Big 12: Jon Caspers

Big 12 North recruiting needs

January, 21, 2010
Signing day is just around the corner, and each Big 12 team is doing what it can to keep together its class while adding a late upgrade in talent.

Here's a look at what immediate recruiting needs each North Division team must address first.


Running back: With the departure of Darrell Scott and Demetrius Sumler, Dan Hawkins needs to find some talent at running back. With only three scholarship backs on the roster, an immediate talent infusion is needed. Tony Jones is the only commitment and the Buffaloes could use size from a bigger back.

Tight end/H-back: All of the positions are important in Kent Riddle’s offense, and six players graduated from those positions in December. The only player who will return with experience includes junior tight end Ryan Deehan, so Hawkins needs players at the position who can help immediately.

Quarterback: With Tyler Hansen set at quarterback and Cody Hawkins set to graduate after next season, the Buffaloes still would like to add some depth at the position. Nick Hirschman has enrolled early to get a head start on his development, and Josh Moten appears ready to enroll after failing to make his grades before last season.

Iowa State

Across the board talent infusion: The Cyclones already have added 24 commitments for the upcoming season. Junior college players like massive offensive lineman Jon Caspers, defensive end Rony Nelson, wide receiver Anthony Young and tight end Ricky Howard should provide an immediate lift. And look for coach Paul Rhoads to add a couple of more to capitalize on the late momentum from the Insight Bowl victory.

Running back: Preparing for the future will be important as Alexander Robinson will be entering his senior season. Freshmen Beau Blankenship still has some developing to do and Jeremiah Schwartz has left the program. The Cyclones have added depth with the addition of Duran Hollis and Shontrelle Johnson. Don’t be surprised if Hollis moves positions once he comes to college if Johnson develops as expected.

Wide receiver: The Cyclones had trouble making big plays and could use a talent boost at the position. Leading 2009 receiver Marquis Hamilton has graduated and Jake Williams will be a senior next season. Recruits Jarvis West and Chris Young appear to have addressed those needs.


Defensive end: The Jayhawks could use a talent upgrade here with occasional starters Jeff Wheeler and Maxwell Onyegbule graduated, and Jake Laptad and Quintin Woods entering their senior seasons in 2010. It became more of a need after Oklahoma beat out the Jayhawks for top defensive end prospect Geneo Grissom earlier this week.

Quarterback: With unproven Kale Pick set to take over for Todd Reesing, the Jayhawks have added junior college transfer Quinn Mecham of Snow Junior College to immediately contend for playing time. Meacham threw for 3,091 yards and 40 touchdowns last season and has already captured the attention of new offensive coordinator Chuck Long because of his experience in the spread offense.

Secondary: New coach Turner Gill also needs help in the secondary where starters Darrell Stuckey and Justin Thornton were seniors and Philip Strozier, Chris Harris and Calvin Rubles will be seniors next season.

Kansas State

Adjust time-held notions to recruiting: Bill Snyder said recruiting seemed “out of kilter” in his first season back because of how teams now are in a hurry to link up with rising juniors. This strategy has caused Snyder to change his recruiting strategy, looking into signing more players earlier than in his previous coaching strategy.

Junior-college additions again will be critical in the trenches: Snyder has attacked the junior colleges with his traditional fervor as he attempts to unearth a couple of under-recruited gems in the offensive line and defensive lines -- the Wildcats’ two primary needs. Also, the Wildcats need some immediate help from the junior colleges after a recruiting imbalance during the last two seasons under Ron Prince that has left them with a need for immediate contributors. Snyder has estimated that up to 13 players will enroll at the semester break to contend immediately for playing time.

Quarterback: Even with a crowded group of potential contenders at the position, Snyder is still considering another quarterback. Carson Coffman, Sammuel Lamur, Collin Klein and Oregon transfer Chris Harper all are in the mix at the position heading into spring practice.


Wide receiver: The Tigers have a lot of talent returning, but still will lose leading 2009 receiver Danario Alexander and Jared Perry. The opportunity for eventual playing time will be there for new arrivals, although Jerrell Jackson, Brandon Gerau, T.J. Moe and Wes Kemp will be back.

Nose tackle: The graduation of Jaron Baston and Bart Coslet’s senior-to-be status opens up a position for a contribution in the trenches for the Tigers.

