Big 12 Spotlight: Going team-by-team for 2019 cycle
With many players in Big 12 territory taking more official visits in the coming weeks as teams wrap up their spring football seasons, fans and coaches are on the lookout for prospects who might be moved to make commitments. While the conference recruiting rankings could have a very different look to them in just a few weeks, here is a quick look at where the conference teams stack up with their 2019 recruiting efforts to date.
Total commits: 3
Highest-ranked commitment: Jaylen Ellis
Top uncommitted target: Lewis Cine
Cine is one Baylor’s most recent offers and a Rivals100 prospect, so perhaps there is some wishful thinking going on here on the Bears’ end. However, he has expressed interest in several teams that are now more local to him since he moved to Texas from Massachusetts, and Baylor may be able to find a place in the mix.
Meanwhile, Ellis is Baylor’s highest-ranked recruit and its most dynamic player in 2019 thus far as a wide receiver. Matt Rhule and his staff may find their work cut out for them keeping Ellis committed, as he’s picked up a number of offers this spring, but Rhule has shown to be resourceful with his recruiting efforts in his first two classes. Although only two others are committed in Baylor's class at this point, Hakeem Vance and T.J. Franklin both have impressive physical tools that give them added potential.
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Total commits: 8
Highest-ranked commitment: Blake Peterson
Top uncommitted target: Danielson Ike
For the past few seasons, Iowa State has done a nice job getting out in front of its recruiting efforts and stacking its class early. While the Cyclones might like to do a better job in landing more high-profile guys such as Ike, Iowa State continues to up its profile as a team offensively. Ike last visited over Easter weekend, and he said afterwards that the Cyclones will ‘always remain in the mix’ for him.
The rest of the class as it stands right now is full of prospects with a lot of great physical measurables, and could feature the sort of otherwise under-the-radar talent that the Cyclones have used to fueled their recent success. Iowa State has found a little more success in the early going is with in-state talent, with three commits already from Iowa.
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Total commits: 1
Highest-ranked commitment: Lance Legendre
Top uncommitted target: Titus Swen
Kansas is working hard on turning the page on its recruiting fortunes. After landing two four-star prospects from Louisiana in 2018 in Corione Harris and Anthony Williams, the Jayhawks' lone commitment in this class is Legendre, a four-star quarterback.
Swen only holds three offers, two of which are from teams with new head coaches since they offered him. Kansas has an opportunity to bring in the powerfully built running back that has the ability to make some fantastic plays as a receiver, and continue adding top-level talents as it tries to pull itself up from Big 12 obscurity. Somehow, teams have glossed over Swen, but if Kansas can keep a line open to him and work on moving things forward this spring the Jayhawks could get a big steal.
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Total commits: 2
Highest-ranked commitment: Tancey Richardson
Top uncommitted target: Marcus Hicks
True to form, Kansas State hasn’t really made a ton of waves on the recruiting trail early on. Richardson is expected to sign as a three-star junior college transfer, but the only other Wildcat commitment is in-state two-star prospect Cooper Beebe. K-State is another one of those programs that knows what they want from the players that they recruit, and Beebe offers the sort of prototypical size programs like to have at defensive tackle. So, regardless of ranking, he could prove a productive player on the defensive front.
Landing Hicks would be a major coup, not just because of the fact that he is such a high-profile, in-state talent, but because Kansas State will have beaten out a number of other programs that recruit a very high level nationally.
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Total commits: 4
Highest-ranked commitment: Spencer Rattler
Top uncommitted target: Theo Wease
The Sooners class could have a very different look to it this weekend on the heels of its spring game, where a number of top prospects will be in attendance. Wease will be among them, as will fellow five-stars Arjei Henderson, Chris Steele and Jadon Haselwood. Even if Oklahoma doesn’t turn many of those visits into commitments, there is plenty of buzz around what this weekend could mean for the Sooners’ recruiting efforts over the long haul.
