Texas Tech scored their highest-rated commit in years last week in Florida cornerback Marcus Roberson. Will the Red Raiders be able to secure his signature on Signing Day?
We break down recruiting in the Big 12 as National Signing Day nears in a special edition of the Big 12 Blitz.
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New head coach Jon Embree inherited a tough situation in Boulder. The Buffs do not have any four-star commits and do not appear to be on the verge of signing any for the second year in a row. They have received a rash of pledges over the past week and a half from players that were little known at the time such as two-star prospects Gregory Henderson, Jermaine Clark and Rashad Hall all this past weekend. They are one of three finalists for Hawaii defensive end Juda Parker after he visited as well. USC offensive guard commit Marcus Martin is scheduled to visit this coming weekend and, with Colorado heading to the Pac-12 next year, they should be able to recruit California prospects such as him a lot easier now.
Iowa State out together most of their class pretty early but did get a steal recently when Florida running back DeVondrick Nealy committed. The Cyclones are also waiting on the decision of junior college defensive end Bojay Filimoeatu, who has them in his final three along with Kansas State and Utah State. After losing Boyd to Baylor this past weekend, they are mainly in the mode of holding on to their current commitments. They look to be in good shape with almost all of them as head coach Paul Rhoads counts down to Signing Day.
The Jayhawks are looking to put the finishing touches on what should be considered a solid class. Led by four-star commits Darrian Miller and Anthony Pierson, Kansas' first true class under head coach Turner Gill is a success. They picked up a commitment from sleeper defensive end Michael Reynolds over the weekend and saw speedy junior college linebacker Tunde Bakare on Monday. Miller is already enrolled in class as is quarterback Brock Berglund and offensive lineman Dylan Admire. Those three are huge gets for the Jayhawks.
As has been the pattern under head coach Bill Snyder, the Kansas State class has quite a few junior college prospects in it. Justin Tuggle, formerly of Boston College, looks to come in and compete for the starting quarterback job right away. The Wildcats are set for a big visit weekend as they will play host to four-star defensive tackle Kevin McReynolds as well as defensive end Ian Seau and defensive tackle Walton Taumoepeau. They were set to host Michael Reynolds before he verballed to in-state rival Kansas this past weekend. They remain in the running for junior college corner Kip Daily, who is also considering SMU, Cincinnati and Southern Miss.
The Tigers landed their biggest target in some time when junior college defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson switched from USC and signed with them last month. The big defender had been committed to Missouri since high school but surprised many when he switched to the Trojans at one point. The big hurdle now is getting Richardson cleared to play, which is something the school is still working on. The rest of the class is solid and has not seen a new addition since Dec. 19. Other schools have made a run at cornerback commit Cortland Browning but he appears to be solid with Missouri.
Nebraska has done a very good job recruiting Texas and the Southeast. They scored a big win over several SEC schools as well as USC when Georgia athlete Ameer Abdullah committed last week. However, it appears that they will have to hold off a late charge from Auburn as he plans to visit there this coming weekend. This past weekend they hosted Florida linebacker Keeon Virgile and he is down to a final two of the Huskers and North Carolina. They are also in the final group for Florida linebacker and current USC commit Kent Turene. Nebraska is looking for a kicker and recently offered Wake Forest commit Mauro Bondi.
With early recruiting becoming more and more prevalent, Oklahoma is the extreme case of just that. The Sooners have not received a commitment since last June and do not appear likely to add any others in the last week prior to Signing Day. They took a hit when athlete Brandon Carter recently switched to TCU but they held on as several others took a furious run at five-star running back Brandon Williams. The Sooners have already held two early junior days and their focus is pretty much completely on the class of 2012 already.
Oklahoma State raided the state of Texas once again this year and managed to win several head-to-head battles with their fellow Big 12 South schools. This weekend they look to continue that trend when they play host to Texas Tech defensive tackle commit James Castleman. There is a very good chance he could change his pledge. The Cowboys are searching hard for defensive lineman and just recently were able to get Alex Villareal to switch from Houston. With Herschel Sims looking like a solid commit again, the Cowboy class does not seem like it will have any defectors. They tried to get Texas Tech athlete commit DeAndre Washington to switch late but he firmed up his pledge to the Red Raiders after his visit.
Mack Brown and company have put together most of their class in February in recent years and 2011 is no different. Texas suffered a big blow when Rivals100 offensive tackle Christian Westerman switched to Auburn last week but they kept the rest of the class intact despite turning over almost the entire coaching staff. Steve Edmond, Quincy Russell, Josh Turner and Cedric Reed all entertained other suitors but reaffirmed their Texas commitments. The Horns hosted defensive end Brandon Alexander this past weekend and look to be in good shape there and, due to the hiring of defensive line coach Bo Davis from Alabama, at least have a shot at defensive end Jermauria Rasco again.
Texas A&M took a big hit on Friday as one of their three four-star commits at the time, Colorado linebacker Leilon Willingham de-committed. The out-of-state prospect will not visit campus and will likely end up at Michigan. They did add another out-of-state four-star on Monday though when former Ole Miss cornerback commit Floyd Raven pledged to the Aggies. A&M also picked up a weekend commitment of speed slot receiver Chance Nelson, who was garnering lots of late interest. Like Texas, they are in the running for defensive end Alexander. They could have to hold off Texas Tech late for Florida linebacker Shaun Ward.
Texas Tech scored their highest-rated commit in years last week in Florida cornerback Marcus Roberson. However, he says there is a 50-percent chance he will sign elsewhere in the in-state Florida Gators are making a big push. Offensive tackle commit Le'Raven Clark was being pursued by Texas after they lost Westerman but he told them on Monday that he planned to sign with the Red Raiders. Tech is in the running for Rivals100 defensive tackle Delvon Simmons and will be getting a visit from Turene this weekend as well as Florida State receiver commit Rashad Greene. If they can hold on to Roberson and land one or two of their three major targets, it would easily be the best class ever for the Red Raiders.