Commentary

Texas tops the Big 12 once again

Originally Published: February 2, 2011
By ESPN Recruiting | ESPN.com

Here's a team-by-team breakdown of the recruiting classes in the Big 12.

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1. Texas Longhorns

Top prospect: An argument could be made that Malcolm Brown (Cibolo, Texas/Steele) is the top RB in the 2011 class. He's thick and powerful with the strength to earn a lot of yards after contact and the speed to get outside and go the distance.
Name to remember: Joe Bergeron (Mesquite, Texas/North Mesquite), the top fullback in the country, could be one of the more valuable and dynamic prospects in this class with his ability to play RB, FB and H-back.
Breakdown: Despite a disappointing season in Austin and some coaching turnover, the Longhorns still signed one of the country's better classes, comprised of the state's best talent. Losing five-star offensive tackle Christian Westerman (Chandler, Ariz./Hamilton) at a position of need was a major drawback, but they addressed the running back position with one the country's best. Brown is a beast physically and is a significant pickup if Texas puts more emphasis on the run game. The offensive line was addressed with No. 6 OG Sedrick Flowers (Houston, Texas/North Shore). The defensive back position needed an infusion of young talent and you would be hard-pressed to find a better nickel prospect than No. 1-rated corner Quandre Diggs (Angleton, Texas/Angleton). Defensive tackle Desmond Jackson (Houston/Westfield) and inside linebacker Steve Edmond (Daingerfield, Texas) are top-five positional prospects and as stout as they come inside.

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2. Oklahoma Sooners

Top prospect: In a talented class of running backs, RB Brandon Williams (Brookshire, Texas/Brookshire Royal) may have the best upside and potentially best size-to-speed combination.
Name to remember: Defensive coordinator Brent Venables has a good eye for under-the-radar talent and safety Franklin Shannon (Dallas, Texas/Skyline) has a lot of good physical tools to develop as a strong safety or hybrid.
Breakdown: The Sooners have consistently finished near the top of the Big 12 and national recruiting rankings under Bob Stoops. This class is not deep, but it's loaded with high-end talent up top with an emphasis on skill positions and defensive line. Trey Metoyer (Whitehouse, Texas/Whitehouse) gives Oklahoma a young playmaker and a needed deep threat. Danzel Williams (Arlington, Texas/James Martin) lacks height but is a dynamic athlete who could play corner or running back for the Sooners. Defensive linemen Nathan Hughes (Klein, Texas/Klein Oak) and Jordan Wade (Round Rock, Texas/Stony Point) highlight a very strong DL class. The Sooners will also remain stacked at RB with the signing of Williams, one of the more physically gifted runners in terms of size and speed in this class.

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3. Oklahoma State Cowboys

Top prospect: RB Herschel Sims (Abilene, Texas) is on the shorter side but has the burst, top-end speed and polished receiving skills to move the chains early for the Cowboys.
Name to remember: Athlete Desmond Roland (Dallas/Lake Highlands) is a versatile offensive weapon with great size, ball skills and athleticism, which may lead to an H-back-type position.
Breakdown: The Cowboys signed a big class with significant prospects at the running back and quarterback positions, which should help their future offense remain prolific. Sims has big-play ability and mismatch potential as a pass-catcher. Quarterback J.W. Walsh (Denton, Texas/John H. Guyer) has a quick delivery and has been well-groomed. On defense, Nico Ornelas (North Richland Hills, Texas/Richland) is the No. 16-ranked outside linebacker thanks to his good range, athleticism and high production around the football in both run and pass support. Josh Stewart (Denton, Texas/John H. Guyer) and Miketavious Jones (Houston/North Shore) are a pair of top-20 corners headed to Stillwater with good quickness and cover corner skills. Future needs were also met in the back seven of the Cowboys' defense and three-star quality was added to the offensive line, which was a position of need.

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4. Texas Tech Red Raiders

Top prospect: RB Kenny Williams has the compact bulk, power and load-back qualities to carry the rock early in Lubbock.
Name to remember: QB Michael Brewer lacks prototypical size but has the arm strength, quick delivery and great athleticism to make plays out of the spread.
Breakdown: Tommy Tuberville's first recruiting class is solid and spent much of the year in the top 25. The Red Raiders put an emphasis on the running back position with two four-star backs. Williams is a load with good downhill power and deceptively good feet through traffic. Bradley Marquez (Odessa, Texas/Odessa) is smaller but quicker and is a nice complement to Williams. He also has polished receiving skills. High-upside offensive tackle Le'Raven Clark (Rockdale, Texas/Rockdale) is an athletic lineman who has a good frame and matching athleticism to develop in Lubbock.

