Dallas Colleges: Solomon Thomas

Texas coaches back on the road recruiting 

January, 16, 2014
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The dead period is over and it’s time to hit the road. Charlie Strong has his new coaching staff in place and is ready to get back to work on closing out Texas’ recruiting class.

The Longhorns currently have 21 committed prospects, though several are looking to take official visits elsewhere this month. There are big-time recruits still available. And don’t forget the new names who are sure to pop up on Texas’ radar in the next few weeks.

Here’s a rundown of where things stand and what names you should know entering the end of the dead period.

Solid commitments

Most important targets: Big 12 

January, 8, 2014
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With less than 30 days till national signing day, Big 12 programs are finalizing their recruiting classes. Some are looking to build to their classes at the 11th hour while others are trying to hold on to the commits they have.

Feb. 5 will be a huge day for all the programs in the conference, but with the help of verbal pledges from some of the following targets, a good class could turn into a great class. Here is a look at the most important remaining 2014 target for each Big 12 school.

Baylor
ATH Davion Hall (Texarkana, Texas/Liberty-Eylau)
6-foot-2, 194 pounds
ESPN 300 rank: No. 45
It’s been a good year for Baylor, so all that’s needed right now is for the Bears to keep their future stars in green and gold. Hall has been a Baylor commit since last February but has been a major target of the SEC, particularly Alabama and Texas A&M. Hall has said that his love for Baylor and Texas A&M is split down the middle, which means the Bears must work on keeping an important player who can play on both sides of the ball. Expected to play wide receiver in college, Hall lined up as a defensive back at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl.

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Big 12 recruiting storylines: Dec. 12 

December, 12, 2013
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With the high school playoffs coming to an end and junior college bowl games behind us, it’s time for many athletes to put recruiting back in the forefront. Several athletes are either in the middle of finishing up their official visit schedules, or they’re in the right mindset to make the big announcement that will shape their lives for the next few years.

Here are some attractive storylines in the Big 12:

Four-star DT still tight with Texas?

This weekend marks the big banquet weekend for Texas, an important event when many commits come to Austin and several targets look to take official visit. With Mack Brown expected to announce his resignation very soon, this weekend could also serve as a time to keep an eye out for Texas commits who choose to reopen their recruiting because of Brown’s departure.


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The Texas Longhorns will have had 12 days to stew over their 38-13 loss to Oklahoma State by the time they kick off against Texas Tech on Thursday. So they’ll be anxious to get back on the field to try and right the ship in their last home game of the season. Who knows, it could be Mack Brown's last home game as Texas' head coach.

Because of impending weather and high school playoffs, it’s unclear which recruits will be in attendance. But here are a few names to keep an eye on.


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Weekend recruiting wrap: Big 12 

November, 25, 2013
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With five November commitments, good fortune has come Oklahoma's way on the recruiting trail.

The Sooners picked up a commit last week and also offered a rising junior wide receiver. We’ll take a look at those two players and discuss a big performance by a future Longhorns running back in this week’s Big 12 recruiting weekend wrap.

Biggest commitment: This goes to Oklahoma and the verbal pledge it received from outside linebacker Devante Bond (Roseville, Calif./Sierre College). Bond was the third commitment in a two-day span for the Sooners, who have five commitments this month and 19 overall. OU wasn’t in dire need of outside linebacker help with a pair of three stars on board in Tay Evans (Allen, Texas/Allen) and Curtis Bolton (Murrieta, CA/Vista Murrieta). But Bond solidifies the group's depth for the next couple of seasons, while also showing the country that Oklahoma isn’t afraid to go the junior-college route if need be. Bond also had offers from Nebraska, Cal, Fresno State, Memphis, Ole Miss and West Virginia.


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Big 12 class ranking analysis 

November, 20, 2013
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There were no changes from last week for Big 12 teams in the RecruitingNation class rankings, but with December rapidly approaching -- and with the Thanksgiving holiday next week -- look for a potential shakeup, as more uncommitted, high-profile targets announce their college futures.

Texas, at No. 8, still holds the top spot from the conference. Baylor is No. 16, followed by Oklahoma (No. 22), Oklahoma State (No. 27) and Texas Tech (No. 35). Per our Big 12 rankings, West Virginia holds down the sixth spot in the conference, followed by Kansas, TCU, Iowa State and Kansas State.

