Colleges: Iowa State Cyclones
You'll need Insider to see the full rankings , which we won't be giving away here, but there's not a single Big 12 team in the top 10. Do you think that's fair? There's a case to be made either way, no doubt.
Texas topped the Big 12 teams making the top 25, closely followed by Oklahoma. The guys at HornsNation and SoonerNation took those rankings a step further with a closer look at both teams. What could help them climb and reach higher than that ranking? What could cause them to slip? You can find out there.
Oklahoma State, Baylor and TCU also cracked the list. I'd say a case is to be made for Texas Tech and West Virginia, too, but I don't think I'd argue excluding them. Texas Tech has a lot to prove just yet and West Virginia hasn't handled the transition to the Big 12 very well so far.
Our crews evaluated every program on five criteria: Coaching, current talent, recruiting, title path and program power.
The first three are pretty self-explanatory. The title path deals with the quality of conference and opponent strength, but only accounts for 10 percent of the final number. Coaching and current talent account for 55 percent of the total ranking.
Program power is 20 percent of the ranking, and "accounts for fan and institutional support, facilities, resources and history, in addition to intangible factors."
Really cool project from our Insider team. I'd encourage you to all check out the joint effort from Mark Schlabach, Travis Haney, Brock Huard, Tom Luginbill and Todd McShay.
Bob Stoops started the parade by trumpeting the Big 12's depth and said the SEC's mystique and reputation are attributable in part to "propaganda."
Texas coach Mack Brown later patted Stoops on the back, saying he was proud of his Oklahoma counterpart for sticking up for the conference. In an interview with ESPN.com, Kansas coach Charlie Weis, too, said that Stoops had a point.
Still, it's going to take more than talk to knock off No. 1.
Phil Steele ranked the college football conferences for his preseason magazine, and he's got the Big 12 sitting in second place, behind the SEC. The Big 12 actually finished ahead of the SEC in the computer rankings in 2011 and held a lead for much of 2012, but in tabulations by ESPN Stats & Information, the SEC was king by the end of that season.
Steele explains that without a preseason top-10 team in the Big 12, his ranking of the league might be a bit surprising, but notes that Texas and Oklahoma State were in his top 10, and could both be 9-0 when they meet Nov. 16 in Austin. The Big 12 has four more teams in Steele's top 40 and he pointed out that the conference had the best mark (26-4) in nonconference games last season.
He also notes, and I agree, that those numbers can be influenced by scheduling. This year, though, the Big 12 can settle more on the field. By the end of September, the Big 12 and SEC will have played three games and will meet in the Cotton Bowl at the end of the season. The two leagues met on the field just once in the 2012 regular season, with Texas routing Ole Miss in Oxford. Texas A&M famously rolled over Oklahoma in the Cotton Bowl.
The 2013 meetings between the leagues -- including TCU/LSU and Oklahoma State/Mississippi State on neutral fields on opening weekend -- should be fun, with plenty of bragging rights up for grabs.
Still, no amount of victories will do much to change anyone's mind about the SEC's superiority -- unless they get to take home a crystal football after the game's over.
It's no surprise to anyone who follows the league, but the exact numbers were eye-popping. Texas and Florida are neck-and-neck every year for the most FBS signees, but the 10-team Big 12 signed 102 players from Texas last year.
The entire league signed 170 prospects, meaning 60 percent of the league's signees are Texas-bred players. Eliminating newcomer West Virginia from that mix increases the percentage to 66 percent, Haubert reports.
That's just insanity.
Competition in the state has heated up, but it's still somewhat divided by the caliber of players. Texas, Oklahoma and Big 12 expat Texas A&M are consistently competing for elite players, and have the most crossover among those types of four and five-star players.
Baylor, Oklahoma State, Texas Tech and TCU get in the mix for some of those guys, but the Frogs have joined that group of programs who most often fight over the next level of player. Schools like Iowa State, Kansas and Kansas State have a tough time grabbing in-state players of that second group away from in-state schools, but often grab a different caliber of player.
The result is a competitive state, but hardly a free-for-all like we often see in SEC country.