Many expect Wease to eventually recommit to the Sooners, and Oklahoma already has a top receiver commitment in prospect Trejan Bridges. With Rattler and tight end Austin Stogner, OU has struck early on getting some of the highest-ranked players at key offensive positions committed in 2019.
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Total commits: 2
Highest-ranked commitment: Grayson Boomer
Top uncommitted target: Grant Gunnell
The Cowboys have managed to hang around in the race for Gunnell, and landing him would give some instant juice to a recruiting class that hasn’t quite started pulling itself together yet. Gunnell is one of the country’s top quarterbacks in 2019, but the parallels between him and former starting quarterback Mason Rudolph have excited Oklahoma State fans with the possibility of him taking snaps in the future.
Should Gunnell commit, he would already have a pretty nice target in Boomer, an in-state talent, to look forward to in the passing game. On the other side of the ball, Oklahoma State took a bit of a chance on its only other commitment in Demarco Jones, who has no other offers, but the staff has a strong record of turning such players into stars.
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Total commits: 7
Highest-ranked commitment: Justin Osborne
Top uncommitted target: Jalen Catalon
TCU is in the midst of a massive reconstruction effort along its offensive line, based on the number of players signed in 2018 and its early returns so far in 2019. Osborne isn’t an offensive lineman loaded with girth, but he’s a versatile one - strong and athletic, he can line up at any position up front and he finishes his blocks. The Horned Frogs also picked up a recent commitment from Brannon Brown, who has a lot of the tools desired in a lineman, but he could stand to add a little more of an edge to his game.
A commitment from Catalon would be a huge recruiting win for TCU, which would effectively snatch him away from the likes of Clemson and Texas. As a local prospect, Catalon continues to visit TCU, and he was on campus most recently for the Frogs' spring game.
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Total commits: 4
Highest-ranked commitment: Jordan Whittington
Top uncommitted target: Kenyon Green
After an extraordinary 2018 signing class, Texas hasn’t been quite so quick to pull in so many 2019 recruits thus far. That being said, the players that have committed make for a nice group. Whittington is a borderline five-star talent who will provide the Longhorns with a different sort of player than most teams have ever had as a slot receiving option, and recent commit De’Gabriel Floyd has the talent to give the signees from last year’s class a run for their money when it comes to earning reps.
Green would be a strong pickup, even though Texas rallied to sign some quality offensive linemen late in the last cycle. Without a ton of top-end talent in Texas along the offensive front, getting a commitment from Green would give a huge lift to the roster and be another show of in-state recruiting prowess.
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Total commits: 2
Highest-ranked commitment: Steven Parker
Top uncommitted target: Jacob Zeno
Parker has been committed to the Red Raiders since last summer and seems to remain firm in that commitment even though a couple of other offers have found their way to him. Should he stay with Texas Tech, he would be its highest-ranked defensive player in recent memory and give a major boost to a program in perpetual need of playmakers on that side of the ball.
Recruiting and signing receivers has never been an issue for Kliff Kingsbury and his staff, but finding a top-flight quarterback would be a welcome addition to this class - and it seems like Zeno could be that player. With a tough depth chart to compete with at Georgia and a recent QB commitment to Florida, Tech finds itself in a nice spot with a passer that has been lighting up the camp circuit this spring.
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Total commits: 5
Highest-ranked commitment: Lee Kpogba
Top uncommitted target: Saleem Wormley
West Virginia has a nice commit in the bag to start its class with in Kpogba. The Mountaineers still have work to do, but considering that Wormley currently only holds offers from programs that the Mountaineers can be confident in recruiting against, adding him in the class would be a big addition. The Delaware four-star defensive end took a visit to Morgantown at the end of last month, so continuing to add defensive pieces of those players’ caliber would be a big help to a unit that has shown to be an improving group in the last few seasons.
Outside of Kpogboa, there aren’t too many other commitments that may drastically move the needle when it comes to the perception of the Mountaineers’ class at the moment. They finished with a sub-Top 30 recruiting class in 2018, and are hovering in the same spot right now with the summer approaching.
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