Tahlequah Daily Press

February 6, 2014

OU, Baylor lead Big 12 recruiting haul

Signing day capsules in the Big 12

By STEPHEN HAWKINS
Associated Press

— Oklahoma is off and running with another highly touted recruiting class. Baylor added a quartet of players to keep throwing.

Texas put together another strong class after a coaching change, and Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy again had a good signing day.

All in all, it was a good Wednesday for the Big 12, a league that Scout.com listed as the second-best among all conferences behind only the powerhouse SEC.

TCU signed a school-record five four-star recruits, all of them on offense as the Horned Frogs make changes with two new co-offensive coordinators.

West Virginia keeps restocking with players from the small western Pennsylvania town of Aliquippa, in the shadow of longtime rival Pittsburgh. Already with a running back from Aliquippa who transferred from Pitt last summer, the Mountaineers signed a cornerback and defensive lineman from the town.

After the departure of three quarterbacks, Texas Tech signed Texas APSE player of the year Patrick Mahomes, the son of a former pro baseball player who had 50 TDs pass and four interceptions as a senior.

Here are five things to know about signing day for Big 12 schools:



BEST CLASS: For the second year in a row, Oklahoma gets top billing in the Big 12. Even coach Bob Stoops, whose team got a big boost with a Sugar Bowl victory over Alabama, called this one of his best classes. "Hard to compare when you're looking at 15 years of doing it, but I feel this ranks right up there with any of them," he said. Running back Joe Mixon is listed as Rivals.com's No. 1 running back and 247sports.com's No. 1 all-purpose back. The Sooners also added 5-foot-11, 238-pound Samaje Perine, another running back who looks ready to play, and height at receiver with three signees who are at least 6-foot-5.



TOP GROUP TO WATCH: Already known for its big-play offense, defending Big 12 champion Baylor's signing class included four receivers from Texas — KD Cannon from Mount Pleasant, Davion Hall from Texarkana, Chris Platt from Willis and Ishmael Zamora from Houston. Coach Art Briles says unequivocally that is the best such group — and not only in the Big 12. "If there is a better receiver class in America, then somebody's speaking with fork and tongue, because there's not," Briles said. "There's not four receivers better than who we signed. They're just not out there."



BIGGEST SURPRISE: While a big surprise to everybody else, but not to Iowa State coach Paul Rhoades, highly touted receiver Allen Lazard affirmed his more than year-old commitment to the Cyclones even after continued overtures from schools such as Notre Dame and Iowa. Rhoads began his signing day press conference Wednesday by holding up Lazard's signed letter of intent. The receiver's father played defensive back at Iowa State from 1990-93.



STRONG RE-RECRUITING, GOING OUT: The league's only new coach is Charlie Strong at Texas, and he managed to keep together a solid recruiting class of 23 players. On the weekend that Mack Brown stepped down, just a day after the team banquet, the Longhorns were hosting 17 recruits. Strong was mostly able to re-recruit Brown's class and keep it together. Of note, there are six players from outside of Texas, an unheard of number under Brown the previous 16 years. Brown recruited some of those out-of-state players, but Strong got two late commitments from South Carolina and Florida.



BUILDING IN SUNFLOWER STATE: Kansas and Kansas State both went heavy on junior college players, signing eight each. Coach Bill Snyder and the Wildcats, who lost six senior starters on defense, signed five junior college defenders. The best in that group, linebacker D'Vonta Derricott and defensive tackle Terrell Clinkscales, fill the two biggest holes and should help immediately. Kansas coach Charlie Weis also added two transfers from four-year schools, quarterback T.J. Millweard from UCLA and tight end Kent Taylor from Florida.



Here are the signing day capsules from each of the Big 12 schools:



BAYLOR

National rankings (Rivals 34; Scout 23).

Best in class: KD Cannon, wr, Mount Pleasant, Texas.

Best of the rest: Davion Hall, wr, Texarkana, Texas; Terence Williams, rb, Ennis, Texas; and two junior college transfers who are already enrolled at Baylor, Jarell Broxton, og, Gaithersburg, Maryland; and Grant Campbell, lb, Bakersfield, Calif.

Late addition: None, the Bears got early commitments and they stuck.

One that got away: None. Baylor fans watching a webcast that included a shot of the fax machine set next to the Big 12 championship trophy on the Waco campus saw every national letter of intent they expected to see.

NOTE: Briles said the Bears' success on the field is certainly having an impact on recruiting, not to mention the team moves into a new stadium next fall. "The difference now and three years ago? Three years ago, we were selling hope, vision and trying to acquire something," he said. "Now we're selling defending something. Our job is to defend a Big 12 championship."



IOWA STATE

National rankings (Rivals 56; Scout 52)

Best in class: Allen Lazard, wr, Urbandale, Iowa.

Best of the rest: Jordan Harris, lb, Clarksdale, Miss.; Martinez Syria, rb, Humble, Texas; Mike Warren, rb, Lawton, Okla.; Brian Peavy, db, Houston, Texas; Darius Lee-Campbell, qb, Spring, Texas.

Late addition: Willie Harvey, lb, Hastings, Fla., who picked Iowa State on Monday after decommitting from Southern Mississippi.

