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Big 12 breakdown: Top needs in the 2018 class

As Big 12 teams go through spring football, the coaching staffs are looking to address weaknesses on and off-the-field. In recruiting, league programs are evaluating personnel needs for the upcoming season and beyond. Here is a look around the league at the top positions of need for each team in the 2018 class.


Class of 2018 rankings: Rivals250 | Team | State | Position


Josh Landry
Josh Landry (Nick Lucero/

Biggest Need: Defensive tackle

The Latest: New coach Matt Rhule signed numerous defensive ends in Baylor's 2017 class and while a few of those may grow into tackles, the need to improve that position still exists. Lamar’s Josh Landry might be the most realistic option of the defensive tackles with a Baylor offer today, but he very well could project to a defensive end. If the staff made Calvin Avery in nearby Dallas a priority, he could end up being the highest-ranked player pulled in the staff’s first two classes and fill a major need.


Henry Geil
Henry Geil

Biggest Need: Running back

The Latest: Last season Iowa State's rushing attack was one of the worst in the Big 12 and the Cyclones didn’t sign a running back in their 2017 class. Head coach Matt Campbell has talked about wanting to establish a more physical personality on offense, and a good place to start would be adding a bell cow runner in 2018. Right now, Green Bay, Wisc., prospect Henry Geil could be the guy the Cyclones keys in on as a bigger-bodied player without many competing offers. Texas all-purpose back Deion Smith could be a versatile option as the Iowa State offense adopted a more up-tempo look once Jacob Park took over at quarterback last season.


Clayton Tune
Clayton Tune (Nick Lucero/

Biggest Need: Quarterback

The Latest: Kansas never seemed to really settle on a starting quarterback throughout last season and the offense subsequently struggled to sustain drives. While there were some bright moments, the need to find a consistently accurate and poised passer is a top priority for the Jayhawks. The program has a nice quarterback commit in Texas prospect Clayton Tune, but holding on to him is just as important, as Kansas hasn’t offered many quarterbacks.


Jace Ruder
Jace Ruder (Everett Royer/

Biggest Need: Quarterback

The Latest: Jesse Ertz wasn’t a very efficient quarterback for the Wildcats last season, and if Kansas State doesn’t make the move to 2016 four-star signee Skylar Thompson or redshirt him this season, the program will need to have another passer ready to go sooner than later. Last season, Kansas State had two-star quarterback Dewayne Betts decommit only to replace him with another two-star prospect in Sammy Wheeler. Current Tulsa commit Jace Ruder could be the guy to watch as one of the few quarterbacks Kansas State has offered that could be swayed to flip.


Keondre Coburn
Keondre Coburn (Nick Lucero/

Biggest Need: Top-tier defensive tackle or end

The Latest: Oklahoma was scrutinized throughout last season for its troubles defending against the pass. Zacchaeus McKinney and Isaiah Thomas were solid 2017 pickups along the defensive front, but they aren’t nearly the type of elite prospects that could serve as a cornerstone of the Sooners' defense. While the program has offered some talented defensive linemen in this class, it's time to start following that up with more offers and activity. Keondre Coburn and Brant Lawless might be players that Oklahoma is positioned best with as interior guys, while a prospect such as Bobby Brown could fall in multiple spots on the defensive line.


Ron Tatum
Ron Tatum

Biggest Need: Defensive linemen

The Latest: Cowboys defensive linemen wore down at times last season thanks to a small rotation up front. The team's secondary was exposed a little more as a result. Oklahoma State's 2017 defensive line signees didn’t yield a lot in terms of numbers or elite talent, but if Mike Gundy’s staff can snag a Ron Tatum and maybe a surprise lift from a player such as Joseph Ossai would be a major boon. Even a commitment from Moro Ojomo would bring some inside-out flexibility along the front line and help build some much-needed depth.


Anthony Cook
Anthony Cook (

Biggest Need: Defensive backs

The Latest: Last season, poor play in the secondary led to the demotion of defensive coordinator Vance Bedford, and all too often, opponents hit on busted coverages and shots downfield to put up a lot of points. Last year's cornerback signees, Kobe Boyce and Josh Thompson are nice players, but this year the Longhorns are hoping to scoop up Anthony Cook, B.J. Foster, Leon O’Neal and some others to reload with players that are able to step right in as legitimate playmakers next season.


Byron Hobbs
Byron Hobbs (Nick Lucero/

Biggest Need: Linebacker

The Latest: The Horned Frogs need to start thinking about restocking their linebacker depth chart. Two prospects in particular that would be sensible and strong targets are Byron Hobbs and DaShaun White. Both are local prospects and are well-rounded defenders that can hold their own in pass coverage as well. Recent safety commit Atanza Vongor is big enough to play up in the box in run-support, but some more bodies at the position are a must.


Shabazz Dotson
Shabazz Dotson (Nick Lucero/

Biggest Need: Defensive linemen

The Latest: Getting tougher and stronger up front defensively is going to continue to be the key point of focus for the Red Raiders until it isn’t anymore. After taking a large group of defensive backs in 2017 to just one defensive lineman in Nelson Mbanasor, the Red Raiders need to make good on landing some of the defensive linemen that they have offered in 2018 such as Tyler Lacy, or perhaps a Shabazz Dotson or Josh Landry - all three are very winnable recruits at this point.


Tyler DeSue
Tyler DeSue (

Biggest Need: Quarterback

The Latest: With only three quarterbacks on the roster and the presumptive starter, Will Grier, a short-term solution, the Mountaineers have made a concerted effort to give themselves an option or two in this class. Many of the prospects West Virginia has offered at the position are already committed, but the big fish target left on the board is Oklahoma prospect Casey Thompson. He doesn’t seem to be considering WVU heavily, so things may come down to taking one or both of Tyler DeSue or Kevin Doyle unless more options start to present themselves.