Thursday, August 18, 2011
Updated: August 19, 3:53 PM ET
Big 12 recruiting breakdown
By Corey Long
Here's a look at how programs in the Big 12 are faring on the recruiting trail.
ESPNU 150 commitments: 0
Who they have: Baylor might have its best class in recent memory, led by four-star prospects Corey Coleman (Richardson, Texas/J.J. Pearce) and defensive back Terrell Burt (Wylie, Texas/Wylie). The commitment of Coleman, a speedy wide receiver prospect who scored 24 touchdowns as a junior, has carried the Bears through a strong summer. Recently the Bears snagged a commitment from defensive end Dominique Banks (Denton, Texas/Ryan), who lines up on the opposite side of the nation's top prospect, Mario Edwards, at Billy Ryan High School. The Bears have received commits from a solid group of receivers with Coleman and three-star prospects Kiante' Griffin (Carrollton, Texas/Hebron) and Lynx Hawthorne (Weimar, Texas/Weimar). Additional depth in the secondary and along both lines gives Baylor a strong, well-rounded class.
Who they still want: Baylor has only a few slots remaining, so expect the coaching staff to aim high and take a few risks to land more big names. Defensive end Bryce Cottrell (Plano, Texas/Plano West) has an offer but appears to be leaning toward Arkansas. Wide receiver Kendall Sanders (Athens, Texas/Athens) is committed to Oklahoma State but might take a visit to Baylor during the season with teammate (and Baylor commit) Cameron Bailey.
ESPNU 150 commitments: 5
Who they have: The Cyclones start off the class with two underrated wide receiver prospects in P.J. Harris (Groveland, Fla./South Lake) and Quan West (Willis, Texas/Texas). West is a big target (6-foot-5, 200 pounds) and will be a major presence across the middle of the field and in the red zone. Harris has slipped through the cracks a little but is a skilled pass-catcher with adequate speed. The Cyclones have a balanced class, with five verbals on offense and four on defense. Quarterback Grant Rohach (Moorpark, Calif./Moorpark) threw for 21 touchdowns last season and could be another steal.
Who they still want: With the efforts of defensive coordinator Wally Burnham, the Cyclones do a lot of recruiting in Florida, especially along the I-4 corridor, which runs from the Tampa Bay area to Daytona Beach. Defensive tackle Devante Terrell (Lakeland, Fla./Lake Gibson) is someone the Cyclones have been recruiting heavily, and they should make his top five. Tight end Sean Culkin (Largo, Fla./Indian Rocks Christian) is one of the sleepers that could find himself in Iowa State's class. Other targets include defensive back Darius White (Bradenton, Fla./Manatee) and linebacker Malik Simmons (Lehigh Acrews, Fla./Lehigh).
ESPNU 150 commitments: 0
Who they have: Among six verbals, Kansas has snagged two three-star quarterbacks -- Seth Russell (Garland, Texas/Garland) and Bilal Marshall (Miami/Dade Christian). Both players have good size and the ability to make plays with their feet. Marshall is being listed as an athlete and could move to another position, but he will be given a shot to play quarterback. Both players committed to Kansas on the same day. The Jayhawks' most recent commit is 6-foot-4, 220-pound tight end Jordan Smith (Waco, Texas/Reicher). In state, Kansas has a verbal from top lineman Brian Beckmann (Overland Park, Kan./Blue Valley West).
Who they still want: Kansas signed 28 players last season. It will have a class of about half that size in 2012. The Jayhawks will try to get a campus visit from wide receiver Corey Jones (Pittsburgh/Penn Hills), but they are going to have to contend with a few schools. Expect lots of action with juco prospects for Kansas.