Secondary: All four of Missouri’s projected starters next season -- cornerbacks Carl Gettis and Kevin Rutland and safety Jarrell Harrison and Jasper Simmons -- will be seniors. The Tigers need to restock depth at the position and perhaps move it forward from this class.


Defensive end: The Cornhuskers could use an additional player with Barry Turner graduating and Pierre Allen set to enter his senior season in 2010. They are in the hunt with Oregon for Owamagbe Odighizuwa, a heralded speed rusher from Portland, Ore., who would be the crown jewel in the Cornhuskers’ incoming class if he commits.

Wide receivers: Many players are back, although the Cornhuskers could use an infusion of speed at the position. Niles Paul will be a senior and more talent is needed to make the Cornhuskers competitive with the athletic teams in the South Division like Texas, Oklahoma and Texas Tech.

Safety: Starters Matt O’Hanlon and Larry Asante both will be graduating and Eric Hagg will be a senior in 2010. The Cornhuskers will need some help to join with youngsters Courtney Osborne, Austin Cassidy and P.J. Smith at the position.

Big 12 recruiting: RB Mister Jones headed for Aggies

December, 14, 2009
Considering that new Kansas coach Turner Gill mentioned recruiting four times among his seven major priorities for his new program, it's understandable how important these December days are for coaches everywhere.

Here's a look at some late afternoon Big 12-related recruiting nuggets compiled by Tom Luginbill, the national scouting director from ESPN's Scouts Inc.

RB Mister Jones

Littleton, CO

Littleton H.S.

Scouts Grade: 75

Position Rank: 99

Mister Jones, a 6-foot-2, 200-pound running back from Littleton High (Littleton, Colo.), has made a decision to switch his Class of 2010 commitment from Colorado to Texas A&M.

The three-star prospect was also offered by Kansas and Wyoming. He rushed for 1,317 yards and 18 touchdowns as a senior.

"After leaving College Station, I thought a lot about whether I wanted to change my commitment," he told ESPN affiliate Web site "I had to decide which school was going to get me to where I wanted to go and help make me successful. My mom and I [called the Colorado coaches] to tell them that I was switching my commitment. It was really tough, but I thought that A&M would be better and that's why I decided to commit to A&M."

He continued, "All I've wanted to do since I was a little kid was make it to the NFL. Having a coaching staff that has been there and done that, it is a huge plus. It's a good thing to know that they have that experience and they know what they're talking about."

Texas A&M now has 21 pledges.

QB Quinn Mecham

Quinn Mecham, a quarterback from Timpview (Provo, Utah)/Snow CC, Utah, has accepted a Class of 2010 offer from Kansas.

He was also recruited by Virginia, Arizona State, Utah State, Utah and Mississippi State.

During the 2009 season, the 6-foot-1, 190-pound Mecham finished second in the NJCAA national rankings by passing for 3091 yards and 40 touchdowns. Snow College finished fifth in the final NJCAA poll.

The Jayhawks now have 15 commitments.

ATH Tuswani Copeland

Lawton, OK

MacArthur H.S.

Scouts Grade: 75

Position Rank: 118

Baylor has added defensive back/receiver Tuswani Copeland of MacArthur (Lawton, Okla.) for the Class of 2010.

The 6-foot-0, 175-pound athlete was also sought by Kansas State, Louisville, Michigan State and Western Michigan.

"I feel like Baylor's perfect for me," Copeland told the Waco Tribune-Herald. "I played receiver on my high school team as well as cornerback, but people have been recruiting me as a cornerback. I like taking the ball away from receivers and putting hits on guys."

He is the 15th pledge for Baylor.

T Eric Richter

Mission Viejo, CA

Saddleback College (CA)

6-foot-5, 315-pound offensive lineman Eric Richter of Saddleback CC, Calif., has chosen Colorado for the Class of 2010.

Richter, who is originally from Capistrano Valley (Mission Viejo, Calif.), holds other offers from San Diego State and Arkansas State.

The Buffs have 11 commitments.

CB Anthony Young

Ontario, CA

Palomar College (CA)

A 5-foot-9, 175-pound cornerback, Anthony Young of Colony (Ontario, Calif.)/Palomar CC, Calif., has chosen Iowa State in the Class of 2010.