Here is a more in-depth look at the Big 12 class rankings:

Trending up: This is right around the time when Oklahoma sees a spike in its recruiting, and the timing has been right on schedule. The Sooners have landed five commitments in the month of November, the latest being junior college outside linebacker Devante Bond (Roseville, Calif./Sierra College). In previous years, Oklahoma has started slow and finished strong in recruiting, and there are still a few top-ranked players available. Among the ESPN 300 athletes are cornerback Adoree’ Jackson (Gardena, Calif./Serra), defensive end Solomon Thomas (Coppell, Texas/Coppell), running back Joe Mixon (Oakley, Calif./Freedom) and Steven Parker II (Jenks, Okla./Jenks).


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Big 12 recruiting storylines: Oct. 31 

October, 31, 2013
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Remember when the Longhorns were done for the season? Texas has won four straight and sit atop the Big 12 standings. With road games against West Virginia and Baylor and home games against Oklahoma State and Texas Tech coming, can the Longhorns keep it up? And can they keep the uncommitted targets interested?

Additionally, Oklahoma’s still looking for a few good men up front and a TCU commit may be looking elsewhere. Here are some of the Big 12 recruiting storylines for the week:

[+] EnlargeTony Brown
Tom Hauck for Student SportsTexas' rebound on the field has kept them in the hunt for Tony Brown and other ESPN 300 recruits.
Longhorns hot with targets again

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Most important targets: Big 12 

October, 22, 2013
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video

Not surprisingly, Big 12 programs have filled their rosters with ESPN 300 recruits. But, as we’ve come to learn, success on the field doesn’t always come down to how many stars you acquire each recruiting cycle. It’s about filling needs with the types of players coveted by that particular program.

Here is a look at the most important target for each Big 12 school, which features some highly ranked recruits and other recruits with no ranking at all.


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Big 12 recruiting storylines: Oct. 10 

October, 10, 2013
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The Big 12 has a big weekend ahead in Dallas and Texas Tech is surging. Here’s a look at some of the Big 12’s top recruiting storylines.

Big names set to attend Red River Rivalry
There is never a season, regardless of what type of shape either program is in, that the Cotton Bowl won’t be filled with some of the most desirable recruits in the country.

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Top 10 recruits for Red River Rivalry 

October, 10, 2013
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Oklahoma has owned the Red River Rivalry over the last three seasons, beating Texas by a combined score of 146-58.

Oddsmakers and, yes, many Longhorns fans believe the Sooners have a good chance of making it a fourth straight victory on Saturday. That would have a negative impact on recruiting south of the Red River wouldn’t it?

Here is a look at the top 10 players this game truly matters to. Some are still considering both teams, others are a commitment of one school who could be swayed by a victory from the other.

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Big 12 class rankings analysis 

October, 9, 2013
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Each Wednesday, ESPN RecruitingNation updates its national class rankings. For an in-depth look at the Big 12 conference, check out our conference rankings:

1. Texas, 24 commits: The Longhorns check in at No. 7 in the RecruitingNation class rankings with the headliners being No. 79 overall Derick Roberson (San Antonio, Texas/Williams J. Brennan High), No. 119 Armanti Foreman (Texas City, Texas/Texas City High) and No. 138 Jerrod Heard (Denton, Texas/John H. Guyer High). Texas, which currently has seven ESPN300 commits, has its sights set on No. 31 overall Solomon Thomas (Coppell, Texas/Coppell High), No. 13 Tony Brown (Beaumont, Texas/Ozen High) and No. 25 Jamal Adams (Lewiville, Texas/Hebron High).

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Weekend recruiting wrap: Big 12 

October, 7, 2013
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The weekend of Big 12 football featured another Baylor massacre, Texas Tech and Oklahoma both staying undefeated with the Bears and a controversial finish between Texas and Iowa State. From a recruiting standpoint, Oklahoma was the talk of the conference -- and the West Coast.

Here are some of the highlights from the weekend.

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Big 12 recruiting mailbag

October, 4, 2013
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In this week's Big 12 mailbag we take a look at Baylor's chances of landing a former NFL quarterback's son, if Texas' loan quarterback commitment will stick around, an underrated safety commitment for the Pokes and the Longhorns' odds on two ESPN 300 recruits.

Andrew Smith: Do you think Baylor will snag RCII?

