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Wednesday, January 8, 2014
Big 12 class rankings analysis

By Damon Sayles

A solid weekend resulted in a bump in the ESPN class rankings for Oklahoma. The Sooners picked up two players who should help the offense in ESPN 300 running back Joe Mixon (Oakley, Calif./Freedom) and four-star offensive guard Natrell Curtis (Phoenix/Mountain Pointe). Both are U.S. Army All-Americans.

With the commitments, Oklahoma jumped from No. 21 to No. 18 in the latest rankings. Oklahoma also jumped ahead of Baylor for the No. 2 spot among Big 12 schools. Texas still leads the conference at the No. 13 spot.

Baylor fell from No. 17 to No. 19, and Oklahoma State moved up a spot from No. 24 to No. 23. Texas Tech and West Virginia remained at Nos. 38 and 39, respectively, to round out the national top 40.

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

Trending up: It’s been said several times that Oklahoma starts slow but ends strong with recruiting. The Sooners, with Mixon -- the program’s top-ranked commit -- and Curtis, now have 20 commits in their 2014 recruiting class. Oklahoma, which has six ESPN 300 commits and one ESPN JC 50 pledge, still has room to land a few more prospects, and there are several marquee players available. Coach Bob Stoops & Co. are hoping January is the big month for them.

Trending down: A new coaching staff typically creates movement in a recruiting class, both positive and negative. Texas, under new coach Charlie Strong, gained a commit in junior college tight end Blake Whiteley (Vancouver, B.C., Canada/Arizona Western College) on Wednesday but lost four-star defensive tackles Trey Lealaimatafao (San Antonio/Warren) and Courtney Garnett (New Orleans/St. Augustine) Tuesday night. Defensive line coach Bo Davis left Texas to become an assistant at USC, and that resulted in a blow to the defensive line in this class.

One to watch: ESPN 300 safety Edwin Freeman (Arlington, Texas/Bowie) has been relatively quiet about his process, but his final decision most likely will come down to the two schools that have always been the highest on his list: Texas and Texas A&M. Freeman, ranked No. 106 in the ESPN 300, has been a Texas fan since he was little, and he’s a big fan of Texas A&M playing in the SEC. Freeman is listed as the seventh-ranked safety in the country and the No. 15 player in the state of Texas.

Bold prediction: Although Texas is losing some commits, Strong might not see too much of a drop as a couple of Louisville commits will make Texas their college destination. ESPN 300 defensive tackle Poona Ford (Hilton Head, S.C./Hilton Head) is Louisville’s top-ranked commit. Other defensive linemen to keep an eye on are tackle Chris Nelson (Lakeland, Fla./Victory Christian) and ends Trevon Young (Des Moines, Iowa/Iowa Western College), Henry Famurewa (Powder Springs, Ga./McEachern) and Terry Ramsey (Clayton, Ohio/Northmont) -- all three-star players.