Commentary

Big 12 recruiting update

Originally Published: December 2, 2010
By Jamie Newberg | ESPN Recruiting

With just two months left until national signing day, it's time to take a look at the status of the recruiting classes in the Big 12.

Baylor Bears

What's happened: The Bears have 15 commitments, all of them from Texas, and went big on linemen. Baylor has four offensive linemen, led by four-star offensive lineman Spencer Drango (Cedar Park, Texas/Cedar Park), and four defensive linemen, highlighted by Trevor Valdez (Copperas Cove, Texas/Copperas Cove).

What's next: Baylor will continue to work on two things with this class -- speed and defense. Defensive end Brandon Alexander (Brenham, Texas/Brennan), defensive tackles Uriah Grant (Fullerton, Calif./Fullerton C.C.) and Isiah Norton (Dallas, Texas/Kimball), and linebacker Jonathan Yenga (Euless, Texas/Trinity) are just some of the recruits to keep an eye on.


Colorado Buffaloes

What's happened: Colorado is one of only a few schools across the country that has fewer than 10 commitments. Much of that has to do with the fact the Buffaloes are in the middle of a coaching change. Right now, four-star quarterback Brock Berglund (Highland Ranch, Colo./Valor Christian) highlights the five-player class.

What's next: Picking Colorado's next head coach is a huge hire as the Buffaloes make their move next season to the Pac-10. Expect the Buffs to sign around 15, but the new Colorado coaches will have their work cut out for them. The sooner the hire is made, the better the program will be.


Iowa State Cyclones

What's happened: Coach Paul Rhoads has 17 commits, highlighted by three-star prospects like wide receiver Tad Ecby (Houston, Texas/St. Pius X), inside linebacker Kyle Boyd (Mesquite, Texas/Horn), quarterback Sam Richardson (Winter Park, Fla./Winter Park), running back Rob Standard (St. Louis, Mo./Chaminade), offensive tackle Jamison Lalk (Council Bluffs, Iowa/Abraham Lincoln) and cornerback Kenneth Lynn (Dallas, Texas/Kimball).

What's next: The Cyclones recruit the state of Florida hard and they are among the favorites for athlete Josh Grady (Seffner, Fla./Armwood), wide receiver Keondrick Daniels (Tallahassee, Fla./Lincoln) and linebacker Terran Williams (Bradenton, Fla./Southeast). They are looking for roughly five more recruits and would like two of them to be an offensive lineman and a defensive tackle.


Kansas Jayhawks

What's happened: This solid class has 18 commits from seven different states. Darrian Miller (Blue Springs, Mo./Blue Springs) is the lone four-star recruit headed to Kansas to play for coach Turner Gill. This running back, who is the No. 17 back in the country, is one of the top prospects from the Midlands region. Kansas beefed up its offensive line with six commits, including Damon Martin (Arlington, Texas/Arlington), and added a trio of linebackers led by Jason Hensley (Alma, Ark./Alma).

What's next: Four-star athlete Rodney Coe (Edwardsville, Ill.) and defensive end Clavion Nelson (Hollywood, Fla./ South Broward) both officially visit Kansas this weekend. Linebacker Jonathan Yenga (Euless, Texas/Trinity) will visit in January as will running back Tra Carson (Texarkana, Texas/Liberty-Eylau). Kansas is among the leaders for defensive tackle Terry Redden (Memphis, Tenn./Whitehaven), linebacker Lukas Foreman (Naples, Fla.) and defensive end Robert Mincey (Fairfield, Ohio). Defensive ends Horace Arkadie (Irving, Texas) and Keevon Newsome (Chatham, Va./Hargrave Military Academy) and linebacker Otha Foster (Poplarville, Miss./Pearl River C.C.) are three more to keep a close eye on with the Jayhawks.


Kansas State Wildcats

What's happened: K-State has some interesting recruits headed its way and that includes former Boston College quarterback Justin Tuggle (Brenham, Texas/Blinn), who left the Eagles and is now with Blinn Community College in Texas. The Wildcats have always hit the junior colleges hard and so far they have six commitments from the juco ranks. K-State's top four high school commitments are all defensive linemen, led by Lamonte Clark (Washington, D.C./Ballou). Offensive help is on the way with a trio of wide receivers led by Jade Cathey (Liberal, Kan./Liberal).