The Big 12 teams are now having to fend off even more schools from outside the state, but West Virginia hasn't really filled the niche in the state yet that Missouri left behind when it left the Big 12.
Take a look at Haubert's full post. Great breakdown of the recruiting trail within the state and conference.
Here's who made it from the Big 12:
- B.J. Finney, C, Kansas State
- Cyril Richardson, OG, Baylor
- Jason Verrett, CB, TCU
- Tyler Lockett, KR, Kansas State
- Gabe Ikard, C, Oklahoma
- Jackson Jeffcoat, DE, Texas
- Devonte Fields, DE, TCU
- Aaron Colvin, CB, Oklahoma
- Ty Zimmerman, S, Kansas State
- Tramaine Thompson, PR, Kansas State
A couple quick thoughts:
- It's a little crazy to see where the strength of the league lies, in terms of positions. Steele pegs the nation's two best centers in the Big 12, and you see the special teams strength. The NFL draft drain on offensive skill positions -- traditionally the strongest spots in the Big 12 -- is showing up this year. Not a single one of those guys is on the first three All-American teams. We see more strength defensively and in the special teams. Kansas State in the return game is obviously dangerous. No arguments from me on Lockett and Thompson landing on these teams.
- Steele is really, really high on Moore and Williams, who were All-Big 12 first-teamers and show up on the All-American teams. I don't quite get it. Good players for sure, but All-Americans for both Sooner State skill position players seems like a little much. I'll be surprised to see either top 1,000 yards with a ton of depth at their positions on their respective teams.
What do you think?
You can see them all here, but here's a few highlights (all times ET):
- The first Big 12 game of the year will be Texas Tech's trip to SMU on Friday, Aug. 30. Kickoff is set for 8 p.m. on ESPN.
- Kansas State will help open the Big 12 slate on Friday, Aug. 30, with its game against North Dakota State on Fox Sports 1. Kickoff is set for 8:30 p.m.
- The Big 12-SEC matchups on the opening weekend will be a doubleheader, but not back to back. Oklahoma State's game against Mississippi State will kick off at 3:30 p.m. with a reverse mirror broadcast on ABC and ESPN2. That basically means if you're inside the coverage area of those games, most of you will see it on ABC. The rest of the country will see it on ESPN2.
- The nightcap between TCU and LSU at Cowboys Stadium will kick off at 9 p.m. on ESPN.
- West Virginia and Oklahoma will face off in Week 2 on FOX at 7 p.m.
- TCU and Texas Tech's Thursday night game on Sept. 12 will be on ESPN at 7:30.
- Iowa State's rivalry game against Iowa on Sept. 14 will be on Fox Sports 1 at 6 p.m.
- Texas' game against Ole Miss that same day will be on Longhorn Network at 8 p.m.
Those are all the big games, but your team definitely has game times announced. Go to the Big 12's site to see them all.
You'll be hard pressed to find many in Big 12 country shedding a tear this afternoon. The deal is expected to kick in for the 2014 season, which gives the Big 12 and the American Athletic Conference one more year to make the trek to the new Yankee Stadium in New York City to play a bowl game.
Kansas State played in the inaugural game back in 2010 and encountered major snow storms that produced travel difficulties for fans and the team and forced the Wildcats to practice in a hotel ballroom. West Virginia dealt with nearly identical troubles last season and played the actual game in a blizzard.
The Big 12's 0-3 record in the game (Iowa State was beaten by Rutgers, 27-13, in 2011) doesn't help. Difficulty for teams and media to reach practice sites during bowl week also drew complaints, and the open-air press box in a frigid New York December isn't exactly the product of well thought-out genius. Press box inhabitants have been given gloves and hats for past games.
Trekking to New York City the week of New Year's Eve isn't exactly cheap for teams or fans, either.
Having a bowl game in Yankee Stadium and giving fans a reason to spend New Year's Eve in New York City sounded cool in theory. The logistical issues in making it happen, though, produced quite a few headaches. As the Big 12 shifts its bowl lineup moving forward and tries to find a new home in Florida in the Russell Athletic Bowl or Gator Bowl, plenty of folks across the league will be saying good riddance to the game.
