Dallas Colleges: Justin Keown

More booms, busts in 2007 recruiting class

February, 14, 2013
This week, we looked at the 2009 recruiting class' biggest surprises and biggest busts, and colleague Jake Trotter tackled 2008 last week.

You guys loved it. It's still a little soon to make generalizations about the 2010 class just yet, but you wanted more, so we looked at 2007.

Here's the first half from Wednesday. Now, it's time for the rest of the Big 12.

(Note: Players who signed and did not academically qualify are not eligible.)


Best surprise: C Grant Garner. He was ranked in the middle of Oklahoma State's class, but became a huge piece of Oklahoma State's strong offensive line after impressing coach Joe Wickline early in his career. He was a two-year starter who was one of the Big 12's best offensive linemen and an All-Big 12 talent that helped Oklahoma State win the Big 12 title.

Biggest bust: WR William Cole. Only Dez Bryant and Richetti Jones were ranked higher than Cole in Oklahoma State's 2007 class, but Cole suffered a knee injury before his first season and after 2008 concluded, was dismissed from the team by Mike Gundy. He transferred to North Texas.


Best surprise: ATH Tank Carder. Carder came to TCU as an unranked athlete, but Gary Patterson helped turn him into the heart of TCU's defense in an undefeated Rose Bowl season in 2010. The Sweeny, Texas, native was a two-time All-American and a three-year starter for the Frogs out of nowhere.

Biggest bust: S Chez Thomas. Most of TCU's best recruits in this class turned into contributors, but Thomas was one of the ones who didn't. He redshirted his first season, but never made an impact. He was TCU's sixth-highest rated recruit in the class.


Best surprise: S Earl Thomas. He came to Texas rated higher than just one recruit in Texas' 25-man class that included 12 players in the national top 150. He blossomed into a freshman All-American after one year as a starter and picked off eight passes during Texas' Big 12 title run in 2009, more than any player in the Big 12 since. He left Texas two years early and was the No. 14 overall pick.

Biggest bust: OL Tray Allen. He played out his career at Texas and started six games, appearing in 44, but expectations are higher for the nation's No. 1 offensive tackle and No. 21 overall recruit. Allen was OK on Texas' offensive line, but the Grand Prairie, Texas, native never made the kind of impact his recruiting ranking suggested he might, as the Longhorns' top overall recruit in the class.


Best surprise: OL Justin Keown. He was ranked higher than just four high school signees in Tech's class, but fought through injuries to be a three-year starter at center.

Biggest bust: OG Jerrod Gooch. He was Texas Tech's highest-rated recruit and a steal from Texas, but the Vidor, Texas, native transferred after a short career at Texas Tech. He was the nation's No. 14 offensive guard.

Who will transform tomorrow: Week 5

September, 28, 2012
It's a little silly, really.

He might be the most underappreciated player in the conference lately. Seth Doege can't help that his defense last year essentially said, "Hey, we're going to give up almost 40 points a game and more than 250 yards on the ground, but you go out and try to win us the game, anyway, OK?"

And that was before anyone told him his two best receivers, Darrin Moore and Alex Torres, would be banged up or out all season, and he'd lose his best receiving and blocking back, Eric Stephens, before Big 12 play even really got started. His center, Justin Keown, battled knee injuries all season but stayed on the field as a fraction of the player he'd be if he were healthy.

This year, though? His backs are, uh, back. So are his receivers. His defense is healthy this year, and questionable scheduling aside, is the nation's leader in total defense.

Saturday, in Ames, Doege will transform and remind us all that he's quietly been about as good as anybody in the Big 12 these past two years. Losses that weren't really his fault have clouded that, and injuries to his offense have prevented him from reaching the potential numbers we could see from him if his defense had the ability to get off the field and he wasn't throwing to a different set of receivers every week.

Last year, Doege threw 28 touchdowns. Only five Big 12 quarterbacks had more, but four of those (RG3 excluded) all surpassed Doege's 10 interceptions. Each had at least 13 interceptions. Doege still completed at least 68 percent of his passes, which ranked third in the Big 12, behind only a pair of first-round draft picks, Brandon Weeden and Robert Griffin III.

This year, he's doing it again, and we'll get a glimpse of what he'll be able to do later in the season when he leads the Red Raiders to a road victory at Iowa State, one of the Big 12's most underrated defenses.

His 12 touchdowns are tied for the nation's most, and Doege's played just three games. His one interception is fewer than every QB with those 12 TDs, except Geno Smith, who's still waiting on his first pick of the year. Even with those impressive numbers, Doege's done it on just 101 attempts. All Tech does is chuck it?

Doege ranks 33rd nationally in attempts per game, in part because he's been sitting in the fourth quarter of three Tech routs this season.

Still, the senior went underappreciated even in his own conference last year. Saturday, that will transform.

