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Monday, February 3, 2014
Biggest flips: Big 12

By Damon Sayles

On Wednesday, many of the top stars of the 2014 recruiting class will transition from being college commits to college signees. Don’t be surprised if a last-minute flip or two occurs, as committed athletes will use these final hours to re-examine their choices and weigh them against new possibilities one last time.

Flipping is common in recruiting, and the Big 12 this year has had its share of players leaving for other conferences, as well as players choosing to play in the Big 12 after originally picking another conference. Here are five players who flipped to Big 12 programs and could have an impact on the college level sooner than later.

1. CB Nigel Bethel II (Miami/Booker T. Washington): Texas Tech

Sometimes, commitment announcements are just as much a surprise to coaches as they are to the fans. Bethel’s switch from Miami to Texas Tech somewhat shocked the Red Raiders coaching staff, but they are more than excited to have him on the commitment list entering Wednesday. Bethel is Texas Tech’s top-ranked recruit and the only ESPN 300 player in the 2014 class. Texas Tech has big plans for the athletic cover corner.

2. DT Terrell Clinkscales (Dodge City, Kan./Dodge City): Kansas State

When Clinkscales flipped from Nebraska to Kansas State, many Cornhuskers fans expressed their unhappiness on Twitter. With a player like Clinkscales, the Nebraska displeasure -- and Kansas State excitement -- is understandable. Clinkscales is the No. 16 player in the ESPN Junior College 50, and he’s the nation’s No. 4 juco defensive tackle. At 6-foot-3 and 315 pounds, Clinkscales is expected to be an instant run-stopping threat.

3. CB Chris Hardeman (Houston/Alief Taylor): Oklahoma State

Solid cover corners are key in a conference with productive offenses, such as the Big 12. So when Hardeman decided to play for Oklahoma State after decommitting from LSU, the Cowboys considered it a huge get. Hardeman is a four-star defender who plays larger than his 5-foot-8, 190-pound frame. Oklahoma State was able to flip two former LSU commitments in Hardeman and three-star running back Sione Palelei (Gonzales, La./East Ascension).

4. DT Courtney Garnett (New Orleans/St. Augustine): Oklahoma

In the recruiting world, no team wants to lose a commit to its archrival. Garnett’s switch from Texas to Oklahoma made Sooners fans beam with pride. In addition to winning a recruiting battle with its Red River rival, Oklahoma also is getting a four-star lineman who can be a major contributor under defensive line coach Jerry Montgomery’s tutelage. Garnett is a physical athlete who is striving to get better.

5. OG Alex Anderson (New Orleans/O. Perry Walker): Texas

With all of the decommitments the Longhorns have had to deal with, Anderson’s decision to flip from Arizona State to Texas was a breath of fresh air to Longhorns fans. Anderson, who has already enrolled at Texas, is a welcomed addition for a Texas 2014 class that has only two offensive linemen. ESPN scouts like his read-and-react skills, and Anderson should improve under new offensive coordinator Joe Wickline, a respected offensive line coach.