"RCII," for those not aware, is the moniker given to Randall Cunningham II, the son of former NFL quarterback Randall Cunningham and a three-star 2014 quarterback out of Las Vegas Bishop Gorman. Cunningham (6-foot-5, 180 pounds) has an offer from Baylor as well as Arizona State, Kansas State, LSU, Mississippi State, Syracuse, UNLV, Utah and Yale.

I think the Bears have a great shot at landing him, personally. In fact, I think it will come down to the Bears and Oregon, which he unofficially visited over the weekend. Baylor has yet to garner a commitment from a quarterback in 2014 but did sign Chris Johnson, the No. 5 dual-threat quarterback in 2013.


Michael Molina: Why won't Texas use Tyrone Swoopes now? Win now and Jerrod Heard keeps his commitment to Texas. No matter what happens this year, Mack has got to go. I'd like to see Art Briles or Charlie Strong as head coach. Anyways do you think Heard stays with Texas? Thanks.

I believe that Heard will stick with the Longhorns, yes. Publicly he says all the right things and has never given me a reason to believe he won’t end up at UT. He always has been quick to defend Texas and has formed great relationships with most of the recruits in UT's class right now. I also think he sees how things are shaping up for him to see the field for a minimum of two seasons as the starter. I do believe Swoopes will burn his redshirt at some point this season, thus setting in motion the chain of events that will give Heard the opportunity to compete for the starting job in 2015.


Robert Thomas: @ESPNwilkerson How underrated is S Dylan Harding out of Jenks? Produces like a 4-star or ESPN300 prospect #AskBig12.

Count me a fan. I think he compares favorably to Erik Huhn, who signed with the Longhorns last season. Harding is a bit underrated in my book but certainly isn’t to college programs. Just look at his offers list. As his scouting report notes, he could see early PT on special teams, and situational playing time early in his career is a definite possibility. You wonder if he has the pull to get Steven Parker to OSU, as well. Would be a lethal secondary.


Chris Conaty: What ESPN 300 recruits should TCU fans be expecting the Frogs to sign?

The obvious one here is ESPN 300 offensive lineman Braden Smith (Olathe, Kan./South). TCU feels really good about their chances with him for numerous reasons. One, there are family ties there with his sister currently throwing for their track and field team. Two, early playing time looks likely, and he is very comfortable in Fort Worth. Another name to keep an eye on is the state of Texas’ top player Myles Garrett (Arlington, Texas/Martin). It’s going to be tough to keep him away from the SEC. But if he does stray away from that conference, I see him in the Big 12 at TCU. Work to be done there for sure.


Trey Briggs: Willie, who would win in a swimming race: Case McCoy or David Ash?

Wilkerson: Tough to say, but I’ll give the nod to Ash right now. For what reason, I have no clue.


Nathan Goldstein: Is Jamal Adams leaning toward one school? Is Texas in the mix? And is Solomon Thomas a likely Texas commit.

Let’s go last to first here. Texas has always felt comfortable with their positioning when it comes to Thomas. He has visited UT's campus more than any other but hasn't visited in a while. Stanford really appeals to him, so I will give the Cardinal a slight edge. But there are several other schools in the mix. Adams seems to really be feeling Florida and Texas A&M right now. Texas needs a good showing against Oklahoma State, when Adams could potentially be in attendance.


Alfio Randall-Veasey: Can Texas have the No. 1 class in recruiting again. Haven’t been since #99baby #HookEm.

It's going to be a while, Alfio but I do think it will happen again. You've got to put some things into perspective here. Texas is one of a few schools that can maintain the type of success in recruiting they have with the lack of success on the field over the last four years. Winning cures all.

Top Big 12 recruiting rivalries 

October, 1, 2013
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Recruiting rivalries. No matter if two teams are pushing for a national title or in a rebuilding stage, recruiting gets the people going. Nothing ruffles the feathers of recruiting fans more than monitoring the process of a player considering one school and its big rival.

Here are five of the better recruiting rivalries going right now in the Big 12.


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Big 12 recruiting mailbag

September, 27, 2013
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This week’s Big 12 mailbag focuses on Texas Tech’s class and underrated prospects committed and uncommitted to conference schools. It also discusses some of the tangibles seen from coaches in a Big 12 wide receiver. We encourage all to send questions each week, either via Twitter to @DamonSayles or @ESPNWilkerson or by email at dsaylesespn@gmail.com or wilkerson.espn@gmail.com.

From @taylormidkiff: Who is the most underrated prospect that a Big 12 team will end up getting?