The Big 12's preseason awards won't be handed out until next month, but let's see about the fan vote. Who should be the Big 12 Preseason Defensive Player of the Year?
Devonte Fields, DE, TCU: Fields won the postseason award in 2012 as a true freshman and returns for an encore in 2013. He's the favorite to earn the nod next month after leading the Big 12 with 18.5 tackles for loss last season and finishing third with 10 sacks. Two things could knock him off his perch: He's suspended for the first two games of 2013 and in TCU's final six games, he had just 4.5 tackles for loss and two sacks.
Jackson Jeffcoat, DE, Texas: Jeffcoat might be the league's most physically impressive talent, but injuries have kept him from reaching his potential. He made 12 sacks in his first 13 career games, but he missed half of last year with a torn pectoral. He had 11 tackles for loss and four sacks in those first six games, but the former No. 1 overall recruit is dreaming big for his senior season in 2013.
Jason Verrett, CB, TCU: Verrett was the Big 12's best cornerback last season, emerging from almost no preseason attention at a loaded position a year ago. He was third nationally in passes defended and earned All-America honors with six interceptions and 16 pass breakups. He added 63 tackles and earned his reputation as an elite corner taking on a tough set of receivers in the Big 12 a season ago.
Ty Zimmerman, S, Kansas State: The rest of Kansas State's defense was decimated, but Zimmerman will try and hold it together after linebacker Arthur Brown, the entire defensive line and both cornerbacks exhausted their eligibility. His absence didn't help K-State in its perfect season-ruining loss to Baylor, and a leg injury cost him the last two games of the regular season. He picked off five balls and scooped up a fumble last year. He'll be counted on for even more this season.
Aaron Colvin, CB, Oklahoma: Colvin's already hearing NFL hype attached to his name, but the experienced Sooner is a third-year starter from nearby Tulsa who picked off four passes and broke up 11 more last season. The 6-foot, 181-pounder plays physical on the outside and spent some time at safety in 2011 after starting his career at corner in 2010. He's back at corner now, and has a chance to state his case as the Big 12's best.
Who's your vote? Make yourself heard in our poll.
You can see the full conference picks here, but plenty of interesting selections from the college football guru. ESPN.com's teams won't be released until much later this offseason, but here's a few thoughts on Steele's teams:
- Is it a little bit crazy to pick a guy who has thrown 10 career passes as your first-team All-Big 12 quarterback? Absolutely. If I had to pick one, though, would I tab Baylor's Bryce Petty as the first-team All-Big 12 quarterback to close the season? Yes, I would. Generally, I see preseason honors as a "Who's had the best career to this point?" type of deal and not as much of a prediction, but that's a personal belief and not anything the Big 12 officially states when it sends out preseason All-Big 12 ballots. Petty is an intriguing choice as the Big 12's No. 1 quarterback that's obviously going to draw attention, but I'm not going to be one to argue.
- I'd say selecting Petty as the Big 12's No. 1 QB says just as much about the rest of the guys in the Big 12 than it does about Petty. Steele tabbed TCU's Casey Pachall as his second-teamer, Texas' David Ash as his third and Oklahoma's Blake Bell on the fourth team. I'd say Clint Chelf or Michael Brewer belongs in that mix, but none of those guys have the statistical potential of Petty. Pachall makes great decisions on the field, but TCU's offense doesn't give him the capability to routinely roll up 400-yard games. Ash is above average, but he's not a world-beater (doesn't need to be for Texas to win a Big 12 title, I might add) and still has to prove he can be more consistent.
- This might be the deepest season at running back we've seen in a long time. I'd put John Hubert or James Sims ahead of Oklahoma's Damien Williams, but good selections from Steele to give Andrew Buie, Johnathan Gray and Malcolm Brown a little love, too. Opportunities are all that's limited Jeremy Smith from having a big year. He'll have them now, and I'm betting on him to be the seventh consecutive Oklahoma State running back to top 1,000 yards.
