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Monday, January 6, 2014
Weekend recruiting wrap: Big 12

By Damon Sayles

Oklahoma was the big recruiting winner of the Big 12 this past week. The Sooners helped their program with big-time commitments in the 2014 and 2015 classes. Additionally, the Big 12 welcomed a new head coach in Texas’ Charlie Strong, which could result in major recruiting news as national signing day rapidly approaches.

Here are some of last week’s highlights:

Biggest commitments: Oklahoma was pleased to receive news that ESPN Junior 300 defensive tackle Marquise Overton (Jenks, Okla./Jenks) verbally committed on Friday. Things got even better for the Sooners when ESPN 300 running back Joe Mixon (Oakley, Calif./Freedom) verbally committed during the U.S. Army All-American Bowl. Mixon, No. 72 in the ESPN 300 and the nation’s ninth-ranked running back, chose Oklahoma over UCLA, Wisconsin and Cal. Overton chose the Sooners over Oklahoma State, Tulsa, Baylor, Ole Miss and several other programs. He is ranked No. 96 in the ESPN Junior 300.

Biggest offer: Baylor is hoping to continue its impressive recruiting trend, and the 2015 class is just as much of a priority as the 2014 class. 2015 safety Kahlil Haughton (Waco, Texas/Midway) picked up a Baylor offer and now has two offers -- the other being from Oregon State. A 6-foot-2, 175-pound defensive back, Haughton put on a solid performance during Friday’s U.S. Army National Combine in San Antonio. Look for Haughton’s recruiting stock to rise in the spring.

Best performance by a commit/target: Texas commit Jerrod Heard (Denton, Texas/Guyer) rushed for a game-high 63 yards on eight carries and helped the West team defeat the East, 28-6, at Saturday’s U.S. Army All-American Bowl. An ESPN 300 player, Heard is the nation’s sixth-ranked dual-threat quarterback, and he used his legs more than his throwing arm to help the West. Heard picked up 46 of his 63 yards on a third-quarter run that set up a touchdown.

Biggest answer: With Strong replacing Mack Brown as Texas' head coach, many wondered if its commits would reopen their recruitment. Turns out, the majority of the commits and many of the targets are big fans of the new hire. Players like Heard and four-star offensive lineman Terrell Cuney (Jasper, Texas/Jasper) were excited about the future of the program. While there are still a couple of players on the fence, Texas’ 2014 and 2015 recruiting classes are still looking bright.

Biggest question: Staying with Texas and Strong, how well can Strong recruit the state of Texas with national signing day a month away? Texas has 23 commits, which means it still has room for a couple of marquee players. Strong has built a healthy reputation as a master recruiter -- primarily with players in Florida -- but if he can be a similar type of recruiter in the Lone Star State, it could play huge for the immediate future.