I think that can be answered in two ways. There are a few underrated prospects already committed to a Big 12 program, but running back Traevohn Wrench (Gardner, Kan./Gardner-Edgerton) will be one to watch next year at Kansas. Wrench has been a 2,000-yard back since his sophomore year and is on pace to pass Bubba Starling this season for career rushing yards at the high school. As for the uncommitted underrated prospects of the world, if wide receiver Del’Michael High (Mesquite, Texas/Horn) can get things right academically, he will be every bit as good as any of the ESPN 300 receivers, top to bottom. High, at 6-foot-2 and 180 pounds, does so much on raw talent alone; coaching from the Big 12 level could make him an all-conference player as a sophomore.

[+] EnlargeNick Watkins
William Wilkerson/ESPN.comESPN 300 cornerback Nick Watkins is still wide open in his recruiting which could help some Big 12 teams.
From PJ Worthen: What are the chances Tech finishes with a top 25 class? After getting Connor Wilson to flip his commit, is Sam Sizelove to follow? What big name recruits have Tech on their radar? Thanks for the time, I enjoy your work!

Thanks for the comments, first of all. Texas Tech is ranked No. 31 in the latest ESPN class rankings. The Red Raiders will need a couple of ESPN 300 commits -- or see some of the teams ahead of it lose some big-name pledges -- to crack the top 25. Texas Tech has 20 commits, which means there’s still room to land some highly ranked players. If the Red Raiders can continue to stay undefeated, they might turn the heads of players still wide open in the process -- such as ESPN 300 cornerback Nick Watkins (Dallas/Bishop Dunne), four-star running back Corey Avery (Dallas/Carter) and high three-star safety Payton Hendrix (Dallas/Bishop Dunne). As for Sizelove (Argyle, Texas/Argyle), he’s said on multiple occasions that he’s still solid with Kansas State -- but the idea of playing with high school teammates Wilson and four-star receiver Ian Sadler is very intriguing.

From @bryantwing: Does Texas have a legitimate chance of reviving their season and win the Big 12? Why or why not?

The losses to BYU and Ole Miss will be short-lived if the Longhorns can score a win against Oklahoma on Oct. 12. The Red River Rivalry is considered by some as the end-all, be-all for Texas’ season. Currently, the Longhorns are undefeated in Big 12 play, and if they can beat the Sooners, they will have the confidence to take out anyone in the conference. If they take a bad loss to Oklahoma, questions about beating TCU, Oklahoma State, Texas Tech and Baylor will begin to spread.

From @dmiller37: Do you see RB/WR Justyn Oliphant (Mesquite, Texas/Horn) fitting into a Big 12 program and which one?

Through four games, Oliphant has 49 rushes for 286 yards. He’s still looking for his first offer, but his seven touchdowns show he can get the job done when his number’s called. He’s not the biggest player at 5-8 and 170 pounds, but he has similar physical qualities as Iowa State running back James White. Although the Cyclones have two big, three-star backs committed in 6-0, 196-pound Tommy Mister (Chicago/St. Rita) and 6-0, 200-pound Martinez Syria (Houston/Nimitz), Oliphant would make for a nice change-of-pace back for the program, someone who also can line up as a slot receiver.

From @AdidasKing5: What kind of receivers fit in well in the big 12

In short, coaches want playmakers. They want receivers who specialize in results. Size, speed and agility preferences differ with every coach, but all coaches will agree that they want a reliable option to the passing game and someone who scores touchdowns or puts them in great position to score, runs great routes and won’t drop passes. Coaches want receivers who will make the lives of opposing defensive backs miserable. There’s still time for uncommitted receivers to make a name for themselves, but the window closes each week.

From @cody_winning: Which Big 12 team is performing the best in terms of recruiting nationally?

If you’re talking about how teams are performing on the field with past recruits, you’ve got to look at Oklahoma State. The Cowboys look really good right now, but Baylor is looking equally dangerous. Both have solid 2014 classes that will only enhance what’s been done. As for the Big 12 team with the top 2014 recruiting class, you have to look at the Texas Longhorns. With seven ESPN 300 commits, the Longhorns have a top-10 class, and they could land one or two more big names. Defensive end Solomon Thomas (Coppell, Texas/Coppell) and safety Edwin Freeman (Arlington, Texas/Bowie), two ESPN 300 players, are among the players still very high on Texas.

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