Big 12 recruiting needs in 2012

January, 24, 2012
Signing day is coming fast. Next Wednesday, the next round of players will sign up for their respective programs and start what could be storied careers.

Here's what each team across the Big 12 needs. You'll find Texas A&M and Mizzou on the SEC blog and West Virginia on the Big East Blog.


Quarterback: This one's pretty simple. Robert Griffin III is taking his talents to the NFL early. Nick Florence is waiting to take over, and the Bears have Bryce Petty behind him, but more reinforcements at quarterback are needed. Dual-threat quarterbacks, ideally.

Defensive tackle: Baylor already was one of the nation's worst teams (102nd nationally) at stopping the run. Now it'll need to replace both its interior linemen, Nicolas Jean-Baptiste and Tracy Robertson.

Offensive linemen: Baylor's offensive line, meanwhile, has been solid. It loses junior college transfer and two-year starter Robert T. Griffin, as well as All-Big 12 center Philip Blake. John Jones, a reserve guard, also has exhausted his eligibility.


Receiver: This has been a weak spot for the team for several years, and its top overall talent, Darius Reynolds, is gone. Darius Darks is, too. Aaron Horne and Josh Lenz will be the team's best weapons in 2012, but the pair of shifty slot guys will be seniors. This position needs reinforcements.

Defensive back: The DBs have been a quiet strength for ISU, especially in 2011. Cornerback Leonard Johnson and safety Ter'Ran Benton both have exhausted their eligibility, though, and defensive backs coach Bobby Elliott left for Notre Dame. You'll see plenty of new faces in the Cyclones' secondary next year.

Defensive line: Experienced starters Stephen Ruempolhamer and Jacob Lattimer are both gone, and Iowa State has struggled to stop the run consistently the past few seasons.


Quarterback: Kansas landed high-profile transfers Dayne Crist (Notre Dame) and Jake Heaps (BYU), but this is still a huge position of need. Last year's starter, Jordan Webb, left the team. Quinn Mecham is out of eligibility. Heaps is sitting out his NCAA-mandated year after transferring. Crist is the starter, but he badly needs a backup, especially if Brock Berglund's transfer appeal allows him to leave.

Wide receiver: Kansas lacks a big threat at this position. It needs a talent upgrade in a big way. Oklahoma transfer Justin McCay is joining the team, but he's no guarantee to a) be granted immediate eligibility or b) become an impact player.

Defensive tackle: Kansas is thin here, too. Richard Johnson, Patrick Dorsey and Michael Martinovich are gone, and Kansas couldn't stop much of anything on defense. Some push up front could help make everything look better. A late addition to the 2012 class from a junior college seems like a no-brainer. The Jayhawks need physically mature players to contribute immediately.


Offensive line: K-State's offensive line was much better in 2011 and could be again in 2012. It needs help replacing All-Big 12 lineman Clyde Aufner, though. Starter Colten Freeze is also gone.

Defensive line: Kansas State is bringing back about as many starters as anyone in the Big 12, but the biggest losses are along the defensive line. Kick-blocking specialist (five in 2011) Ralph Guidry is gone, along with tackle Ray Kibble. Juco transfer Jordan Voelker exploded onto the scene this year, but he's gone, too.

Defensive backs: Cornerback David Garrett leaves a huge hole behind. Tysyn Hartman may not be as talented as teammate Ty Zimmerman, but his experience leaves a big hole. Zimmerman will have to mentor a younger safety in the near future.


Receiver: The Sooners are thin here in a big way. That was obvious late in the season when Ryan Broyles' storied college career ended a few weeks early with a knee injury. The team also lost Justin McCay (transfer) to Kansas. Jaz Reynolds and Kenny Stills are the likely top two targets, but they need help.

Tight end: This position inspired a bit of panic at the end of the season. Seniors James Hanna and Trent Ratterree are gone. Austin Haywood wasn't allowed back on the team, and two more tight ends left the team for various reasons. That left the Sooners suddenly without a scholarship player at the position returning in 2012.

Offensive line: Starting tackle Donald Stephenson must be replaced, as will guard Stephen Good, who moved in and out of the starting lineup throughout his career. The Sooners bring back a lot of talent and aren't dying for depth there, but those two will leave holes. Three more offensive line starters will be seniors in 2012.


Offensive line: The Cowboys need a whole lot of help here to fill in behind young players stepping into the starting lineup. Starters Levy Adcock, Nick Martinez and Grant Garner are gone. Backup center Casey LaBrue is gone, too. Those are two All-Big 12 linemen who leave big shoes to be filled.

Receiver: Justin Blackmon surprised no one by leaving a year early, and Josh Cooper leaves with perhaps the most underrated career of any receiver in school history. In OSU's offense, there's always room for depth here. Nine receivers had at least 19 catches in 2011. Blackmon and Cooper combined for 192, though.

