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Big 12 Spotlight: Breaking down the 2023 class

Jackson Arnold
Jackson Arnold (

National Signing Day has concluded which means recruiting classes across the country are mostly complete aside from a small handful of finishing touches from prospects that have yet to decide.

For the Big 12 teams, first-year staffs and developed classes made up the conference ranks as each program signed key components for their respective futures. Here is how each team in the conference fared in the 2023 cycle.




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CLASS OF 2023 RANKINGS: Rivals250 | Team | Position | State

CLASS OF 2024 RANKINGS: Rivals250 | Team | Position | State

CLASS OF 2025 RANKINGS: Rivals100




1. Texas (3 nationally) - The Longhorns finished atop the Big 12 for the second consecutive cycle after landing three five-star prospects, including No. 1 overall Arch Manning, while also adding some key pieces such as four-star athlete Jelani McDonald late in the process.

2. Oklahoma (6) - The Sooners also signed a trio of five-stars, and all come at positions of need going into the 2023 season. Jackson Arnold will step in as a legitimate contender to win the starting quarterback job during his freshman season while Peyton Bowen and Adepoju Adebawore will both provide immediate help to a struggling defense from 2022.

3. TCU (20) - Fresh off of a national championship appearance, the Horned Frogs signed six four-star prospects, including one of the nation's top all-star game risers in four-star wide receiver Cordale Russell.

4. Texas Tech (23) - Athleticism reigns supreme in Lubbock as the Red Raiders' 2023 class is made up almost entirely of proven track-and-field athletes, including River Rouge (La.) John Curtis four-star linebacker Justin Horne who is one of the top hurdlers in Louisiana history.

5. Baylor (29) - There were bumps in the road for Baylor along the way, with none being more damaging than losing Austin Novosad to Oregon during the Early Signing Period, but the Bears were still able to put together a top-30 class behind signing a trio of four-star prospects.

6. Kansas State (34) - The Wildcats only signed one four-star in the 2023 cycle, but it was a big one as Chris Kleiman and his staff identified Avery Johnson early on and were able to weather off major contenders down the stretch to earn his commitment and signature.

7. Iowa State (41) - Similar to Kansas State's push for Johnson, Iowa State keyed in on 6-foot-6 quarterback JJ Kohl early on and landed his signature without much drama during his recruitment. Kohl also serves as the Cyclones' lone four-star prospect.

8. West Virginia (44) - The Mountaineers were active in the state of Pennsylvania in the 2023 cycle, as two of the three four-stars signed by West Virginia came from its northern neighbors, including wide receiver Rodney Gallagher and linebacker Josiah Trotter.

9. Oklahoma State (49) - It was a uniquely odd recruiting cycle for the Cowboys, who initially expected to not have many spots in the class to fill, to having to rush to find spots ahead of the Early Signing Period. As a result, Mike Gundy and his staff signed just one four-star prospect and signed a league-high four two-stars.

10. Kansas (72) - For a team that expected to do most of their work in the transfer portal from the start, it's no surprise that Kansas was the lone Big 12 team to not sign a four-star prospect. Still, the Jayhawks added key pieces to their receiving and secondary cores.



Arch Manning
Arch Manning (

BIGGEST SIGNING: Texas put all of its eggs in the Arch Manning basket from the beginning of the cycle to the end, and it paid off with a summer commitment from the third generation signal-caller from the first family of quarterbacks. Had the Longhorns lost Manning to a contender, it would have been tough sledding for Steve Sarkisian and his staff to find a replacement.

BIGGEST STEAL: It didn't come without a large amount of Early Signing Period drama, but Oklahoma weathered a major storm to eventually snatch five-star safety Peyton Bowen from Notre Dame and Oregon during one of the bigger storylines of the 2023 cycle.

BIGGEST SLEEPER: Of the many track athletes in the Texas Tech class that stand out with verified athleticism, linebacker Miquel Dingle Jr. stands out with his 10.92 100-meter speed and his 13.56 110-meter hurdle speed, which are both among the nation's top times for a prospect his size. If Dingle can put it together on the field, he could be contending for all-conference nods early in his career.



Jay Valai
Jay Valai (Matt Carroll -- TheKnightReport.Net)

Brandon Hall, Oklahoma: The Sooners finished with a top ten class, and it was in large part to what safeties coach Brandon Hall was able to help do on the defensive side of the ball by landing some of the nation's top defensive backs and assisting in other areas as well. Hall was the primary recruiter on five-star safety Peyton Bowen, four-star safety Daeh McCullough, four-star linebacker Samuel Omosigho, the nation's No. 5 JUCO prospect Kendel Dolby and three-star athlete Erik McCarty.

Jeff Choate, Texas: Going into the 2023 cycle, linebackers were a key necessity for the Longhorns, and linebackers coach Jeff Choate did about as good of a job as Steve Sarkisian could've asked of him. Choate served as the primary recruiter for four-star linebacker Derion Gullette, four-star linebacker Liona Lefau, four-star athlete Jelani McDonald and three-star linebacker S'Maje Burrell while also serving as the secondary recruiter for five-star linebacker Anthony Hill and four-star linebacker Tausili Akana.

Jay Valai, Oklahoma: When Brent Venables assembled his staff in Norman, co-defensive coordinator Jay Valai quickly became an important piece because of his recruiting knacks, and that showed in his first cycle at Oklahoma. During the 2023 cycle, Valai served as the primary recruiter for four-star safety Makari Vickers, four-star athlete Jacobe Johnson, four-star cornerback Jasiah Wagoner and three-star wide receiver Keyon Brown.



Peyton Bowen
Peyton Bowen (KiddRyno/

Quarterbacks: Texas - Signing the No. 1 overall prospect in Arch Manning almost solidifies this victory for the Longhorns, even with a strong late push from Jackson Arnold up the rankings.

Running Backs: Texas - Losing Bijan Robinson to the NFL Draft feels a lot better for Texas when they can replace him with high four-star running back Cedric Baxter, who is already turning heads in winter workouts in Austin. Add in Tre Wisner who could serve as a Swiss army knife-type weapon for the Texas offense, and the Longhorns have the strongest running back group in the conference.

Wide Receivers: Texas - There were ups-and-downs throughout the cycle at the position, but Texas was still able to sign three high-ceiling pass-catchers in five-star Johntay Cook and four-stars Ryan Niblett and Deandre Moore.

Tight Ends: Baylor - The Bears have been able to display effectiveness at the tight end position, and that was on display in the 2023 cycle as they landed two high-ceiling prospects at the position in Hawkins Polley and Matthew Klopfenstein who both own impressive physical and athletic profiles.

Offensive Line: Oklahoma - Getting bigger in the trenches was a major priority for the Sooners this cycle, and they did just that by signing three four-star prospects on the offensive line that each tower at over 6-foot-5, 280 pounds.

Defensive Line: TCU - While there may be some higher-ranked position groups around the conference, the Horned Frogs defensive line haul has the potential to be the best with athletic pass-rushers such as Jonathan Bax and Zachary Chapman. Add in the fact that Markis Deal and Avion Carter could be early contributors, and it just makes sense to have TCU in this spot.

Linebackers: Texas - The linebacker haul for Texas was nationally impressive in the 2023 cycle as the Longhorns landed five prospects at the position including five-star Anthony Hill and Rivals250 four-stars Derion Gullette and Tausili Akana.

Defensive Backs: Oklahoma - Adding Peyton Bowen into the mix during the Early Signing Period was just the cherry on top for a secondary haul for the Sooners that was desperately needed in Norman. Oklahoma added five prospects to the secondary from five different states, and all have potential to see the field early in Norman.