While in-state recruiting will always be the key to every Big 12 Conference program’s success, there are certain out-of-state areas that are important to each based on recent trends in the area.
Zach Fondal signed with Kansas out of the state of Texas. He played both his high school and junior college ball in the state.
Here’s a look at the most important out-of-state areas for each Big 12 school.
The state of California JUCOs – The Bears rarely go outside the borders out their home state of Texas to sign recruits. In fact, only two signees in the 2013 class were out-of-staters and one, Brian Nance, was a prep school prospect who signed with the Bears out of Euless (Texas) Trinity a year earlier. Baylor will go the junior college route occasionally and, other than player from the in-state JUCO ranks, they also hit up the California schools a bit. They have signed one from the state each of the past three years and could hit it even harder in this class.
The state of Florida – Though Iowa State does hit up Texas pretty much as much as their former Big 12 North counterparts, the Cyclones have been relying more and more on Florida as of late. In the 2013 signing class there were nine players from the Sunshine State compared to six from Texas. A big part of the reason is secondary coach Troy Douglas, who is originally from Jacksonville and is still very familiar with the area. Offensive coordinator Courtney Messingham has also signed a number of recruits from the state as well.
Oklahoma signed the top quarterback in Texas in 2013 in Cody Thomas, a prospect from the Dallas area.
The state of Texas – Was the class of 2013 an anomaly or does it signal a new direction for head coach Charlie Weis and company. It’s no secret that the Jayhawks have been hitting the junior college ranks harder than any other school and it has come at the expense at recruiting Texas. Only two Texans signed in 2013 whereas in recent years Jayhawk standout players such as Todd Reesing, Dezmond Briscoe, Daymond Patterson and Jeremiah Hatch all hailed from there. In 2009, Kansas signed 12 players from Texas while 2010 and 2011 had nine and eight from the state, respectively. To replicate the success of half a decade ago, Kansas should recruit Texas hard again. There is plenty of talent to go around there.
The state of Texas – Though Kansas State has been passed by its in-state rival in signing junior college prospects, the Wildcats still grab more than their fair share. For high school prospects, and even some junior college transfers, the bread and butter has always been the fertile recruiting grounds of Texas. Over the past three classes, Kansas State has signed 24 players from Texas. Head coach Bill Snyder helped turn around one of the worst programs in the country in the 90’s with a huge boost from a quarterback from Texas who prepped at Willis High School before attending Blinn College in Michael Bishop.
Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex – Though the Sooners have been heading to California quite a bit as of late to sign players such as Kenny Stills, Tony Jefferson, Brennon Clay, Taylor McNamara, Derrick Woods, Hatari Byrd and L.J. Moore, the main focus is still on the state to their south. With the exception of the class of 2012 that saw Oklahoma go a much more national route and sign only five Texans, the last four years have seen 42 of 70 signees, or 60-percent, hail from the Lone Star State. With the Sooners playing a game in Dallas every year and players from that region being as close to Norman as they are to Austin, it’s an easy sell.
With new assitant coach Larry Porter on staff, Texas is making New Orleans with players such as Jermaine Roberts (pictured) a priority.
The state of Texas – While in-state rival Oklahoma hits the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex incredibly hard, the Cowboys have done a lot better in Greater Houston over the last decade. Much of the haul was the responsibility of former assistant coach Joe DeForest, who is now at West Virginia, but Oklahoma State has kept it up since he left. There is more of a focus on North Texas now but the Lone Star State is still the biggest recruiting area for the Cowboys. Over the past four classes an astounding 70 signees out of the 101 total have come from the state of Texas.
The state of Louisiana – Like most of the other schools in Texas, TCU does not have to venture outside the state very often. However, head coach Gary Patterson and company have grabbed a couple players a year from the neighbor to the east. The 2013 class saw two late pledges from athlete Jermaine Antoine and defensive tackle Tevin Lawson. Prior to that, North Louisiana was a popular place for the Horned Frogs. West Monroe only produced three defensive line signees in two years in Terrell Lathan, James McFarland and Chuck Hunter. Though he never made it to campus, four-star athlete Curtis Carter was a huge steal at the time after de-committing from Nebraska.
The state of Louisiana – Texas has probably signed less players from out of state than any other program over the past decade. Mack Brown and company have pretty much had their pick of in-state prospects during that time. However, they grabbed a few from Louisiana in the past. A big coup was a signing day switch in 2012 of Army All-American defensive end Shiro Davis from his longtime LSU pledge. With new running backs coach Larry Porter, the Longhorns are hitting the New Orleans area very heavily in 2014. They have even extended offers to four players from a single school in New Orleans St. Augustine and are in very good position to land cornerback Jermaine Roberts.
The state of Oklahoma – Being in West Texas, location is sometimes hard to sell for Texas Tech to recruits from Houston. Much of Oklahoma is actually quite a bit closer to Lubbock than much of Texas. Though not as often as of late, the Red Raiders have a history of going into the Sooner State for a couple players every year and have come away with some serious gems. The best was undoubtedly wide receiver Wes Welker, who was not highly-recruited and was offered right around signing day. The Red Raiders did go to Georgia for four signees in the class of 2013, so that could become a new recruiting territory.
The state of Florida – West Virginia does not have a natural major recruiting territory so the Mountaineers have to get creative. Though Pennsylvania has been producing a number of prospects for West Virginia the last couple of years, it is Florida that the staff hits hardest. The Sunshine State has a ton of talent every year and players there seem to be more prone to leaving the region than players from other states. Likely first-round quarterback pick Geno Smith hailed from South Florida. Record-setting wide receiver Stedman Bailey came from the same school. There is plenty of speed to be found in the Sunshine State and that is something the spread offenses in the Big 12 and the defenses supposed to stop them are always in need of.