Big 12: Emory Blake

Texas Tech recruiting capsule

February, 6, 2009
2/06/09
5:02
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin

Texas Tech

The Red Raiders' signing class can be found here.

Recruits: 25

Breakdown: 24 high school, one junior college.

Positions: 6 DL, 5 DB, 4 OL, 4 WR, 3 LB, 1 QB, 1 RB, 1 ATH.

Where they came from: Texas 21, Louisiana 1, Oklahoma 1, Oregon 1, Tennessee 1.

The stud: DT Myles Wade of Portland, Ore., (Central Catholic) and Arizona Western Community College. The mammoth 310-pound run-stuffer is exactly what the Red Raiders need inside. But it will be interesting to see how quickly he regains his competitive edge after playing at community college last season after failing to qualify for Oregon.

Recruiting-class sleeper: DB Jarvis Phillips of Dallas (Carter). The Red Raiders had a lot of success converting the last Carter quarterback they had -- Biletnikoff Award winning receiver Michael Crabtree -- to another position. They'll also try it with Phillips, a recent Carter quarterback who is projected as either a cornerback or safety because of his athleticism.

The one who got away: WR Emory Blake of Austin (Stephen F. Austin). Even the promise of competing at Michael Crabtree's old "Z" position as a receiver couldn't attract Blake, the son of former NFL quarterback Jeff Blake. He decommitted from Texas Tech late in the recruiting process and ended up as one of Gene Chizik's two Texas recruits for Auburn.

Needs addressed: Defensive line, secondary.

Not as pressing: Linebacker.

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

My take: The Red Raiders closed quickly with seven late commitments, including three from former Oklahoma recruits. It's the most accomplished and impressive defensive class that coach Mike Leach has ever recruited, keyed by Wade, linebacker Brandon Mahoney and defensive tackle Pearlie Graves. And there's enough offensive talent arriving to keep the scoreboards at Jones AT&T Stadium whirring as well.

Hawkins impressed with Buffs' underrated group

February, 4, 2009
2/04/09
8:50
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin

Colorado's recruiting haul might not wow many national analysts, but Dan Hawkins is attracting exactly the players he is aiming for.

Hawkins said the class he announced Wednesday is coming close to matching his recruiting model.

"Since I first arrived here, I've been trying to build a culture," Hawkins said. "We're trying to get guys who fit our profile. You're never going to be 100 percent at that. But in this class, it represents our philosophy of a quality balance of life. We've been in homes with strong values in how they view their kids. And I've been fired up about that."

That goal could be stated in a prospect like wide receiver Terdema Ussery of St. Mark's High School in Dallas. Ussery's father, Terdema L. Ussery II, is president and CEO of the NBA's Dallas Mavericks.

The Buffaloes added the top player from Colorado for the third straight year by attracting Nick Kasa of Legacy High School in Broomfield. Kasa decided on Colorado's offer after earlier considering Florida. 

Also added in the recruiting class was 290-pound defensive tackle Edward Nuckols of San Marcos, Calif., who was ranked by Scouts Inc. as the nation's No. 14 defensive tackle.

Hawkins had a couple of late misses as wide receiver Diante Johnson of Walnut Hills, Calif., picked Oregon over the Buffs. Defensive back Byron Moore, a high school teammate of Johnson's, decided on USC. And wide receiver Emory Blake of Austin, Texas, the son of former NFL quarterback Jeff Blake, picked Auburn over Colorado and Texas Tech.

But Hawkins still was pleased with what he saw in his incoming class.

"I think it's a very athletic class," Hawkins said. "Three quarters of them were on playoff teams. There are a lot of guys who can play a lot of positions. I like these guys and their pedigrees."

Chizik swipes Emory Blake from earlier Texas Tech commitment

February, 4, 2009
2/04/09
11:40
AM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin

Auburn coach Gene Chizik apparently still knows his way around the Big 12.

That knowledge helped Chizik, the former Iowa State coach who also was a former defensive coordinator at Texas, to get a commitment Wednesday from wide receiver Emory Blake of Austin Stephen F. Austin High School.

Blake, the son of former NFL quarterback Jeff Blake, was an earlier commitment of Texas Tech. Coach Mike Leach saw the 6-foot-1, 195-pound Blake as a natural addition to his offense and had even promised him that he could play Michael Crabtree's "Z position" in the Red Raiders' offense.

Blake accounted for 64 receptions and nine touchdowns as a senior and also added 643 rushing yards on an 8.7 yard-per-carry average and six more TDs. His other finalist was Colorado.

Late signing day stories to track around the Big 12

February, 4, 2009
2/04/09
9:00
AM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin

National signing day will provide its usual flurry of last-minute surprises and drama as most top players will make their commitments and finally agree to scholarship offers from their respective schools.

But today's events will provide special interest for Big 12 schools for a variety of reasons.

Here are some of the late trends to watch from around the conference:

  • Will Baylor coach Art Briles find some receiving talent to surround scintillating sophomore quarterback Robert Griffin in what appears to be the Bears' top recruiting class of the Big 12 era?
  • Can Colorado coach Dan Hawkins continue his recent upturn with a late victory in the heated recruiting battle for Byron Moore?
  • What will the return of Paul Rhoads as the Iowa State's new coach mean for the Cyclones -- and will his familiarity throughout the state result in a fast finish after his late start after his hiring?
  • Will Mark Mangino have his typical understated recruiting success that has resulted in the Jayhawks' recent North Division ascension?
  • Will the return of Bill Snyder at Kansas State enable the Wildcats to land a huge statement-making recruit like Bryce Brown or Denard Robinson?
  • Can Missouri hold onto the commitment of heralded defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson as the foundation for the development of a defense that matches the Tigers' recent offensive success?
  • Will Nebraska's late surge last season, capped by the Cornhuskers' Gator Bowl victory, result in a couple of late surprises in Bo Pelini's largely settled recruiting class?
  • Can Oklahoma pluck a late commitment from wide receiver Rueben Randle, the top remaining national commitment, at the Sooners' biggest position of need?
  • Will Oklahoma State's recent development be marked with similar success recruiting Oklahoma players as it initially appears?
  • Can Mack Brown pluck a couple of late recruits from heralded signees like Dre Kirkpatrick and Jarvis Jones that would enable the Longhorns to challenge for the No. 1 recruiting class in the nation?
  • Will the arrival of key recruits like Christine Michael help Mike Sherman cobble together what should be the best recruiting class at Texas A&M in several seasons?
  • Is the offer of playing Michael Crabtree's old position enough of a lure to attract top recruit Emory Blake to Texas Tech and finish Mike Leach's recruiting class with a flourish?

All of those questions and more will be revealed in the few hours.

Stay tuned.

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