- Conversely, this could be one of the weakest years for wide receivers. There are a lot of above average receivers in the league, but there's not a guy that jumps out as one defenses really fear and spend a ton of time game-planning for. Mike Davis and Josh Stewart are good, somewhat obvious picks for the first team, but I'd go with Jalen Saunders ahead of Tracy Moore, and probably Eric Ward, too.
- Tough picks this year at safety, which has been easy for a while in the Big 12 with Tony Jefferson and Kenny Vaccaro hanging around. Tons of depth at that position. Steele went with Ty Zimmerman and Daytawion Lowe as his first-teamers. I'd probably say Joseph over Lowe by a hair but even when you get down to third-teamers like Baylor's Ahmad Dixon or fourth-teamers like Iowa State's Jacques Washington and Texas' Adrian Phillips, you're talking about guys who can really, really play. Could be a very defensive year in the Big 12, relative to what we're used to seeing in this league. Look at the cornerbacks, too. The dropoff from the first to third teams is negligible. Aaron Colvin and Jason Verrett have NFL-type measurables, but so do Justin Gilbert and Quandre Diggs and third-teamers Carrington Byndom and Joe Williams could be strong.
- Steele illustrates the weight of Delvon Simmons' departure from Texas Tech. The defensive lineman was on Steele's second team before leaving school and electing to transfer. Kliff Kingsbury said last week he wants guys who want to be Red Raiders, but it's still a big loss for the Tech defense.
- What about the kickers? It seems like everybody in the league hates their kicker these days, but two guys on Steele's list have their jobs up for grabs. Iowa State's Edwin Arceo is a second-teamer, but he'll be battling freshman Cole Nettlen to even get on the field once fall camp begins. Fourth-teamer Ron Doherty from Kansas is on the chopping block, too. Weis was displeased with just about every facet of his special-teams units last year, and completely revamped the way the units are coached. Every assistant coach now is in charge of one facet of special teams, instead of having one special teams coach. He brought in juco kicker Nick Pardula to try and fix those issues, too. He'll compete with Doherty in the fall, but Weis raved about Pardula's big leg when I talked with him last month. First-teamers Jaden Oberkrom from TCU and Iowa State's Kirby Van Der Kamp are certified studs, but it could be an ugly year elsewhere in Big 12 special teams.
Eight Big 12 schools will receive $22 million, while newcomers TCU and West Virginia will receive half shares of $11 million. Those terms were part of both schools joining the Big 12 back in July 2012.
The $198 million and $22 million per school are both conference records. The conference revenue is tallied from the Big 12's media rights deals with ESPN/ABC and Fox Sports, as well as revenue from bowl games and the NCAA men's basketball tournament. The money does not include revenue from universities' Tier 3 media rights, which can be used to earn revenue as each school sees fit.
"We'll get a pretty significant ramp-up from here on out," Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby said. "That moves up this next year due to a signing bonus from ESPN, and then after that, the new TV deal and the Champions Bowl kicks in."
For the full story, go here.
IRVING, Texas -- Texas athletic director DeLoss Dodds made headlines when he championed an eight-team college football playoff Thursday at the Big 12's spring meetings, despite the four-team version still being more than a year away.
"It's a baby step. It's a good step," Dodds said. "I'm kind of an eight-team person."
Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby wasn't biting on the possibility of Dodds' preference becoming reality.
"I don’t see us expanding to eight any time soon," he said.
West Virginia athletic director Oliver Luck was also asked about Dodds' comments, but he's not looking for any bracket expansion, either.
"Let’s give four a shot and see," Luck said.
Luck agreed with Dodds' assertion that the debate about the No. 5 team -- aka the first team not invited to the playoff -- would carry more weight and be more heated than a debate about a No. 9 team, but stopped short of saying that would be enough to expand the playoff.
"It’d be interesting to go back and look the last 10 years at who would have qualified and how big of a gap there was between 4 and 5, and then 5, 6, 7, 8. Is there a discussion about 8 and 9?" he said. "A lot of years, it seems like there’s three or four really good teams, and then there’s a little bit of a dropoff, but I’m not sure I’d advocate eight at this point."