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5. Kansas Jayhawks

Top prospect: RB Darrian Miller (Blue Springs, Mo./Blue Springs), the all-time Missouri large school rushing leader, has the great burst and quickness in space to contribute early in a change-of-space type of role.
Name to remember: Michael Cummings (Killeen, Texas/Killeen) is an exciting QB prospect with good arm strength and athleticism to make plays outside of the pocket and excel in coach Turner Gill's scheme.
Breakdown: The Jayhawks did not achieve great success on the field, but Gill has created a buzz among his recruits. Kansas lacks a four-star prospect or any real difference-makers at this point, but it's a deep class. Aside from Miller, Kansas landed two good-looking spread quarterbacks with the athleticism and dual-threat attributes to shine in that system. No. 13 QB Brock Berglund (Highlands Ranch, Colo./Valor Christian) is a sleeper who can make all the college throws out of the spread and hurt you with his legs. WR JaCorey Shepherd (Mesquite, Texas/Horn) offers good production after the catch and some big-play ability with his quickness and speed. Kansas beefed up on the offensive line with this class as well.

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6. Texas A&M Aggies

Top prospect: Don't underestimate having kicker Taylor Bertolet (Reading, Pa./Exeter Township) at the top of A&M's class. Bertolet kicked the game winner in the Under Armour All-America Game and was equally impressive as a punter.
Name to remember: S Deshazor Everett (DeRidder, La.) is an under-the-radar hybrid safety who flies to the football with great pursuit speed and down-in-the-box instincts.
Breakdown: The Aggies did not sign any of the real upper-tier players seen in recent classes under Mike Sherman, but they still inked some quality in-state prospects. They filled depth needs on the offensive line and at linebacker. Their only current four-star prospect is Bertolet, but the Pennsylvania native has arguably the strongest leg in the entire class. Versatile athlete Jonathon Henderson (Leander, Texas/Leander) could be a sleeper in this class because he can move the chains in a number of ways out of the backfield.

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7. Kansas State Wildcats

Top prospect: DE Ian Seau (Carlsbad, Calif./La Costa) is a strong, physical athlete who can hold at the point and create some havoc off the edge as a pass-rusher.
Name to remember: Kickers become important when they win or lose the game for you and Dillon Wilson (Midlothian, Texas/Midlothian) has the consistency and leg strength to be successful.
Breakdown: K-State has some significant recruits in this class from the non-prep level. Among them are former Boston College quarterback Justin Tuggle (Brenham, Texas/Blinn) and former No. 1-rated linebacker Arthur Brown, who transferred from Miami. The Wildcats have always filled up at the junior college level and signed a bunch this year. K-State's top four high school commitments are all defensive linemen, which was a need. The group is led by Seau and the massive, yet quick Lamonte Clark (Washington, D.C./Ballou). The team's offense also got a boost with a pair of two-star receivers.

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8. Baylor Bears

Top prospect: OT Spencer Drango (Cedar Park, Texas/Cedar Park), one of the top tackles in the state, has the height, length and explosion off the ball to develop into a very good run-blocker at the next level.
Name to remember: Jonathan Lee (Allen, Texas/Allen), a 6-foot-3 receiver, could challenge for early playing time with his great hands, polished route running and ideal size measurables.
Breakdown: This is a solid class, particularly up top, and was built in the state of Texas. Offensive and defensive lines were addressed and Baylor has a great lineman in four-star tackle Drango. There is a quality group of defensive linemen coming to Waco as well, highlighted by quick and powerful DT Trevor Valdez (Copperas Cove, Texas/Copperas Cove). Baylor did not sign an overly flashy class, but it's filled with a tough group of quality football players.

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9. Missouri Tigers

Top prospect: DE Shane Ray (Shawnee Mission, Kan./Bishop Miege) is a versatile, undersized defensive lineman with a good motor and active hands.
Name to remember: QB Corbin Berkstresser (Lee's Summit, Mo./Lee's Summit) put up big numbers this fall and is a quality passer with the athleticism and arm to put up big numbers in the Tigers' system.
Breakdown: Mizzou is lacking the four-star prospects it signed in recent years and overall this may be considered a down class. We do like the emphasis the Tigers put up front on both the offensive and defensive lines. Along with Ray, defensive tackle Gerrand Johnson (Rayville, La./Rayville) should be able to cause some disruption up front and is a real solid signee. On the offensive front, Michael Boddie (Gilmer, Texas/Gilmer) has the length, agility and quickness to develop into a good tackle for the Tigers. Keep your eye on receiver Wesley Leftwich (Columbia, Mo./Hickman), who lacks ideal speed but simply makes plays. From the juco ranks, DT Sheldon Richardson (St. Louis, Mo./College of Sequoias) could contribute early.

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10. Iowa State Cyclones

Top prospect: RB DeVondrick Nealy (Monticello, Fla./Jefferson) was a huge signing because he has big-play ability with great outside speed and quickness.
Name to remember: RB Rob Standard (Saint Louis, Mo./Chaminade College Prep) is a versatile and slashing back who can move the chains inside or out and is one of the more productive runners in this class.
Breakdown: This is a quality class that loaded up on the offensive skill positions and athletes -- many coming from Texas and Florida. Nealy is a steal for Iowa State. He rushed for 2,700 yards and scored 45 total touchdowns this season and should contribute immediately in a change-of-pace role. He is joined in the backfield by quarterback Sam Richardson (Winter Park, Fla./Winter Park), who is a sleeper despite a quick release and good arm strength. His future target, receiver Tad Ecby (Houston, Texas/Saint Pius X), has a well-rounded skill set and also fell somewhat under the radar.