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Big 12 breakdown: Hot and cold teams of 2018 recruiting

Our weeklong series looking at the hottest and coldest teams in 2018 recruiting for each Power Five conference concludes today with the Big 12, where Texas has made major moves lately to climb to second in the Big 12 recruiting rankings.

HOT/COLD TEAMS: Big Ten | SEC | ACC | Pac-12

CLASS OF 2018 RANKINGS: Rivals250 | National Team | Big 12

THREE HOT TEAMS

1. TEXAS LONGHORNS

Cameron Rising
Cameron Rising

The no-brainer pick for hottest team in the conference as far as recruiting goes has been the Longhorns, hands-down. Texas kicked off April by getting a commitment from high three-star linebacker Byron Hobbs and followed that in short order with a commitment from Rivals250 quarterback Casey Thompson. Just within the last few days, Texas also added Reese Moore, a West Texas tight end that will go on to play offensive tackle in college, and another Oklahoma prospect in defensive end Ron Tatum. Perhaps the most interesting development lately not just for Texas but conference-wide, was the decision of Rivals100 quarterback Cameron Rising to flip from Oklahoma to Texas even after Thompson’s announcement. Now the expectation is that Thompson will likely look elsewhere, but in the meantime, this is the sort of recruiting effort Texas fans expected to see from new head coach Tom Herman.

2. KANSAS JAYHAWKS

Aaron Brule
Aaron Brule

The Jayhawks were the hot team in the conference in February after getting commitments from three four-star players out of Louisiana. Though one of those players, Ja’Marr Chase, has since decommitted, Devonta Jason and Corione Harris have stuck to theirs and headline the top class in the conference. Chase has been replaced, so to speak, by Texarkana, Texas, wide receiver Tevailance Hunt, who is a different sort of receiver than Chase, but speedier than both he and Jason. The Jayhawks also landed an April commitment from in-state prospect Mac Copeland, and now have eight total commitments for a top 15 class nationally heading into May. Also of note is how strong defensive back Aaron Brule has looked this spring, and though he committed along with the other Louisiana recruits months ago, it’s worth mentioning that he seems to be a steal at the moment for Kansas.

3. OKLAHOMA STATE COWBOYS

Bryce Bray
Bryce Bray

The rest of the conference hasn’t been nearly as active as Texas when it has come to landing commitments in April, but the Cowboys have quietly picked up a trio of their own commitments over the past few weeks. In a three-day span, Oklahoma State added commitments from offensive linemen Bryce Bray and Hunter Woodard as well as a second quarterback commitment in Texas product Jaelyn Nolan. Nolan won’t be considered the top quarterback in this group with fellow Lone Star State QB Spencer Sanders having been committed since October of last year, but the expectation is that other teams will try and lure Sanders away. Cowboys fans may not need to be concerned with that, as Sanders has never been one to seem overly enthused about the recruiting process, but either way, Nolan secures the position in this class for now.

THREE COLD TEAMS

1. OKLAHOMA SOONERS

Sooners fans won’t like to be reminded of this, but in addition to Rising’s flip from Oklahoma, two 2019 four-star receivers that committed while on a visit in February - Arjei Henderson and Theo Wease, both chose to dissolve their early commitments as well. The timing of Wease’s decommitment is a little more surprising, as Henderson had been consistently picking up more offers throughout the spring, but perhaps the question should be asked if there was a specific impetus for all three players choosing to decommit within the same general period of time. Oklahoma could bounce back and be the landing spot for Thompson, should he choose to part with Texas, but otherwise is still holding strong with a top 20 class in 2018, with five commitments.

2. KANSAS STATE WILDCATS

Bill Snyder
Bill Snyder (USA TODAY Sports Images)

What more can be said about a team with no commitments to this point other than things are as frosty as cold can be? Things may not be as dire as that statement makes them sound as the Wildcats could consider themselves among the best offers for a number of players they are involved with such as Ja’Kori Morgan or Demarcus Marshall out of Texas, or Las Vegas-Bishop Gorman offensive lineman Jacob Isaia, whose father lives in close proximity to the school. The cumulative effect of Bill Snyder’s age and perceived lack of interest in getting into recruiting battles with other programs over top-tier recruits may be the scapegoat for the lack of early returns, but there should be some players interested in joining a team that perennially wins at least eight or nine games a year.

3. TEXAS TECH RED RAIDERS

Red Raiders fans have seen this story before. Even though Tech’s prolific offense has no trouble recruiting wide receivers - which make up all of the team’s commitments to this point - things could be so much better. Earlier this year, running back Stanley Hackett and safety Cam Jones - both four-star prospects - de-committed and Jones recently announced his commitment to UCLA. Making matters worse, Jaylon Robinson has seen an uptick in his stock recently with some more offers following strong camp performances this spring in addition to his comments saying that he is still exploring options and taking visits. Tech is two years removed from a big haul up front on defense and pulled in a nice offensive group in 2017, but Red Raiders faithful would love to see another big-splash commitment and a more well-balanced recruiting class.

CLASS OF 2018 RANKINGS: Rivals250 | National Team | Big 12