Bowlsby, meanwhile, argued that now -- just as the game's power brokers have become comfortable with altering the postseason again -- wasn't the time for further tinkering that might have far-reaching implications.
"One of the reasons why the playoff was eventually voted in was because people who had been opposed to the playoff got comfortable around the fact that it could be accomplished without decimating the bowl environment that has been so good to us over the years," Bowlsby said. "And if you add another four games to this, then you’re going to be playing into the middle of December and over the holidays and irreversibly change the bowl environment and therefore, the postseason."
Oklahoma State receiver Justin Blackmon won the preseason award in 2011 and won the Biletnikoff Award, but lost out on the postseason award to Robert Griffin III. A year earlier, Texas A&M QB Jerrod Johnson won the preseason award, but was benched in midseason for Ryan Tannehill after never quite recovering from offseason shoulder surgery.
Sam Bradford's preseason honor in 2009 didn't last long after a shoulder injury and an abbreviated junior season before becoming the No. 1 pick in the NFL draft.
Lache Seastrunk, RB, Baylor: Seastrunk was 2 yards away from being the Big 12's leading returning rusher, but he was most definitely the hottest player in the Big 12 to close 2012. He rushed for more than 800 yards in the final six games of the season once he took over the featured back role, averaging more than 138 yards a game and finished the season averaging 7.73 yards a carry.
James Sims, RB, Kansas: Sims has yet to experience a conference victory as a starting running back, but it doesn't change the fact he's been extremely productive over the past three seasons. He's been the most consistent offensive weapon for the Jayhawks and has 2,482 rushing yards over that span heading into his senior season. Despite missing the first three games of 2012 because of a suspension, he hit the 1,000-yard mark and is the league's leading returning rusher.
Josh Stewart, WR, Oklahoma State: Stewart was overshadowed last season by standout receivers like Tavon Austin, Terrance Williams and Stedman Bailey, who all put up huge numbers. This time around, Stewart quietly enters 2013 with almost 150 more receiving yards in 2012 than any Big 12 returning player. He did that with three different quarterbacks throwing him the ball, but he figures to have some more stability this year.
John Hubert, RB, Kansas State: Stewart wasn't the only major player overshadowed last season. Hubert didn't earn as many headlines sharing an offensive backfield with Klein, but he's got 1,922 rushing yards in the past two seasons, the highest of any returning player in the Big 12. He may be relied on to carry K-State's offense this season.
Eric Ward, WR, Texas Tech: Ward earned his first 1,000-yard receiving season in 2012 and is the first returning 1,000-yard receiver at Texas Tech since Michael Crabtree in 2008. In a fast-paced offense and with Ward's experience, he could be due for big numbers this season, but he's got 1,853 receiving yards in the past two seasons.
Vote in our poll. Would you vote for someone else? Let us know in the comments.
The defensive side of the ball is infinitely more difficult to predict. Injuries come into play and schemes shift. Offenses play away from certain defenders. Still, some keep racking up stops.
Nine players in the Big 12 had 100 tackles last season. Here are my picks to do it in the Big 12 this year:
1. Bryce Hager, LB, Baylor: Baylor's defense should be improved this year, and the Bears shouldn't have three 100-tackle guys. With a stronger defensive line and good play at linebacker, both of the Bears' 100-tackle guys will be at the second level of the defense. No safeties needed this year.
2. Ben Heeney, LB, Kansas: KU coach Charlie Weis says Heeney shouldn't need to make 112 tackles anymore or something's wrong. The Jayhawks should be a whole lot better on the defensive line this year, but Heeney's got tons of speed and great instinct. He'll be all over the field once again.
3. Eddie Lackey, LB, Baylor: Lackey doesn't have Hager's speed, but he developed a weird nose for the ball last season, and the Bears still need playmakers at the second level of the defense. That's where Lackey will step in. He had 104 stops last year, but with Ahmad Dixon moving to traditional safety, he should be in position to make a few more.
4. Jeremiah George, LB, Iowa State: A.J. Klein and Jake Knott were amazing players for the last three years, and George has gotten some time behind them. He stepped up for Knott last season and finished the year with 87 tackles. He'll hit triple digits this year with a greater responsibility in ISU's defense as a senior in 2013.