One that got away: Tommy Mister, rb, 6-0, 210, decommitted after Iowa State coach Paul Rhoads fired offensive coordinator Courtney Messingham and running backs coach Kenith Pope and signed with Indiana.

NOTE: "He's a guy that will knock people's fillings loose. That's how he plays. He's productive. He shows up and plays very physical. He's got that mental approach to the game. He's very smart." — Rhoads on linebacker Jordan Harris.



KANSAS

National rankings (Rivals 55; Scout 62).

Best in class: Traevohn Wrench, rb, Gardner, Kan.

Best of the rest: Jacob Bragg, ol, Nacogdoches, Texas; Kyron Watson, lb, East St. Louis, Ill.; D.J. Williams, dl, Lufkin, Texas; Derrick Neal, wr, Dallas.

Late addition: Corey Avery, rb, Dallas, who picked Kansas this past week after visiting Nebraska and considering Ohio State, LSU and Texas.

One that got away: Austin Stevens, dl, Montclair, N.J., committed to Kansas in September and switched his pledge to Boston College in December.

NOTE: Kansas invested heavily in football hotbeds Texas (11 players) and Florida (four), while picking up three in-state recruits. But as evidence of the lengths Weis was going to secure talent, he also lured prospects from six other states and Canada.



KANSAS STATE

National rankings (Rivals 46; Scout 57)

Best in class: D'Vonta Derricott, lb, Henrico, Va.

Best of the rest: Terrell Clinkscales, dt, Maywood, Ill.; Dalvin Warmack, rb, Blue Springs, Mo.; Dalton Risner, ol, Wiggins, Colo.; Elijah Lee, lb, Blue Springs, Mo.

Late addition: Isaiah Riddle, lb, Newnan, Ga., picked the Wildcats on signing day over Memphis and Louisville despite never visiting the school.

One that got away: Aaron Sharp, qb, Humble, Texas, who committed to Kansas State last July but switched to UCLA in January.

NOTE: The Wildcats hope Derricott and Clinkscales fill two of the biggest holes. Derricott was courted by nearly every Big 12 school while Clinkscales switched his commitment from Nebraska.



TCU

National rankings (Rivals 51; Scout 38).

Best in class: Shaun Nixon, rb, Lake Travis, Austin, Texas.

Best of the rest: Ty Barrett, ol, Dallas Skyline; qbs Foster Sawyer, Fort Worth, and Grayson Muehlstein, Decatur; wrs Corey McBride, Geismar, La., and Emanuel Porter, Dallas Lincoln.

Late addition: Nixon, a four-star recruit, had committed to Texas A&M before his surprise visit to TCU last weekend. Patterson called him a "guy who stood out who wanted to come to TCU. I don't think you ever turn down a great tailback."

One that got away: DE Jarrell Owens, who was also a running back at Palestine High, committed to the Frogs last summer. But the 6-3, 240-pounder switched to Oklahoma State after a visit to Stillwater last weekend and signed with the Cowboys on Wednesday.

NOTE: Ty Summers was a dual-threat All-District quarterback with 3,774 total yards and 47 touchdowns at San Antonio's Reagan High. Patterson recruited him to play linebacker, like he has done with other former high school QBs, including Jason Phillips, who is an NFL linebacker for Philadelphia. "A little bit going back to my old ways," Patterson said. "He ran with the ball more than he threw it. He's a very physical player."



TEXAS

National rankings (Rivals 20, Scout 16 ).

Best in class: Jerrod Heard, qb, Denton, Texas

Best of the rest: Poona Ford, dt, Hilton Head, S.C.

Late addition: Chris Nelson, dt, Lakeland, Fla.

One that got away: Sione Teuhema, de, Keller, Texas

NOTE: Coach Charlie Strong wasn't hired to replace Mack Brown until Jan. 6, which meant he had to scramble to hold on to some previous commitments and lure others. The class won't be considered as strong compared to what Texas fans are used to, but no one will care if the Longhorns win on the field.



TEXAS TECH

National rankings (Rivals 43; Scout 35).

Best in class: Patrick Mahomes, qb, Whitehouse, Texas.

Best of the rest: Justin Stockton, rb, Cibolo, Texas; Ian Sadler, wr, Argyle; Devin Lauderdale, wr, Houston; Nigel Bethel, db, Miami; Rika Levi, dl, South San Francisco, Calif.

Late addition: Shaquille Davis, ol, Ponomo, Calif.

One that got away: Zaycoven Henderson, dt, Longview, Texas (Texas A&M).

NOTE: "He's a winner," coach Kliff Kingsbury said of Mahomes. "You watch him play and he willed his team to victories over and over."



WEST VIRGINIA

National rankings (Rivals 38; Scout 40).

Best in class: Dravon Henry, db, Aliquippa (Pa.) HS.

Best of the rest: William Crest, qb, Dunbar HS, Baltimore. Donte Thomas-Williams, rb, Hillside HS, Durham, N.C.

Late addition: Dontae Angus, ol, Martin Luther King HS, Philadelphia. Angus had initially committed to Florida.

One that got away: Josh Krok, ol, McKinley HS, Niles, Ohio. Krok signed with Kentucky after making a visit last month to Lexington, Ky.

NOTE: Holgorsen called Henry "one of the better players in the Northeast" who can play cornerback or safety and be used as a returner.