ESPNU 150 commitments: 0
Who they have: The Wildcats have the state's top wide receiver, Vernon Vaughn (Kansas City, Kan./Sumner Academy). At 6-2, 190, he had 865 yards receiving and 17 touchdowns as a junior. Quarterback Tay Bender (Lincoln, Neb./Southwest) passed and rushed for more than 1,000 yards last season and has the right size (6-2, 210) to translate to the next level. Wide receiver Tray Rabon (Dallas/Skyline) had liked Kansas State for a while, and he made the call for the Wildcats last month. At 6-1, 192 pounds, he caught 19 passes and five touchdowns as a junior despite dealing with a foot injury.
Who they still want: Kansas State made the cut with defensive end Trace Clark (Wichita, Kan./Collegiate) and would love to keep him in state. However, Clark (6-4, 235) seems to be leaning toward Oregon, where his brother, Zac, plays. Kansas State has been one of the top destinations for juco prospects; don't expect that to change, as the Wildcats need offensive linemen and will be after offensive tackle prospect Tavon Rooks (Navarro College).
ESPNU 150 commitments: 1
Who they have: ESPNU 150 offensive lineman Evan Boehm (Lee's Summit, Mo./West) and four-star linebacker Donavin Newsom (St. Louis/Parkway North) give the Tigers two of the state's top five prospects. The top player, Dorial Green-Beckham, is undecided (more on him later). Overall, Missouri's class is headed in the right direction with six four-star prospects. The commitment of quarterback Maty Mauk (Kenton, Ohio/Kenton) gives the Tigers their signal-caller of the future. Mauk threw for 5,670 yards and 69 touchdowns -- as a junior. Mauk (6-1, 190) has nearly 13,000 yards passing and 200 total touchdowns through three years of high school. The Tigers have also done well in Texas, picking up four-star prospects Donald Hopkins (Lago Vista, Texas/Lago Vista), Germain Ifedi (Houston/Westside) and Jonathan Williams (Allen, Texas/Allen).
Who they still want: Green-Beckham (Springfield, Mo./Hillcrest) has already been compared to Randy Moss in terms of his ability. The No. 3 prospect (6-5, 220) has his pick of schools nationally and would be the biggest commit to Missouri in recent memory. The Tigers coaching staff is hoping Mauk, and his gaudy numbers in high school, will be a drawing point for the receiver. Missouri will also be focused on other in-state prospects, including defensive linemen Nathaniel Lohn (Kansas City, Mo./Staley) and Edmund Ray (St. Louis/Ritenour).
ESPNU 150 commitments: 4
Who they have: The Sooners have verbals from two of the nation's top 10 prospects at wide receiver in Sterling Shepard (Oklahoma City/Heritage Hall) and Durron Neal (St. Louis./De Smet Jesuit). Though Oklahoma lost out on Boehm, it has verbals from top center Ty Darlington (Apopka, Fla./Apopka) and John Michael McGee (Texarkana, Texas/Texas). The top prospect in Oklahoma is running back Alex Ross (Jenks, Okla./Jenks), and he committed to the Sooners shortly after national signing day. Despite the success in the class, some Oklahoma fans are still stunned by missing out on quarterback Gunner Kiel (Columbus, Ind./East). Even without Kiel, however, the Sooners have a class that will most likely be in the top 20.
Who they still want: With only a few slots remaining Oklahoma can afford to be selective. Green-Beckham is a major target and would probably give the Sooners the top wide receiver class in the nation. Four-star linebacker Brian Nance (Euless, Texas/Trinity) has been a top target and will probably take an official visit during the season. The Sooners will also be shifting some of their recruiting focus to the Class of 2013.
ESPNU 150 commitments: 1
Who they have: The Cowboys' top verbal is from ESPNU 150 tight end Dominic Ramacher (Denton, Texas/Guyer). Oklahoma State does not have a commitment from an in-state prospect, but the Cowboys have eight from Texas. Three-star quarterback Wes Lunt (Rochester, Ill./Rochester) threw for more than 3,000 yards and 30 touchdowns as a junior and will be the Cowboys' arm of the future. The Cowboys also have verbals from a couple of four-star defensive prospects -- cornerback Kendall Sanders (Athens, Texas/Athens) and linebacker Jeremiah Tshimanga (North Richland Hills, Texas/Richland Hills). Wide receiver C.J. Curry (Flowery Branch, Ga./Flowery Branch) recently flipped to Oklahoma State from Georgia.
