Tuesday, February 5, 2008
Big 12 team-by-team recruiting needs
By Chris Low
As signing day approaches, here's a look at the recruiting needs for each team in the Big 12:
The Bears' biggest needs are in the secondary. New defensive coordinator Brian Norwood's expertise should help, but he's still learning the lay of the land. Baylor is also searching for a quarterback this recruiting season.
Dan Hawkins is searching for the best collection of talent he can find, but tailback is a priority. With Hugh Charles and Byron Ellis graduating, finding a rushing threat is the biggest need.
Iowa State's needs are diverse to say the least. Gene Chizik needs a talent upgrade across the board. A few more playmakers on offense would help QB Austen Arnaud and running back Alexander Robinson. Linebacker is also a big need, especially with the loss of Alvin Bowen. Another obvious need is an infusion of athletes to play on special teams and help the team's overall depth.
The Jayhawks have only 22 scholarships to hand out, as sanctions from 2006 NCAA penalties are kicking in. But excitement in the KU program has never been higher. The biggest need is at running back after the graduation of Brandon McAnderson. The losses of offensive tackle Anthony Collins and wide receiver/cornerback Aqib Talib to the NFL draft mean that immediate playing time is available at those positions as well.
As the Wildcats continue to transform to a 3-4 defense, they're looking for players who fit. In particular, they need a nose tackle, where they were small in their first season running the defense. Another obvious need is a pass-rushing end.
The Tigers need a successor to star QB Chase Daniel. However, the biggest needs are in the secondary and along the offensive front. The Tigers also need to find a rushing threat to replace Tony Temple, but the arrival of Notre Dame transfer Munir Prince should help.
Considering the Cornhuskers' defensive struggles last season, their biggest needs are in the front seven -- particularly at linebacker, where they lost three starters. Safety help is also a priority.
Oklahoma's biggest hole to fill is at linebacker, where Curtis Lofton surprised coaches by declaring for the NFL draft. The Sooners have little depth by their standards at the position. OU is also targeting a few more receivers. A big-time running back is also on the wish list.
The Cowboys could use an across-the-board infusion of defensive talent, particularly at linebacker. Six junior-college defensive players have committed, along with two key safeties from Texas who should serve as key producers.
Mack Brown has been able to balance his recruiting classes, so there's not an imposing need. The Longhorns' most immediate need is at running back after Jamaal Charles declared for the draft. Texas' defense struggled last season, so that's another area of need.
The Aggies need depth along the defensive front and at linebacker. The Aggies also need depth and a playmaker or two at wide receiver, where they struggled to attract top recruits in the past because of Dennis Franchione's offensive style.
Texas Tech's promise has never appeared brighter with 18 starters returning. Coach Mike Leach is always looking for playmakers on offense. However, he is targeting some immediate help on defense, and the Red Raiders signed five players in December from junior colleges. Even though Texas Tech returns all five starters on the offensive line, adding depth up front is important.
Chris Low is a college football writer for ESPN.com. Send your questions and comments to Chris at firstname.lastname@example.org.