Big 12 Spotlight: Five coaches that need a strong close to 2024 cycle
Rivals.com national recruiting analyst Cole Patterson highlights five Big 12 coaches that need a strong close to the 2024 recruiting cycle with the Early Signing Period just a few short weeks away.
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CLASS OF 2026 RANKINGS: Rivals100
DAVE ARANDA, Baylor
With the coaching carousel in full swing, Baylor has opted to keep head coach Dave Aranda for at least another year. Aranda and the Bears have struggled on the field and in recruiting since winning the Big 12 and the Sugar Bowl just two years ago. There was some speculation that the administration would make a change, but that turned out not to be the case.
Therefore, Aranda could really use a strong close to the 2024 recruiting cycle. Baylor sits at No. 58 nationally in the team recruiting rankings – behind USF, for instance – and good for No. 11 in the conference. Brock Jackson is currently the lone four-star prospect in the class, and defensive end Alex Foster is being courted by other programs down the stretch.
Baylor desperately needs to generate momentum both on the recruiting trail and through the transfer portal. The pressure is on Aranda to get the ball rolling and provide reasons for optimism heading into the 2024 season.
SONNY DYKES, TCU
Just a year ago, TCU was arguably the hottest team in the region, if not the country. The Horned Frogs beat Michigan in the College Football Playoff and played for a national title. Quarterback Max Duggan was the runner-up for the Heisman Trophy and wide receiver Quentin Johnston became a first-round draft selection.
This year, things have been all different. The Horned Frogs struggled through conference play, capped off by a rout at the hands of Oklahoma in the regular season finale. Not only that, but TCU didn't really get a boost from the 2022 campaign on the trail, as the Frogs sit at No. 38 nationally in the rankings.
Fortunately, TCU does have an opportunity to add impactful players down the stretch and close in a strong manner. The Horned Frogs are involved with former Purdue wideout commit Josiah Martin and pass catcher Dozie Ezukanma, who backed off his Oklahoma pledge on Monday.
STEVE SARKISIAN, Texas
Next season, the Longhorns will be kicking off their SEC era, reuniting with Texas A&M and Arkansas and playing in the conference for the first time along with rival Oklahoma. But for now, Texas is playing for a Big 12 championship and is potentially one win away from securing a berth in the College Football Playoff, depending on how other games shake out.
On the recruiting trail, Sarkisian and company have crushed it. Texas holds the No. 4 overall recruiting haul, headlined by five-stars Colin Simmons and Ryan Wingo. Still, the Longhorns remain big-game hunting and are in position to possibly add even more firepower by the time that signing day rolls around.
Texas is the favorite to land Rivals100 cornerback Kobe Black, the top uncommitted prospect in the state. Black has pushed back his commitment date that was set for this week, but the feeling is that the Longhorns are in a strong position to beat out Oklahoma State and Texas A&M.
Additionally, the Longhorns are in hot pursuit of Rivals100 safety Xavier Filsaime, who is currently committed to Florida. Texas is one of a couple of programs, along with USC and Oregon, attempting to flip him from the Gators. Landing either would be great for Texas, but landing both would be a big boost heading into the SEC.
Houston has not filled its head coaching vacancy after just firing Dana Holgorsen, but the next Cougars head man will have plenty of work to do once he takes over in the Lone Star State. Houston has the worst-ranked recruiting class in all of the Big 12.
With just eight total commitments and the calendar prepping to flip to December, the cupboard is pretty bare in H-Town. Four-star safety Maurice Williams leads the way and high three-star offensive lineman Ray'Quan Bell is also a nice get, but the next staff will need to hit the ground running immediately after taking the job.
There is a lot of potential with the Houston job in the Power Five. The Houston area is filled with talented prospects and powerhouse high school programs. Expect the next coach to fill the class with local recruits in hopes of closing the cycle strong.
BRENT VENABLES, Oklahoma
Like Sarkisian and Texas, Venables and Oklahoma have done really well on the trail this cycle. Five-star defensive lineman David Stone headlines a haul that ranks No. 2 in the Big 12 and No. 6 nationally.
The only hiccup that the Sooners must overcome is offensive coordinator Jeff Lebby leaving to take over as head coach at Mississippi State. So far, the only decommitment since that news broke has been Ezukanma. Whereas many other commits have publicly reaffirmed their pledge to the Sooners.
Oklahoma will have plenty of interest in its now open offensive coordinator position with former North Texas head coach Seth Littrell being the likely choice to step into the role. Holding onto key weapons such as running back Taylor Tatum and Zion Kearney – who both seem to be locked in – would certainly qualify as closing strong this cycle.