Who they still want: ESPNU 150 running back Barry Sanders Jr. (Oklahoma City/Heritage Hall) has the Cowboys in his top group of schools, with Florida State, Stanford and Alabama. Oklahoma State had been in the running for defensive back LaDarrell McNeil (Dallas/Wilmer-Hutchins), but the safety prospect chose Tennessee.
ESPNU 150 commitments: 9
Who they have: The Longhorns presently have the top-rated class in the nation, and for good reason. Running back Johnathan Gray (Aledo, Texas/Aledo), defensive tackle Malcom Brown (Brenham, Texas/Brenham), wide receiver Cayleb Jones (Austin, Texas/S.F. Austin) and quarterback Connor Brewer (Scottsdale, Ariz./Chaparral) are among the top-rated players at their respective positions. The hits keep on coming with ESPNU 150 prospects along the offensive line inKennedy Estelle (Pearland, Texas/Glenda Dawson), and linebacker Peter Jinkens (Dallas/Skyline). Seventeen of the Longhorns' 18 verbal commitments are rated at four stars or higher.
Who they still want: Texas' top remaining target in the Class of 2012 appears to be ESPNU 150 athlete 6-1, 185-pounder Nelson Agholor (Tampa, Fla./Berkeley Prep), who is entertaining dozens of offers but seems to like USC, Florida State, Florida and Texas the most. Otherwise, the Longhorns have one eye to the future and will begin entertaining many of the Lone Star State's top Class of 2013 prospects soon.
ESPNU 150 commitments: 4
Who they have: For the time being, Texas A&M is still in the Big 12 and will be battling Oklahoma for the conference's second-best class. Verbals from quarterback Matt Davis (Klein, Texas/Forest), running back Trey Williams (Houston /Dekaney) and wide receiver Bralon Addison (Missouri City, Texas/Hightower) give the Aggies plenty of offensive firepower for the future. Texas A&M went into Louisiana and picked up a verbal from Darion Monroe (Reserve, La./East St. John), who will make the move from quarterback to defensive back in college. Aggies commits shined at the Gridiron Kings showcase in July, and the Class of 2012 will have high expectations.
Who they still want: Well, Texas A&M is running out of room in this class but it appears its current commitment is to making a move to the SEC. Although it won't be happening in 2012, the chance of future expansion will certainly have the state's top Class of 2013 prospects looking at the Aggies in a different light.
ESPNU 150 commitments: 3
Who they have: Although the Red Raiders' class hasn't been hyped like Texas or Texas A&M, it's a strong group, with five four-star prospects. Wide receivers Dominique Wheeler (Crockett, Texas/Crockett) and Reginald Davis (Tenaha, Texas/Tenaha) will be counted on to make early contributions when they arrive on campus next season. Quarterback Clayton Nicholas (Abilene, Texas/Cooper) is a highly skilled passer and will be the guy to lead future Red Raiders' offenses. He'll have plenty of protection up front, with verbals from four-star offensive linemen Michael Starts (Waco, Texas/La Vega) and Christian Okafor (Houston/Westbury). The Red Raiders' coaching staff has taken advantage of the state's riches with 16 in-state commits.
Who they still want: Quarterback/athlete Jalen Overstreet (Tatum, Texas/Tatum) has Texas Tech in his top group along with Baylor, Michigan and Missouri. He is planning on taking an official visit to Texas Tech and, at 6-1, 205 pounds, would like to compete at quarterback. The Red Raiders signed 28 players last year and probably won't add too many more to this class.
Corey Long has been covering high school football and recruiting in the Sunshine State since 1995. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.