5. Jordan Hicks, LB, Texas: Hicks' 2012 was marred by a hip injury that basically erased his season. Texas' defense struggled, and Hicks' absence was a huge reason why. He'll be back this season and the 6-foot-2, 235-pounder should be a big fix for the Longhorns defense. Look for him to rack up stops.
6. Corey Nelson, LB, Oklahoma: Nelson has never had more than 58 tackles in a season, but the Sooners saw how poorly having no linebackers on the field worked last year. I wouldn't expect them to do that nearly as often, and Nelson's by far the most talented player in the Sooners' front seven. He'll have opportunities for a big season.
7. Isaiah Bruce, LB, West Virginia: Bruce has tons of speed at 6-foot-1 and 231 pounds and had a huge breakout with 16 tackles in the Mountaineers' season opener. His production slowed over the rest of the season once Big 12 play hit, but as a sophomore, he'll top his 90 tackles from 2012.
We talked top rushers, passers, receivers and tacklers this month, and I'll take a look at the guys fighting to get into the offensive backfield today. Here are my picks for the five best pass-rushers in the Big 12 for 2013:
1. Devonte Fields, TCU: Fields isn't short on question marks. His two-game suspension to start the season might cost TCU a huge win against LSU and isn't becoming of a future team leader. He also had just 4.5 tackles for loss and two sacks in his final six games after a huge start to last season. At this time, though, I'd like to remind everyone that Fields has been on TCU's campus and part of the team for less than a year. He's way ahead of everybody else in his class, and even if he's still got some things to prove over the rest of his career, you can't argue with production. He's No. 1.
2. Jackson Jeffcoat, Texas: Jeffcoat doesn't have the hardware of the man directly above him on this list, but for me, Jeffcoat is a more gifted pass-rusher who has been hampered by injuries. He definitely has a chance to be better than Fields this season. Jeffcoat can't seem to stay healthy for an entire season, but if he finally does, he's going to make a huge impact for the Longhorns and be on the short list for the Big 12's Defensive Player of the Year.
3. Kerry Hyder, Texas Tech: Hyder came out of nowhere last season after an average 2011 to be one of the Big 12's best pass-rushers. He earned a bit of starting experience in 2010, and he's ready for what could be a huge season as a third-year starter and senior in 2013. The 6-foot-2, 281-pounder had 5.5 sacks last season and was fifth in the league with 14 tackles for loss. He'll be a lynchpin of a new defense in a new era of Texas Tech football.
4. Dartwan Bush, Texas Tech: Bush isn't far behind as Hyder's partner in crime. The 6-foot-1, 256-pound defensive end equaled Hyder's sack total last season with 5.5. He also added 12 tackles for loss. He had multiple tackles for loss in three games, and a tackle for loss in seven consecutive games. Bush helps Tech boast one of the Big 12's best overall defensive lines after the Red Raiders struggled along the defensive front for much of the past few seasons.
5. Chris McAllister, Baylor: McAllister is an underrated player in the league with almost no name recognition, but he's coming off a great first year as a starter in 2012, when he had six sacks, 7.5 tackles for loss, six pass-breakups and two forced fumbles. His six sacks are second-most among returning Big 12 players, behind only Fields. He has a ton of quickness at 6-foot-3 and 255 pounds, and has crazy-good instincts for getting his hands up and batting down passes.
6. Tyler Johnson, Oklahoma State: I'm taking a bit of a flyer here on Johnson, but I love his athleticism, instincts and nose for the ball. He was a one-man wrecking crew in the Heart of Dallas Bowl, and he might be the best first-year starting defender in the Big 12 this season. Like former Oklahoma State quarterback Brandon Weeden, Johnson, now 27, played baseball after high school. The 6-foot-1, 245-pound defensive end didn't have a start in 2012, but had two sacks and two forced fumbles in the bowl game, finishing with six tackles for loss and an interception.
