Big 12 Spotlight: Five big late signing period questions
While the Early Signing Period dominates the late signing period from an action and drama standpoint now, there are still plenty of questions that need to be answered heading into the late signing period, which kicks off Feb. 6. Here are five big questions to answer out of the Big 12.
1. WHAT WILL BRU DO?
When five-star athlete Bru McCoy announced his commitment to USC at the beginning of the month and then enrolled at the school, it seemed like his recruitment was over. Well … not exactly. Despite being a Trojan for less than a month, McCoy entered his name in the transfer portal on Thursday, setting the stage for other schools to recruit him. So why is this such a big deal for the Big 12? Because Texas was the runner up to USC in the race for McCoy, and if he does in fact decide to head to Austin, it would be huge late addition for the Longhorns. Where McCoy will land and if he will be eligible for the 2019 season is still to be decided. But either way, Big 12 fans will be paying close attention.
2. WILL IT BE OKLAHOMA OR TEXAS FOR THE CONFERENCE CROWN?
This has been a battle throughout the cycle and it’s still not decided heading into the final two weeks. After landing five-star wide receiver Jadon Haselwood and four-star David Ugwoegbu, it seemed like a done deal for for the Sooners to hang on to the No. 1 spot. But if McCoy lands at Texas and counts toward the Longhorns' total, it could be enough to swing the conference crown. Even if Oklahoma misses out on the league title, Sooners fans can take solace in the fact that they landed a huge recruit in Alabama quarterback transfer Jalen Hurts.
3. WILL ANY OTHER BIG 12 TEAMS MAKE THE TOP 25?
While the Longhorns and Sooners are battling for spots in the Top 10 overall nationally, the rest of the conference continues to lag far behind when it comes to the recruiting rankings. Currently, TCU is No. 3 in the conference, but sits at just No. 27 nationally and has little room to move up. The closest is Baylor at No. 34 nationally, followed by Oklahoma State at No. 37. The Cowboys still have a few spots in the class and will likely climb higher, but making the Top 25 seems like a long shot, even with the recent commitment of Rivals250 running back Deondrick Glass. Recruiting rankings aren’t the be-all, end-all, but it’s still not promising for the conference to see so many teams lagging behind nationally.
4. HOW WILL THE NEW COACHES FINISH?
There was quite a bit of turnover at head coaching positions in the conference, and because some of the moves happened so late, it hampered the schools' efforts in advance of the Early Signing Period. As it stands now, Kansas (10 commits), Texas Tech (15), Kansas State (16) and West Virginia (16) all have quite a bit of work to do between now and Signing Day, as all four programs remain ranked No. 55 or lower in the Rivals.com team rankings, behind the likes of Group of Five programs UCF and Memphis. West Virginia has the biggest opportunity to make a move, should it pull a surprise and land in-state five-star offensive tackle Darnell Wright. The Mountaineers remain in contention, but still have a lot of ground to make up with Tennessee as his presumed leader.
5. WILL THE REMAINING BIG FISH SLIP OUT OF CONFERENCE?
The talent in Texas is the lifeblood of the Big 12, but more and more schools from other conferences are reaching into the state to grab recruits. As the cycle heads toward a close, just 17 of the state’s top 110 prospects remain unsigned, and all but two four-stars in that group are uncommitted. Coincidentally, both are former Texas Tech commits that have backed off their pledges following the dismissal of Kliff Kingsbury. The Red Raiders still have a very good shot at landing four-star defensive end Steven Parker, who was committed for more than six months, but they are in a head-to-head battle with Nebraska to land his signature. The other unsigned, uncommitted four-star is La’Vontae Shenault, who could be headed to join his brother, Laviska, at Colorado. With Texas Tech fading out of the picture, it appears Kansas has the best shot of preventing the Big 12 from letting another talented Shenault brother slip out of state.