football Edit

Big 12: Each team's biggest Early Signing Period question

CLASS OF 2019 RANKINGS: Rivals250 | State | Position | Team

CLASS OF 2020 RANKINGS: Rivals250 | State | Position

Trey Sanders
Trey Sanders (Nick Lucero/

The Early Signing Period is just over six weeks away and programs across the country are looking for answers as they prepare to sign their 2019 classes. We look at the biggest questions facing each Big 12 program over the next six weeks.

RELATED: Questions facing each Big Ten team | SEC | ACC | Pac-12


  BAYLOR: Will the Bears close strong?  

Baylor continues to have momentum on the field under Matt Rhule, already more than doubling last season’s win total with three games remaining this season. That success is also being duplicated in recruiting, where the Bears rank fourth in the Big 12. It was a major undertaking for Rhule when he elected to come to Waco, and the rebuilding effort is going according to plan, so far. Known for finding under-the-radar talent and turning it into wins, the Bears recently targeted fast-rising defensive back Jonah White and appear to be in the driver’s seat to land his commitment. Filling the last few spots in the class with quality talent is key, and the school’s resurgent year should only help down the stretch.

IOWA STATE: Can the national recruiting efforts continue to yield success?  

Under Matt Campbell, the Cyclones haven’t been shy about recruiting any player from any area of the country - the perfect example being true freshman quarterback Brock Purdy. The Arizona product emerged late in the process, and Iowa State beat out several other programs to land his signature. This year, Iowa State is once again battling for some out-of-state talent down the stretch, including Florida prospects Jarrad Baker and Levi Williams. Under Campbell, the Iowa State staff has shown an ability to identify talent, and closing with a few Florida playmakers will only help continue the program’s rise.

KANSAS: How will the new coach fill out the staff?  

The Jayhawks' recruiting in the class of 2019 has virtually been non-existent, with just one player committed as of today. That number will obviously go up, but the sooner the school has a coach in place the sooner that person can go about filling out the commitment list. Last year, Kansas finished seventh in the conference, with a class headlined by instant impact players Pooka Williams and Corione Harris. If the new coach has Louisiana ties (hint hint) the success in the Bayou could continue. Even if a new coach is hired as soon as the season ends, it’s still likely the Jayhawks' recruiting efforts will go beyond signing day.

KANSAS STATE: Will a new coach be accepting the signatures?  

There are rumblings that this may be Bill Snyder’s final season. If so, it’s likely the Wildcats conduct a national search for his replacement. Under Snyder’s watch, the Wildcats have been known for unearthing diamonds in the rough on the recruiting trail. Clarity on Snyder’s situation, either way, will benefit the school’s efforts, which are lagging behind the rest of the conference. Kansas State currently has just eight commits, with every other school in the conferencing having at least 16, except for Kansas.

  OKLAHOMA: Can the Sooners lock up the Big 12 crown?  

Oklahoma has been in the driver’s seat for the conference recruiting title for quite a while and still hold a lead over second-place Texas, despite having one fewer commit. Unless the Longhorns close with some very big names, it’s going to be tough for them to catch Oklahoma. But that doesn’t mean the Sooners aren’t still working to add big names. This weekend, Oklahoma will host Rivals100 defensive lineman Marcus Stripling, a one-time commit who would be a huge addition to the class.

  OKLAHOMA STATE: Can the Pokes land an elite running back?  

Oklahoma State’s class doesn’t have many open spots remaining, but one is surely reserved for a four-star running back. The two main targets are Deondrick Glass and Darwin Barlow. Glass was on campus last week, and the Cowboys are battling Ohio State to keep him in Big 12 country. Barlow has been committed to TCU for quite a while, but appears to still be listening to Mike Gundy and company. Landing either would be a nice way to finish off the Early Signing Period and stock the cupboard at the position as the school prepares to replace star Justice Hill.

  TEXAS: Can the Horns land one or more of their big offensive targets?  

The Longhorns would obviously love to win the conference recruiting crown for a second straight season. If they are to do so, landing a few of their big offensive targets down the stretch is a necessity. The prime targets are a pair of elite running backs from IMG Academy, five-star Trey Sanders and four-star Noah Cain. Both have long flirted with the Longhorns and Cain started his high school career in the Lone Star State before transferring to IMG. Also on the board are in-state wide receivers Garrett Wilson and Elijah Higgins. Landing all four would truly be remarkable, but even if half of the quartet signs Texas will be very happy.

TCU: Will the on-field struggles impact recruiting?  

It’s been a rough few months for Horned Frogs, as they have struggled on the field while also losing several commitments from the 2019 recruiting class. Whether things pick up on the field or not, the school must keep the rest of the commits on board, while also adding some talent to replace the defectors. One name that could provide a boost both on the field next season and in the recruiting rankings is JUCO tight end Travis Koontz. The one-time Pittsburgh commit is high on TCU’s board and he is expected to visit Fort Worth before making a decision.

  TEXAS TECH: Will the on-field momentum carry over into recruiting?  

Last year at this time it wasn’t known if Kliff Kingsbury would be the coach by the time the season ended. But he saved his job last year and it doesn’t look like he’s going anywhere anytime soon. After a resurgent season on the field in 2018 - including the emergence of true freshman quarterback Alan Bowman - the question is now whether or not the staff can turn stability and potential into success in recruiting. With 17 commitments already on board, the Red Raiders have already reached their point total for the class of 2018, so no matter who they bring in it will be an improved year.

  WEST VIRGINIA: Will a top 10 season lead to dividends in recruiting?  

Generally, coaches will tell you that a big season on the field often leads to recruiting dividends in the following cycle. But with just 16 commitments in the class of 2019, Mountaineers fans are hoping to see a nice finish this cycle. Prime target Ali Jennings will be on campus this weekend, and WVU is still hoping to land four-star defensive lineman D’Von Ellies. The Mountaineers will have stiff competition for both, but with the program’s profile rising on a weekly basis, it should only help down the stretch.