Total commits: 13
ESPN 150 commits: 2
Class notes: The Longhorns haven't earned a commitment since our last update. But offensive lineman Demetrius Knox decommitted late last month, and the Longhorns dropped to No. 2 overall in the latest rankings.
Total commits: 8
ESPN 150 commits: 1
Class notes: The Sooners added four commitments since our last update, headlined by cornerback Marcus Green, a 6-foot-1, 176-pounder from Cedar Hill, Texas. Tight end Carson Meier, a Tulsa, Okla. native, committed on Wednesday. Center Alex Dalton joined the class last week and the Sooners went down to Mississippi to add cornerback Tito Windham. Oklahoma has four players ranked nationally at their position, moving ahead of Texas Tech, which has just three.
3. Texas Tech
Total commits: 11
ESPN 150 commits: 0
Class notes: The Red Raiders have added a few commits since our last update, headlined by a pair of receivers. Oklahoma City native Cameron Batson and Alabama native Tevin Madison give Tech's class six receivers in just an 11-man class. That's going to turn a few heads.
4. Baylor Bears
Total commits: 9
ESPN 150 commits: 1
Class notes: The Bears been been a big mover since our last update, ascending three spots in the Big 12 ranking after picking up five commits over the past month. They're having to hold off suitors for top commit ATH Davion Hall, but added a pair of nationally ranked linemen in OT Josh Pelzel (No. 31) and DE Xavier Jones (No. 32) since our last update. RB Terence Williams, WR Ishmael Zamora and OT Patrick Lawrence also committed since our last update.
5. Kansas State
Total commits: 7
ESPN 150 commits: 0
Class notes: The Wildcats have the nation's No. 3 center already in the class, but added a pair of Argyle, Texas, natives since our last update. Safety Connor Wilson and outside linebacker Sam Sizelove are both committed to head to Manhattan next fall.
6. TCU Horned Frogs
Total commits: 5
ESPN 150 commits: 0
Class notes: There hasn't been any change in the Frogs' class since our last update, but they've already got two quarterbacks pledged to come to Fort Worth next season.
7. Oklahoma State
Total commits: 3
ESPN 150 commits: 0
Class notes: Oklahoma State hasn't added any players since our last update, but all three members of the class are ranked in the top 25 nationally at their position, headlined by the Devon Thomas, the nation's No. 15 running back.
Total commits: 2
ESPN 150 commits: 1
Class notes: Kansas grabbed a huge commit this month in Kyron Watson, the nation's No. 4 outside linebacker and No. 100 overall player. The East St. Louis, Ill., native would be KU's first ESPN 150 signee ever.
9. Iowa State
Total commits: 4
ESPN 150 commits: 0
Class notes: Iowa State added three players to complement hyped receiver Allen Lazard in its 2014 class. A pair of Texas defenders -- S Victor Holmes and CB De'Monte Ruth -- joined the class, and the Cyclones went up to Wisconsin (A.J. Klein's home state) to grab another linebacker in Sam Seonbuchner.
10. West Virginia
Total commits: 2
ESPN 150 commits: 0
Class notes: West Virginia hasn't added a commit since our last update, but still has the nation's No. 12 dual-threat quarterback, William Crest, in the fold.
2. Casey Pachall, TCU (17 starts): Pachall was leading the nation in passing efficiency before an October drunk driving arrest led to him leave the program to seek treatment for drug and alcohol addiction. His decision-making on the field is his biggest asset. He has 36 career touchdown passes to just eight interceptions.
3. Jake Heaps, Kansas (16 starts): All 16 of Heaps' starts came at BYU, but he lost his job after some sophomore struggles in the wake of a breakout freshman season. He threw for almost 3,800 yards and completed 57 percent of his passes with 24 touchdowns and 17 interceptions in almost two seasons in Provo.
4. Trevone Boykin, TCU (nine starts): Boykin's got a ton of speed and a big arm and did better than most figured he would while filling in for Pachall last season. The rising sophomore completed just 57 percent of his passes but threw for at least 250 yards in four games.
