Recruiting is getting earlier and earlier every year across the country but the teams in the Big 12, especially those in the state of Texas, take it to a new art form.
Terell Cuney, the nation's top center prospect, committed to Texas on Saturday.
Texas has been the most active team in the country over the past couple of weeks and the Longhorns lead the nation with 11 early pledges for the class of 2014.
Texas had its spring game this past Saturday and started the day off with a pledge from the nation’s top center, Army All-American Terrell Cuney. Though he had made no secret he was a fan of the Longhorns, the talented East Texas prospect sort of surprised a few folks by committing this early.
The Horns were not done, though. When the game ended, fast-rising San Antonio (Texas) Warren defensive tackle Trey Lealaimatafao met with the coaches and decided to add his name to the commitment list, making it an even 10 for Texas.
Lealaimatafao had been picking up offers at a rapid pace over the past month or so as his film made the rounds. He never specifically named Texas as his leader prior to committing so Longhorn fans weren’t sure where they stood with the 6-foot-1, 297-pound defender. There is no question now though.
No. 11 came on Monday morning when Abilene (Texas) defensive end Jake McMillon called the coaches to commit. The 6-foot-3, 240-pound prospect, who could end up growing into a defensive tackle, had been offered a few weeks ago and Texas was his clear favorite.
The good news for the class of 2014 may not be over for Texas fans either as Brenham (Texas) athlete Darrion Johnson has the Longhorns as his strong leader and is considering shutting things down this week.
In addition to its haul of juniors, Texas also picked up a trio of sophomore pledges over the past week. Head coach Mack Brown has never offered sophomores in the past, or even juniors until February of their junior year for that matter, so this is a big change of course taking commitments this early.
A week ago at the school’s first “Sophomore Day,” offensive guard Aaron Garza was the first to make the early pledge almost immediately upon being offered. He also had offers from Baylor and Michigan.
Offensive guard Aaron Garza became the Longhorns' first pledge of the class of 2015.
This past Friday, DeSoto defensive tackle Bryce English was extended an offer while visiting campus during the Texas relays. He did not waste any time in committing either. Though a bit undersized, English has a high motor and gets great push off the ball.
Good news continued to come in when Corpus Christi (Texas) Flour Bluff cornerback Jalen Campbell committed on Saturday prior to the spring game. A star of the camp circuit this spring, Campbell had been offered the weekend prior and decided he wanted to make an early commitment after thinking things over.
By offering at least 17 sophomores to this point, Texas is making a big change but also allowing the Longhorns to become the early favorites for a lot of players. While that was the norm in the past, the on-field struggles combined with the success of Texas A&M in its first year in the SEC has caused the landscape to shift. A lot of the member of the 2014 class had the Aggies as early favorites and that has allowed Texas A&M to have the current No. 1 class in the country. If the Longhorns can keep on the 2015 recruits, it will go a long way towards landing some of the top players in the state next year.
Around the Big 12
-News came on Tuesday that Oklahoma lost a commit in Top247 wide receiver Armanti Foreman. It was not a huge surprise, though, as the standout from Texas City, Texas has taken numerous visits to other schools since pledging to the Sooners.
Don’t count Oklahoma out of it for his services in the end, though. Foreman wanted to be up front and honest with the coaches and, instead of planning all these visits while being committed, he let the Sooners know he was officially opening things back up. He is still likely to make a return trip or two to Norman though.
The other schools to watch out for are in-state programs Texas and Texas A&M as well as Florida. Though he has not come out and said it, Texas would be considered the leader right now. He has visited the campus each of the past two weekends. He has an upcoming trip to A&M, though, and folks around him caution not to count out the Gators.
Things could take a big change, though, if any schools also offer his twin brother, running back D'Onta Foreman. The two have made it no secret that they’d like to continue playing together.
Top247 wide receiver Armanti Foreman de-committed from Oklahoma on Tuesday.
-Another Big 12 school had a big-time decommitment recently as well. Top247 quarterback D.J. Gillins decided to part ways with Texas Tech. The 6-foot-3, 185-pound passer from Jacksonville (Fla.) Eagle’s View could end up following former Red Raider assistant coach Chad Scott to Kentucky.
Now that Gillins is out of the picture, new head coach Kliff Kingsbury has what appears to be a clear No. 1 target at the position. Whitehouse (Texas) quarterback Patrick Mahomes was a standout safety as a sophomore before moving to quarterback as a junior and putting up huge numbers. Also a top baseball prospect, the 6-foot-3, 180-pound passer will likely see a full court press from Texas Tech.
-Kansas State picked up a commitment from Blue Springs (Mo.) pass-rusher Elijah Lee last week. The 6-foot-3, 210-pound hybrid defensive end/linebacker is the No. 5 prospect in the state of Missouri. Four of the top five in the state are committed and none of them to in-state Mizzou. Kansas State also has the No. 4 prospect in the fold in four-star running back Dalvin Warmack.
Head coach Bill Snyder and company do not normally start off this fast as the Wildcats currently have four pledges and are in good shape for a few more. Could this signal the beginning of the end of Kansas State relying so heavily on junior college transfers every year?
-Spring games are big recruiting weekends for most schools and they are coming up for a number of Big 12 programs. Texas started spring ball early and already had its game last weekend but the rest of the conference has them over the next few weeks.
This weekend both Baylor and TCU hold theirs, although TCU’s is not officially billed as a spring game. It is simply the final practice of the spring but is open to the public. On April 13, Kansas and Oklahoma hold their spring games. April 20 is a busy day as Iowa State, Oklahoma State, Texas Tech and West Virginia all hold their games. Kansas State has the latest date of April 27.