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Tuesday, December 17, 2013
Big 12 signing day storylines

By Damon Sayles

Consider the countdown a go.

With 50 days from national signing day, a lot of questions about star players have been answered. Some questions, however, are still left to be answered.

Here are 10 signing day storylines that could affect recruiting classes throughout the Big 12:

Texas could lose a top commit or two

Otaro Alaka
Mack Brown's resignation could cause ESPN 300 linebacker Otaro Alaka to look elsewhere.
It’s easy for the current 2014 Longhorns recruits to say they are still solid with their commitments after news that Mack Brown is resigning after the team’s appearance in the Valero Alamo Bowl. There are a lot of scenarios that could sway one or two -- or more -- of these commits. The new head coach must be likable and someone the commits trust. Perhaps the one player all Texas fans are following closely is ESPN 300 linebacker Otaro Alaka (Houston/Cypress Falls), a big fan of Brown who remains committed but said he is strongly considering exploring other options.

New TCU coaches could make a difference

TCU added two assistant coaches in Doug Meacham and Sonny Cumbie that could immediately help the Horned Frogs’ offensive recruits. Meacham and Cumbie are making future quarterback and wide receiver targets think twice about playing in Fort Worth. And with the new additions, expect quarterback pledges Foster Sawyer (Fort Worth, Texas/All Saints Episcopal) and Grayson Muehlstein (Decatur, Texas/Decatur) -- as well as athlete Desmon White (DeSoto, Texas/DeSoto), who plays quarterback for his high school -- to learn a lot about how to manage a productive offense.

ESPN 300 Iheanacho: TCU vs. the field

At 6-foot-7 and 220 pounds, ESPN 300 wide receiver Frank Iheanacho (Houston/Westside) is one of the most wanted players in the country. He’s taken official visits to LSU, Arkansas and Oregon, and he’s expected to make his decision Jan. 2 at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl. Iheanacho has those schools and Texas A&M very high on his list, but he is also eyeing TCU as a potential destination. Iheanacho was scheduled to take an official visit to TCU earlier this month, but a bad ice storm in the Dallas-Fort Worth area canceled those plans. Iheanacho still could end up at TCU, but the competition is very stiff. Texas A&M is considered a favorite by many, but Oregon has several Houston-area players who could persuade him to play in Eugene.

Will Baylor sign all of its commits?

After an outstanding Monday that included three junior college defensive commitments, Baylor is sitting pretty with 27 commits. Inside linebacker Grant Campbell (Bakersfield, Calif./Bakersfield College) and cornerbacks Tion Wright (Amarillo, Texas/Moorpark College) and Chris Sanders (Tucker, Ga./Eastern Arizona College) added to the Bears’ impressive class, but will all 27 commits sign? How many players will sign as mid-year additions? Will any change their minds before Feb. 5? Grade issues, off-the-field problems and other random situations could interfere with the signing of a letter of intent.

West Coast players a priority for Oklahoma

It’s no secret that the Sooners have a history with recruiting players from the West Coast. Fortunately for Oklahoma, there are still several high-ranked players from California still considering wearing crimson next season. ESPN 300 cornerback Adoree’ Jackson (Gardena, Calif./Serra), the nation’s No. 2 cornerback and the No. 7 player overall, is a primary target for the Sooners. Other ESPN 300 targets out west include Michiah Quick (Fresno, Calif./Central East), the nation’s No. 4 athlete, Casey Tucker (Chandler, Ariz./Hamilton), the nation’s No. 5 offensive tackle, and Joe Mixon (Oakley, Calif./Freedom), the nation’s No. 9 running back.

Can Oklahoma State keep all of its top pledges?

The Cowboys have three ESPN 300 commits and an ESPN Junior College 50 commit. Will they sign all four? ESPN Junior College 50 Tyreek Hill (Garden City, Kan./Garden City Community College), the top-ranked athlete in the juco ranks, is being courted heavily by Texas. Whether or not Hill signs with Oklahoma State is still to be determined. As for the ESPN 300 trio of quarterback Mason Rudolph (Rock Hill, S.C./Northwestern), running back Devon Thomas (Broken Arrow, Okla./Broken Arrow) and outside linebacker Gyasi Akem (Broken Arrow, Okla./Broken Arrow), it looks as though the Cowboys have nothing to worry about.

Uncommitted Texans: Keeping them at home

The state of Texas is a huge recruiting state for multiple schools, but no program truly appreciates the talent like its in-state programs. In the Big 12, Texas, Baylor, Texas Tech and TCU currently have a combined 86 commits. Only 17 are from outside of the Lone Star State. Three of the top uncommitted players from Texas are cornerback Tony Brown (Beaumont, Texas/Ozen), safety Jamal Adams (Lewisville, Texas/Hebron) and defensive end Solomon Thomas (Coppell, Texas/Coppell), all ESPN 300 players. All three are predicted to verbally commit to out-of-state programs.

Iowa State needs more marquee players

The Cyclones landed a sleeper on Monday in three-star cornerback Brian Peavy (Houston/Spring Westfield), an absolute ball hawk who had seven interceptions his senior year. However, Iowa State is still looking to score that marquee player that could help reshape recruiting for the future. The Cyclones currently have 21 commits, but only one -- ESPN 300 wide receiver Allen Lazard (Urbandale, Iowa/Urbandale) -- is a four-star commit or better. Eighteen of the 21 are three-star players, which makes for a respectable class overall. Among the ESPN 300 athletes Iowa State has offered are linebacker Dwight Williams (Gardena, Calif./Serra) and wide receiver Dominique Booth (Indianapolis/Pike).

Tony Brown
Cornerback Tony Brown is among the many products Texas schools are trying to keep in state.
Will Kansas State load up on juco players?

Remember when people were questioning Kansas State’s recruiting numbers? Now, the Wildcats have 18 commitments and are looking to land a few more by way of the junior college circuit. Kansas State has two ESPN Junior College 50 players in outside linebacker D’Vonta Derricott (Garden City, Kan./Garden City Community College) and cornerback Danzel McDaniel (Dodge City, Kan./Dodge City Community College) and has four juco commits total. Other ESPN Junior College 50 players with offers include wide receiver Andre Davis (Santa Rosa, Calif./Santa Rosa Junior College), offensive guard Kareem Are (Fort Scott, Kan./Fort Scott Community College) and cornerback Kweishi Brown (El Cajon, Calif./Grossmont College).

Will Texas Tech get an ESPN 300 commit?

Kliff Kingsbury’s first full recruiting class as head coach of Texas Tech has been a pretty good one. The Red Raiders have 23 commits, including three four-star players in receivers Ian Sadler (Argyle, Texas/Argyle) and Byron Daniels (San Antonio/Madison) and running back Justin Stockton (Cibolo, Texas/Steele). While the Red Raiders are content, they would love to have an ESPN 300 player verbally commit. It doesn’t look promising this year, but adding a couple more four-star pledges could happen. Running back Corey Avery (Dallas/Carter) is still available, as is outside linebacker Vincent Jackson (Tampa, Fla./Jesuit).