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Monday, December 2, 2013
Weekend recruiting wrap: Big 12

By Damon Sayles

As we inch closer to signing day, more and more schools are filling up their 2014 recruiting classes, and more and more elite athletes are preparing to make big announcements. While college football week saw one of its greatest weeks in a long time, many commits and targets were trying to balance their time watching college games with playing in their own high school playoff contests.

Here are some of this past week’s highlights:

Biggest commitment: Oklahoma State picked up its 23rd commitment when three-star defensive end Trey Carter (Dallas/Pinkston) gave his verbal pledge. Carter became the third defensive end and fifth defensive lineman to commit to the Cowboys. At 6-foot-5 and 255 pounds, Carter said he chose Oklahoma State for the athletic and academic opportunities. “Coach [Mike] Gundy said it didn’t matter if I get hurt; he still was going to promise me an education. No matter what, I’d still get my education,” said Carter, who wants to major in law enforcement and become a district attorney. “I didn’t hear that from the other schools.”

Biggest offer: Junior college quarterback Skyler Howard (White Settlement, Texas/Riverside Community College) has been impressive in Southern California Football Association play, throwing for more than 3,100 yards, 33 touchdowns and six interceptions. Howard had offers from New Mexico State and Northern Colorado, but the 6-0, 205-pound quarterback recently earned his first BCS offer from West Virginia. Recruited to West Virginia by offensive coordinator Shannon Dawson, Howard has Big 12 interest and could be a great addition to the Mountaineers. Wherever he plays, he will have three years of eligibility, as he was an academic qualifier out of high school.

Best performance by a commit/target: In arguably the biggest game of the year for his high school team, Texas Tech commit Ian Sadler (Argyle, Texas/Argyle) put on a show Friday night. Sadler accounted for 220 rushing and receiving yards and five touchdowns in a 45-38 win against Gilmer, Texas, a team Argyle has played four consecutive years and earned victories in three out of four games. Sadler, recruited to play inside receiver for the Red Raiders, rushed for 182 yards and four touchdowns and also caught two passes for 38 yards and a fifth score.

Afterward, Sadler took to Twitter to show some love to his teammates.

Like I said before... THE HYPE IS REAL! #ilovethisteam

— Ian Sadler (@isssadler) November 30, 2013
Most important visit: Texas isn’t a fan of its commits taking official visits to other schools. Four-star defensive tackle Trey Lealaimatafao (San Antonio/Warren) is still solid to the Longhorns, but he made the trip to Tempe, Ariz., to check out the Arizona State campus. Ranked as the nation’s No.  27 defensive tackle, Lealaimatafao has visited Arizona State and UCLA, and he’s expected to take his official visit to Texas the weekend of Dec. 13. The 6-1, 301-pound defender committed to Texas on March 30.

Biggest answer: While TCU didn’t get the win against Baylor on Saturday, the Horned Frogs silenced the critics who thought Gary Patterson’s group hung up their cleats early. Baylor needed all 60 minutes to beat TCU, 41-38, and it was enough to impress the Horned Frogs’ commits -- particularly, TCU’s top-ranked recruit, four-star quarterback Foster Sawyer (Fort Worth, Texas/All Saints Episcopal).

I cannot wait to play in that purple

— Foster Sawyer (@foster_sawyer) December 1, 2013
Biggest questions: Can the junior college tight end John Thomas’ (Bossier City, La./Trinity Valley Community College) decommitment from Texas be a blessing in disguise? The Longhorns now have 23 commits, which means there’s additional room to try and pick up a couple of ESPN 300 athletes. Cornerback Tony Brown (Beaumont, Texas/Ozen), safety Jamal Adams (Lewisville, Texas/Hebron) and Solomon Thomas (Coppell, Texas/Coppell) are still available.

Also, will Kansas ultimately land either A.J. Allen (El Cajon, Calif./Grossmont College) or Kelby Johnson (Hyattsville, Md./ASA College) -- or even both? Both offensive tackles have the Jayhawks high on their lists, and they were in Lawrence, Kan., for the Kansas-Kansas State Sunflower Showdown over the weekend. Allen is 6-6 and 310 pounds, while Johnson is 6-8 and 315 pounds. Allen has offers from both Kansas and Kansas State, along with Kentucky, Arizona State, Purdue, Cincinnati and others. Johnson, a former Virginia signee, has additional offers from East Carolina and UAB.