Defensive ends: The pass rush was solid for Oklahoma State this year, but both starters, Jamie Blatnick and Richetti Jones, are gone. Replacing both is a necessity.


Receiver: Texas lacks a true game-changer at the position, though Jaxon Shipley and Mike Davis may develop into that role in 2012. Former blue-chip recruit Darius White left for Missouri, too.

Quarterback: David Ash and Case McCoy didn't show a ton of potential at quarterback this year, though Ash may grow with an offseason to prepare as starter. Garrett Gilbert got a big chunk of the work in the spring, summer 7-on-7 and fall preseason camp. Even if Ash does grow, the Longhorns need reinforcements at the position.

Linebacker: Two senior impact players are gone. Texas is left trying to replace Emmanuel Acho and Keenan Robinson, though Jordan Hicks may mature into a star in 2012.


Offensive line: TCU's offensive line is headed for some major turnover. OT Robert Deck, OG Kyle Dooley and OG Spencer Thompson are gone. Two more starters, OG Blaize Foltz and C James Fry, will be seniors in 2012.

Defensive linemen: TCU isn't losing a lot at this spot, but Ross Forrest and D.J. Yendrey will be seniors in 2012. The Horned Frogs would be well-served to prepare, and offer some depth next year.

Specialists: TCU will have to break in a pair of new starters on special teams next season. Kicker Ross Evans and punter Anson Kelton have exhausted their eligibility.


Receiver: The Red Raiders' offense requires a lot of depth here. Tramain Swindall is the only loss at the position, but three more (Alex Torres, Cornelius Douglas, Darrin Moore) will be seniors. Douglas moved to cornerback this year after the team was racked with injury, but we'll see whether he moves back this offseason.

Offensive line: Tech has a huge need here. Four players won't be returning in 2012. Lonnie Edwards, Mickey Okafor and center Justin Keown must be replaced.

Defensive linemen: Tech's Donald Langley and Scott Smith are both out of eligibility, and juco transfer Leon Mackey will be a senior.

Tommy Tuberville promised risk-taking

September, 6, 2010
This is part of our Monday Morning Quarterback series, designed to give you a quick look at some things we learned from Saturday's college football action. Let's look at some brief items from Texas Tech's victory over SMU:

Tommy Tuberville wasn't in Lubbock long before he was quickly reminded that there wasn't a fourth-down situation that his predecessor didn't like. Tuberville said not to worry. He said he's not crazy, but he's not exactly conservative either. He proved it Sunday in the fourth quarter when he kept the offense on the field for a fourth-and-1 from its own 34 despite leading 35-20 with 9:37 to go.

Quarterback Taylor Potts, who threw for 359 yards and four touchdowns, was under center and not in the shotgun. He bobbled the snap and SMU took over at the 32 and scored to make it 35-27.

Potts said he liked the aggressive call.

"That was a great call. Coach calls it and expects me to get a first down. I need to do it. The snap was my fault," Potts said. "I've got to come back with [center] Justin [Keown] this week and work on it. If he expects us to get a first down, we need to do it. We kind of fell short on that one and that's my fault."

Tuberville took the onus off his quarterback.

"I put them in a bind by going for that fourth down," Tuberville said. "I forgot we don't take many snaps underneath the center. I've got to get that out of my mind, but that was my fault and my call."

*Potts and wide receiver Lyle Leong had a huge day, connecting 11 times for 142 yards, both career highs for Leong, and three touchdowns, which tied his career-best. Yes, the two have a feel for one another. They were high school teammates at Abilene High School.

Asked if that was there best game together, Potts had to ponder that for a moment: "I have no idea. Maybe. Maybe better in elementary school. I don't know."

*So much attention has been paid to how coach Tommy Tuberville would alter the Red Raiders' famous aerial attack. Well, Potts put the ball in the air more than 30 times -- in the first half. He finished with 34 completions on 53 attempts. But, what about the defense, Tuberville's specialty?

A defensive scheme promising a more aggressive approach in sacking the quarterback paid off with three sacks of SMU sophomore quarterback Kyle Padron. Tech also intercepted Padron three times -- by three different defenders -- and held the Ponies to 218 yards on 21-of-38 passing.

"We played a lot of nickel, a lot of dime, a lot of six DBs. With a passing attack like SMU's, they know what they're doing passing the ball," Tuberville said. "They had us a little confused at times. We gave up 200 yards passing, which is probably a little bit too much, but they had us confused. But, that's what first games are about. We'll get into more of a rhythm, guys will know what to expect and hopefully we'll play a little bit better. But, overall I thought they graded out well for the first time out as a group."

*The Tech ground game certainly didn't come through as expected. The Red Raiders finished with 431 yards of total offense with just 72 yards coming on 31 rushes. Baron Batch had a team-high 52 yards on 15 carries, not a great start on the senior's quest to become the first Tech tailback to eclipse 1,000 yards since the 1990s.