What's next: While mostly done, the Wildcats have a few more spots and would like to close well with a cornerback. In fact, two officially visited K-State over the past month in Bernard Thomas (Blue Springs, Mo./Blue Springs) and Allen Chapman (San Francisco, Calif./City College of San Francisco). Kansas State is the leader with Chapman. Another cornerback to watch for with the Wildcats is Morgan Burns (Wichita, Kan./Trinity Academy).


Missouri Tigers

What's happened: The Tigers have 14 commitments, headlined by three-star DE Shane Ray (Shawnee Mission, Kan./Bishop Miege). Quarterback Corbin Berkstresser (Lee Summit's, Mo.) had a big senior season and has a chance to climb up the recruiting charts.

What's next: Athlete Kevonte Richardson (Oklahoma City, Okla./Millwood) favors the Tigers and Missouri is among the leaders for linebacker Rodney Young (Spring, Texas/Dekaney) and offensive tackle Errin Joe (Lakeland, Fla./Lake Gibson). Missouri would love to land athlete Anthony Pierson (East St. Louis, Ill./East St. Louis), who committed to the Tigers before backing off. Missouri also lost DT Sheldon Richardson (Visalia, Calif./College of the Sequoias) to Southern California, but expect that battle to go until the bitter end. Missouri is also in the mix for four-star athlete Rodney Coe (Edwardsville, Ill./Edwardsville). If Missouri can win a few of these battles, it will be a strong close for the Tigers.


Nebraska Cornhuskers

What's happened: The Cornhuskers, with 17 commitments, have the nation's 10th-ranked class and trail only Texas and Oklahoma from the Big 12. Their top three recruits are all from the Lone Star State in running back Aaron Green (San Antonio, Texas/James Madison), athlete Jamal Turner (Arlington, Texas/Sam Houston), and cornerback Charles Jackson (Klein, Texas/Collins). Green is a five-star recruit and an electrifying, big-play back, while Turner and Jackson are members of the ESPNU 150. Four-star signal-caller Bubba Starling (Gardner, Kan./Edgerton) is ranked as the No. 6 quarterback in the nation.

What's next: There's not much left for Bo Pelini and his staff. Nebraska is looking to sign around 20 players and would love to land a linebacker and defensive end before it's all said and done. Keep an eye on defensive ends Lake Koa-Ka'ai (Honolulu/Kamehameha) and DeVante Wilson (Corona, Calif./Corona) with Nebraska. Defensive tackle Todd Peat, Jr. (Tempe, Az./Corona Del Sol) recently visited Lincoln and walked away impressed. Nebraska will also get a visit next weekend from one of the nation's elite defensive backs in Wayne Lyons (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla./Dillard).


Oklahoma Sooners

What's happened: With 18 commits, including five from the ESPNU 150, Oklahoma is sitting with the No. 5 class in the nation right now. The Sooners added some offensive firepower with wide receiver Trey Metoyer (Whitehouse, Texas), who had over 100 catches, 1,500 yards and 23 scores this season, and running back Brandon Williams (Brookshire, Texas/Royal), who rushed for over 2,400 yards and 33 TDs. As always Oklahoma has raided the Lone Star State and landed a dozen prospects from Texas.

What's next: The Sooners are almost done and are looking to sign around 20 recruits. Athlete LaDarius Brown (Waxahachie, Texas/Waxahachie) is one to watch for with Oklahoma. The Sooners would like to add another defensive end and in-state star athlete Dominique Petties (Duncan, Okla./Duncan) could be one to keep an eye on.


Oklahoma State Cowboys

What's happened: ESPNU 150 running back Herschel Sims (Abilene, Texas) highlights Oklahoma State's class of 20 commits. Sims, who's the No. 10 running back in the country, is a well-rounded back with big-play potential. Quarterback J.W. Walsh (Denton, Texas/Guyer) looks to be a perfect fit for the Oklahoma State offense. The Cowboys have the 17th-ranked class in the country.

What's next: Don't expect much noise between now and national signing day with Mike Gundy's Cowboys. They would like to close with at least one more linebacker, but right now Oklahoma State is working on the Class of 2012 and beyond.