5. Clint Chelf, Oklahoma State (five starts): Chelf's upside is minimal, but he proved himself more than competent after sticking out the first half of the season as OSU's No. 3 quarterback. A year after being beaten out by a true freshman in the spring, he's OSU's presumed starter. He completed 60 percent of his passes for 15 touchdowns and six interceptions after stepping in for an injured Wes Lunt against Kansas State.
6. Sam Richardson, Iowa State (three starts): Richardson was the third ISU quarterback to get a start last season and had a huge game in a blowout win over Kansas but completed less than 50 percent of his passes the rest of the season. It's his team for the time being, but I'm betting Paul Rhoads is prepared to hand the ball to Grant Rohach if Richardson strings together many more games like he had against West Virginia and Tulsa.
6. J.W. Walsh, Oklahoma State (three starts): Nearly knocked off Texas in his first start, but played well in blowout wins over Kansas and Iowa State. A leg injury cost him half of his season, but he's found a niche in the offense with a short yardage package and proved himself a capable starter.
8. Clint Trickett, West Virginia (two starts): Trickett appeared in 16 games at Florida State, nearly knocking off Oklahoma in 2011 in Tallahassee. He made just two starts at FSU, but threw for 336 yards in a close loss to Clemson in one of them.
9. Michael Brewer, Texas Tech (zero starts): Brewer got a little bit of playing time behind Seth Doege last season, completing 70 percent of his passes for four touchdowns and no interceptions. It'll get tougher as a full-time starter if he officially wins the job ahead of Davis Webb this fall.
9. Blake Bell, Oklahoma (zero starts): You know him as the BellDozer, and he has more career rushing touchdowns (24) than pass attempts (20). He left the spring as the Sooners' almost sure heir to Landry Jones.
9. Daniel Sams/Jake Waters, Kansas State (zero starts): Waters is a junior college transfer who hasn't played a snap of major college football. Sams rushed for 235 yards and three touchdowns in mostly mop-up duty last season, but after Collin Klein suffered a head injury against Oklahoma State, he completed 6 of 8 passes for 55 yards.
9. Bryce Petty, Baylor (zero starts): Petty's never played a meaningful snap with the Bears and has just 14 career pass attempts. He's been in the program forever and has the physical skills to be great, but his career is starting on a fresh slate in 2013.
9. Paul Millard/Ford Childress, West Virginia (zero starts): Millard has served as Geno Smith's backup in mop-up duty, and threw 34 passes in the past two seasons. Childress redshirted last season and hasn't seen any playing time.
103.3 FM ESPN PODCASTS
Play Podcast Baylor coach Art Briles discusses the incredible progress the program has made over the past two seasons, the challenges of having three different starting quarterbacks in three years, the parity in the Big 12 and more.
Play Podcast Kirk Herbstreit joins Fitzsimmons & Durrett to discuss Bob Stoops' recent comments about the SEC and the pending college football playoff, what appears to be an unpredictable Big 12 in 2013, how the Aggies will handle expectations and more.
Play Podcast Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin talks about the improvements being made to Kyle Field, what those improvements will to for the program, the success of last year, Johnny Manziel's offseason and the expectations for the Aggies in 2013.
Play Podcast Scott Van Pelt and Ryen Russillo talk about Texas A&M's decision to expand its stadium and say although the Aggies had a fantastic year, the school must also be careful not to overextend its resources based on a single hot stretch.
Play Podcast Baylor head coach Art Briles joins Fitzsimmons & Durrett to discuss what kind of player the Cowboys are getting in Terrance Williams.
Play Podcast Arlington and Texas A&M product Luke Joeckel, the potential No. 1 overall pick in the NFL draft, joins Ian Fitzsimmons and Richard Durrett to discuss the draft, coaches and advice from his dad.
Play Podcast Florida Gulf Coast athletic director Ken Kavanagh joins Fitzsimmons & Durrett to discuss his school's Cinderella story and playing in the Sweet 16 at Cowboys Stadium.
Play Podcast Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby joins Fizsimmons & Durrett to discuss Cowboys Stadium as a venue, the state of Big 12 basketball, the new 2014 college football format, why there's no hurry to have a Big 12 football championship and much more.