The Texas Longhorns lead the way again in recruiting in the Big 12, but there are some good things happening several schools around the conference. We break down the current state of recruiting in the Big 12.
Kent Perkins leads a talented offensive line class for the Longhorns.
Best Class: As has been the case for the past decade or so, Texas has been dominant on the recruiting trail again this year. The Longhorns sit at No. 8 in the country in the 247Composite team rankings and are 12 spots ahead of the next team (Baylor) from the conference.
The Texas commitment list is led by 247Composite five-star defensive tackle A’Shawn Robinson. However, the Horns have some work to do to hold on to his pledge as Alabama and USC are making strong efforts to lure him away and he is listening to both of those suitors and plans to officially visit both programs as well.
The Horns also have perhaps the best offensive line class with Kent Perkins, Darius James and Jake Raulerson. The team still needs to add a few pieces but it is looking like yet another year with a Top 10 nationally-ranked class is in the works for Mack Brown and company.
Biggest commitment gained: Texas is the only school in the conference with a composite five-star commitment but Baylor has perhaps pulled the biggest coup this recruiting cycle with the pledge of 247Sports five-star wide receiver Robbie Rhodes.
The Bears were the first team in on the Fort Worth Southwest product and Rhodes constantly mentioned Baylor as his top team. However, many thought he would change his tune when the likes of Oklahoma, Texas and Texas A&M offered. He did not and ended up committing to Baylor early in the summer. Teams are still making a run at him but, as long as head coach Art Briles remains in Waco and does not leave for one of the numerous opening across college football this offseason, Rhodes is a solid commitment.
Sleeper class: Texas Tech has the No. 37 overall class in the country and the No. 6 class in the Big 12 according to the 247Composite rankings, but the Red Raiders are addressing needs.
The team has one of the most dynamic athletes in the state of Texas committed in four-star wide receiver Devin Lauderdale. In addition to being a homerun threat as a slot receiver, he is also one of the top return men in the country. Tech also beat out a number of programs for Fort Bend Marshall four-star offensive tackle Maurice Porter. The recent move-in from Indiana is new to football but shows incredible promise if he qualifies academically.
Last year the Red Raiders hit the junior college ranks heavier than any other team in the conference – even Kansas State – and it paid immediate dividends as the defense is much improved this season. Tech is again hitting up the JUCO ranks and has some players that should be able to be instant contributors. Four-star all-purpose back Rodriguez Moore is exciting to watch but again most of the difference makers are on defense with the likes of defensive ends Terrell Hartsfield and Jerrell Jordan, linebacker DaKorey Johnson and defensive backs Darren Doston and Stormy Butler.
Offensive tackle Maurice Porter is Texas Tech's highest rated current commit.
Instant contributor: West Virginia scored a big win over Oklahoma State on the recruiting trail on Monday when junior college running back Dreamius Smith committed to the Mountaineers a day after returning from an official visit to Stillwater.
The 5-foot-10, 215-pound Smith will be in Morgantown for spring ball and gives the Mountaineers a big back that an already potent offense has lacked. A Kansas signee out of high school, he is also a solid receiver coming out of the backfield and currently plays in a Butler County C.C. offense that is very similar to what he will play in at West Virginia.
Biggest prize left: Oklahoma and TCU are both in a dogfight with SEC program Texas A&M for the services of top 100 defensive tackle Justin Manning of Dallas Kimball.
One of the three highest-rated uncommitted prospects left in the state of Texas, Manning is a Sooner legacy as his brother Demarcus Granger played for Oklahoma. However, the Horned Frogs and Aggies are bona fide threats to OU. The Army All-American will likely make a decision between the three programs sometime after the end of his season. With Kimball an underdog in this weekend’s second-round playoff matchup against Frisco Centennial, the announcement could end up coming relatively soon.
Best position group: If it is not Texas’ offensive line class, it would be the wide receiver group that Oklahoma State has put together so far.
The Cowboys have three 247Composite four-star commits from the state of Texas in Fred Ross, Marcel Ateman and Ra’Shaad Samples. Ross and Ateman are big outside receivers while Samples can be a speedy slot guy. Though he will likely end up on defense, four-star athlete commit Jerel Morrow from Kansas is also a very good receiver prospect.
With the team having a couple young quarterbacks showing promise this year, they will have some serious weapons to throw to for the next few seasons with this class.
Has some work to do: It seems like Oklahoma’s class comes together later and later every year but the Sooner staff has some work to do this year. The class is currently ranked No. 33 in the country and No. 5 in the conference. That is not a place that the perennial power is expected to be.
Oklahoma still has Manning as a big priority and will likely land former Arizona State defensive end pledge Dimarya Mixon at some point. Also, several big-time junior college prospects in tight end Cameron Clear, offensive tackles Desmond Harrison and Trenton Brown and defensive tackle Quincy Russell are visiting this weekend. Composite four-star high school defensive tackle Maquedius Bain is visiting from Florida this weekend as well. The Sooners are also working hard to get defensive end Obo Okonronkwo to switch from Oklahoma State.
Last year the team closed very strong and if the Sooners can get even half of the official visitors and top targets to commit at some point, it would make this class a lot stronger and shoot it up the rankings as well.