football Edit

Big 12 Spotlight: Looking ahead to National Signing Day

National Signing Day Spotlights: Big Ten | SEC | ACC | Pac-12

CLASS OF '18 RANKINGS: Rivals250 | Team | State | Position | JUCO

Many of the teams in the Big 12 managed to lock up the majority of their recruiting classes during the Early Signing Period, but that doesn’t mean the job is done. In fact, with just a few spots left in several of the classes, the race is tighter than ever for a couple of top recruits down the stretch, and several teams are jockeying for a better position in the final rankings, with Texas and Oklahoma already firmly planted in the top 10.

BIGGEST OPPORTUNITY 

Jacoby Simpson
Jacoby Simpson

TCU could have a sneaky-good finish to its 2018 class, with a little bit of luck. The big fish for the Frogs would be Florida all-purpose back Jashaun Corbin, who took an official visit to TCU in mid-December. TCU has also been making waves recruiting the state of Louisiana, as evidenced by the way it lured Rivals100 quarterback Justin Rogers at the end of last spring. The Frogs are likely out of the picture with Rivals100 wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase, and perhaps that means Aaron Brule is out of the picture as well, but getting him would add a quality defensive player that could move around the defensive backfield. Lawrence Keys might be a player who could add another quick pass-catcher to the offense. More likely is the signing of high three-star inside linebacker Jacoby Simpson, a downhill guy that would help keep the Frogs' run defense stout. If TCU could somehow land defensive tackle Moro Ojomo, who has been one of Texas’ most sought-after recruits, that would be a major win.

BIGGEST TARGETS REMAINING

Moro Ojomo (left)
Moro Ojomo (left)

In addition to Jacoby Simpson, who is also considering Texas Tech, and Moro Ojomo, who could still be considering Oklahoma and Texas, there is an outside chance that five-star wide receiver Jaylen Waddle could make a surprise pick of the Longhorns as well. More likely, either Joshua Moore or Tommy Bush could be headed to Austin, but it’s very possible all three could go elsewhere. Alabama and Texas A&M are thought to be the favorites for Waddle, Oregon is a major player for Moore and a number of teams still making significant plays for Bush. Ta’Zhawn Henry is down to a final two of Texas Tech and Oregon State, and Shabazz Dotson could be in play for several Big 12 teams as well.

MOST COMFORTABLE 

Keondre Coburn
Keondre Coburn (Nick Lucero/Rivals.com)

The heavy lifting has been done for Texas, even though there may have been some nervousness that some of the class might stray following a six-win season on the heels of more hopeful predictions. Now, the Longhorns find themselves in play for a few more big-name targets, but those would essentially be icing on the cake. If Texas can land Ojomo and/or Christian Jones and one of the receivers discussed, all while holding on to Rivals250 prospects Keondre Coburn and Keaontay Ingram, the staff will have felt like it’s done its job and finished with a bang. Even if most of those players end up going elsewhere, this is the best class Texas has had in recent memory, and an accomplishment just the same.

GAINING MOMENTUM 

Ronnie Perkins
Ronnie Perkins (SoonerScoop.com/Josh McCuistion)

Even though Oklahoma has a full and strong recruiting class as it is - particularly with its lineman signees - two of the Sooners' top remaining targets could give Oklahoma one more boost. Rivals250 defensive lineman Michael Thompson is friendly with signee Ronnie Perkins, with both being from the St. Louis area. On the other side of the line, Alabama product Marcus Jenkins is seriously in play as well, and he would give Texas an interior lineman among a cast of others that project at tackle. Of course, if the Sooners landed Ojomo as well, that would leave Sooners fans and coaches very happy.

LOSING MOMENTUM 

Kliff Kingsbury
Kliff Kingsbury (AP Images)

Unless Texas Tech finishes with signings from Ta’Zhawn Henry, Jacoby Simpson and defensive tackle Otito Ogbonnia, this will end up being somewhat of a disappointing class for the Red Raiders. Kliff Kingsbury was clearly hurt by the speculation that he might not be the head coach heading into next season, had he not saved himself with a big win over Texas to end the season. Although he was able to grab four-star wide receiver Erik Ezukanma at the end of the season, it seems as though four-star wide receiver Gabriel Douglas will not be able to sign, leaving an unfulfilled feeling when it comes to what the potential of this offensive class could have been.

CONFERENCE CHAMPION

Texas looked to have that pretty well locked up following the Early Signing Period after landing a haymaker with Anthony Cook, in addition to seeing most of the rest of its class sign. Since then, Cook lost his fifth star, but safety Caden Sterns gained his, and the Longhorns remain at the top of the conference recruiting rankings and maintain an impressive top 5 class.