No. 1 on the list? No surprise, it's the Oklahoma Sooners. Being less than two hours north of the Texas border helps, and the Sooners have always taken advantage of the Lone Star State's deep well of talent. That's been especially true under Bob Stoops.
Cook writes that the distance makes it a bit less impressive, but getting players to leave the state is no small task. He notes that Oklahoma has signed more ESPN 150 recruits the past five years than Texas Tech, TCU, Baylor and Houston combined. That's wow-worthy, and it's what happens when you establish a winning tradition at a power program, even if it's not in a state that can boast huge recruiting reserves.
Meanwhile, colleague Travis Haney looked at the nation's best recruiting head coaches . The Big 12 coach he points to? Art Briles. No question about this one. Briles inherited a mess in Waco, and he's built it into a program that's done big things and done a whole lot more than just earn the Big 12's respect.
His wide-open offenses have attracted big talents at quarterback, receiver and along the offensive line, and the Bears are sending talent to the NFL like never before. That's a credit to Briles' arrival. There's no doubt in my mind he's built more in the last five years than any coach in the Big 12. The Bears have been trying to exercise some upward mobility for a long time. It hasn't quite worked in awhile. Then Briles came a long, via Houston.