Texas Longhorns

What's happened: The Mack Brown Longhorns recruiting machine keeps chugging along. As usual, Texas had most of its class locked up early. How early? By April 23, the Longhorns had already racked up 20 of their 23 commitments, and now have the nation's No. 1-ranked class, led by five-star OT Christian Westerman (Chandler, Ariz./Hamilton), the nation's top-rated offensive tackle and No. 4 recruit overall. Texas also left the state to land the top prospect from Oklahoma in athlete Josh Turner (Oklahoma City, Okla./Millwood). But don't be fooled. Texas still keeps much of the Lone Star State's best players at home, like five-star running back Malcolm Brown (Cibolo, Texas/Steele) and four-star cornerback Quandre Diggs (Angleton, Texas/Angleton) and four-star defensive tackle Desmond Jackson (Houston, Texas/Westfield). Can't ignore the fact they also signed wide receiver Jaxon Shipley (Brownwood, Texas/Brownwood), former Longhorn Jordan Shipley's younger brother.

What's next: What's left for Brown? Not much. Texas would love to close with four-star defensive lineman Jermauria Rasco (Shreveport, La./Evangel Christian Academy), but will battle LSU, FSU, Alabama and others. While there are no guarantees it hangs on to the top spot when national signing day is over, this is a talented group headed to Austin.


Texas A&M Aggies

What's happened: Texas A&M surprised many on the field this season and that should help the Aggies close better this recruiting season and beyond. A&M has only one four-star commit with kicker Taylor Bertolet (Reading, Pa./Exeter Township), but 11 of its 14 commitments are three-star recruits led by cornerback Josh Stewart (Denton, Texas/Guyer). The Aggies added four offensive linemen highlighted by Nathan Gutekunst (Humble, Texas/Atascocita).

What's next: Texas A&M is battling LSU for former Georgia QB Zach Mettenberger (El Dorado, Kan./Butler). The Aggies are in good position for athlete LaDarius Brown (Waxahachie, Texas/Waxahachie). They also hope to pry away defensive back Floyd Raven (Reserve, La./East St. John) and running back Tre Mason (Lake Worth, Fla./Park Vista) from the Bayou and Sunshine States. Safety Andre Wiggins (San Antonio, Texas/James Madison) recently made his official visit to College Station. Isiah Norton (Dallas, Texas/Kimball) is a defensive tackle to watch for here as well.


Texas Tech Red Raiders

What's happened: In their first full year to recruit at Texas Tech, Tommy Tuberville and his staff have put together one of the better classes in the Big 12. Tuberville has brought a little SEC recruiting mentality to Lubbock and the Red Raiders have grinded their way to the No. 20 class in the nation. Headlining this Red Raider group are four-star running backs Kenny Williams (Pflugerville, Texas/Hendrickson) and Bradley Marquez (Odessa, Texas) and quarterback Michael Brewer (Austin, Texas/Lake Travis) is a nice piece for the offense. With defense being a priority, it's interesting that only two of the Raiders' top 10 commits play on that side of the ball, highlighted by defensive tackle Jon Lewis (Klein, Texas/Oak) and defensive end James Castleman (Amarillo, Texas). Still, Texas Tech has reeled in four linebacker prospects and a couple of cornerbacks.

What's next: With 21 commitments already on board, there's not much left to do. Texas Tech is among the leaders for linebacker Ramik Wilson (Tampa, Fla./Jefferson). While the Red Raiders likely trail Auburn for ESPNU 150 tight end Brandon Fulse (Fort Meade, Fla./Fort Meade), they will get an official visit from him on Dec. 12. They are also in the hunt for cornerback Devin Gaulden (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla./University School) and defensive end Branden Jackson (McKeesport, Pa.) took an official visit to Texas Tech earlier this fall. They are also in the mix for in-state defensive linemen Roy Robertson (Grand Prairie, Texas/South Grand Prairie), Horace Arkadie (Irving, Texas/Irving), Brandon Alexander (Brenham, Texas/Brenham) and Isiah Norton (Dallas, Texas/Kimball). All have been offered by the Red Raiders.

Jamie Newberg has been covering recruiting both in the Southeast and nationally for 19 years. He can be reached at jamienewbergbw@yahoo.com.