12-win season.
Four of the Horned Frogs’ first 13 commitments are ESPN 300 talents who can keep this offense rolling in the future. Landing running back Trayveon Williams was a big-time recruiting victory against the state’s best, and Courtney Lark and D’Eriq King are exciting pieces with potential.
It’s possible the best of the bunch isn’t in the 300. Taj Williams looks like the top junior college receiver in the country and could’ve gone anywhere he wanted. TCU’s instant offensive evolution in 2014 was an eye-opener for him and so many other talents in this class.
As usual, the Frogs were ahead of the game on several of these takes. Manvel lineman Austin Myers might be the best example, a guy TCU locked up in February well before he earned a top-150 national ranking. They figured out Sewo Olonilua could be an ideal convert to linebacker or safety back when other schools were recruiting him at running back.
That eye for evaluation is a huge reason TCU is one of the top College Football Playoff contenders. And that contender status makes them a real threat with the 2016 class.
From a bigger-picture standpoint, it’s impressive to see what TCU is doing in the Houston area this spring at a time when Texas A&M’s recruiting brand is strong and UH is competing for ESPN 300 prospects like never before. Myers, King, Lark, Williams and Olonilua all hail from that area and seem exceedingly secure with their pledges.
If TCU can keep them on board, close with defenders such as Isaiah Chambers and Chris Daniels, and continue to push for elite in-state guys during and after the season, this has the makings of a crazy good class.