He also drew offers from Arizona State, Colorado State, Tulsa and Middle Tennessee State.

T Jon Caspers

Olivia, MN

North Dakota State College of Sci. (ND)

Iowa State has a pledge from Jon Caspers, a 6-foot-5, 295-pound offensive lineman from Bold HS (Olivia, Minn.)/Bird Island, Minn./North Dakota State College of Science, ND.

Caspers chose the Cyclones over Washington State.

He becomes the 22nd commitment for ISU's Class of 2010.

DE Chris Martin

Aurora, CO

Grandview H.S.

Scouts Grade: 81

ESPNU150 Rank: 111

Position Rank: 12

ESPNU 150 defensive end Chris Martin (Aurora, Colo.,/Grandview) has decided to come back home, verbally committing to California, choosing the Bears over Florida, USC, and Oklahoma, ESPN affiliate Web site reports.

Back in February, Martin, who is an Oakland native, verbally committed to Notre Dame, but dropped the Irish from consideration December 1st.

"One of the things, when Chris committed to Notre Dame, the quote I said to him was Chris, if you do not go to Notre Dame, you need to come back home," Martin's mother Cheryl said. "Well, he's coming back home and this is solid. We're not going to do anymore visits or entertain anyone coming by."

ESPN's Craig Haubert added, "Cal scored big this weekend and it looks like they have coaching changes at two other schools to partially thank for it. Florida seemed to be a strong contender, but it appears the staff turnover there clouded the picture and made the hometown Golden Bears look like right fit. Regardless of the path that led Martin to Cal, the Golden Bears now add to their top-25 caliber class with their highest rated prospect."

"Martin is a kid who possesses good natural size and certainly looks the part. He has played several positions and while we feel overall he will fit best as a defensive end, in Cal's scheme they could get more from him. With his size he could fit well at end, but he could also be a good fit for them at outside linebacker in their 3-4 look as more of that hybrid end / backer. With his size and straight line speed he could be tough to handle."

Martin is the second ESPNU 150 and 11th overall commitment for the Bears' Class of 2010.

DE Wayne Dorsey

Baltimore, MD

Mississippi Gulf Coast Comm College (MS)

Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College (Perkinston, Miss.) defensive lineman Wayne Dorsey has pledged to join Ole Miss' Class of 2010, ESPN affiliate Web site reports.

He also visited Florida State and North Carolina. Programs including Michigan, Tennessee, Mississippi State, South Florida, Oklahoma State and Iowa State were amongst Dorsey's other offers.

"I like everything about Ole Miss. The city the conference, the team, the assistants, everything," he said.

Another Mississippi Gulf Coast product, safety Damien Jackson (Pineville, La.), is set to play for Ole Miss. The Rebels now have 14 commitments.

S Tejay Johnson

Egg Harbor Township, NJ

Egg Harbor Township H.S.

Scouts Grade: 73

Position Rank: 127

A 6-foot-1, 185-pound receiver/defensive back, Tejay Johnson of Egg Harbor Township, N.J., has made a decision to play for Rutgers in the Class of 2010.

Cincinnati, Michigan State, Nebraska and Syracuse had also made offers.

Johnson is the 15th commitment for the Knights.

WR Joshua Ford

Washington, DC

Calvin Coolidge H.S.

Scouts Grade: 76

Position Rank: 126

Wide reciever Joshua Ford of Coolidge H.S. in Washington has picked New Mexico for the Class of 2010.

The 6-foot-3, 190-pound Ford was also sought by Kansas and Utah. He had 19 receptions for 470 yards and 10 touchdowns as a senior.

Ford is the 7th pledge for the Lobos.

CB T.J. Ballou

Russell, MS

East Mississippi Community College (MS)

Physical cornerback T.J. Ballou, a 6-foot-0, 200-pounder from Northeast Lauderdale (Russell, Miss.)/Alabama/East Mississippi CC, Miss., has made a decision to attend Alabama-Birmingham with the Class of 2010.

Oklahoma State, Western Michigan, Louisiana-Lafayette and Louisiana-Monroe has also offered.

Ballou spent two years as a walk-on for the Tide before transferring to junior college.

He is the 19th commitment for the Blazers.