NSD: Grading the Big 12 programs
The Early Signing Period has come and gone, as the foundations for each team's 2020 recruiting class begin to fall into place. Today, our focus shifts to the Big 12.
Oklahoma enters the new year with the highest-ranking 2020 haul at No. 12. Right behind them is archrival Texas, sitting at No. 21 overall, followed by West Virginia (No. 30), TCU (No. 36) and Kansas (No. 38).
Big 12: Team recruiting rankings
It's a bit of a head-scratcher how Baylor is in the basement of the Big 12 recruiting rankings at the end of this early signing window. However, the Bears hold only 12 players and there is plenty of room at the inn when February rolls around.
Matt Rhule is a coach that is enjoying success for his evaluations and player development, and in 2020, he landed a few blue-chippers that could really upgrade the roster. That includes four-stars Taye McWilliams and James Sylvester, as well as poaching three-star tight end Drake Dabney away from Arizona in the days leading up to the signing period.
Iowa State's 7-5 season was enough to earn Matt Campbell a new, lucrative extension and help the Cyclones to a top-40 recruiting class after the Early Signing Period. Twenty of the team's 21 commitments faxed in their letters of intent, including in-state three-star tackle Tyler Miller and three-star JUCO defensive lineman Latrell Bankston. With four or five spots still up for grabs in February, the Cyclones look like a safe bet to finish with a top-40 haul.
Kansas added a very impressive collection of big-bodied wide receivers that should help upgrade the talent at that position group heading into the 2020 season. Les Miles' Jayhawks were a little less successful with their other position groups, and in particular, the offensive line. Perhaps the biggest question mark about the class is the signature Kansas did not receive from Brennon Scott, the team's only four-star in the class. Scott has kept lines of communication open with Nebraska, Arkansas, Oregon and SMU, so there's room for some concern.
It was not only an active Early Signing Period for coach Chris Klieman, but the whole week was busy for adding some new pieces into the class before Wednesday's signing day.
The team added three-star cornerback Tee Denson out of Georgia; junior college defensive tackle Derick Newton re-committed to the Wildcats; three-star JUCO defensive end Kirmari Gainous popped and two-star tackle Witt Mitchum picked Kansas State over a pair of SEC teams.
Klieman secured signatures from 23 players, leaving five commitments waiting in the wings ahead of National Signing Day in February. The majority of Kansas State's class is in place -- and good for No. 42 in the country -- with some tough decisions on the horizon next month.
Oklahoma is piecing together the highest-ranked class in the Big 12, but the Early Signing Period was more of a glass-half-empty, glass-half-full situation. The team's highest-ranked commitment, Jase McClellan, was a last-minute flip to Alabama. The second-highest-rated commitment, Reggie Grimes, won't put the pen to paper until February. Still, the Sooners salvaged the day with a long-anticipated commitment from four-star cornerback Joshua Eaton. They also secured signatures from the top JUCO defensive tackle Perrion Winfrey and eight members of the Rivals250.
Eighteen of 19 Oklahoma State commitments faxed in their paperwork and are officially Cowboys. That includes the face of the 2020 class, RIvals250 quarterback Shane Illingworth out of Norco, Calif., along with three-star Texas cornerback Korie Black and three-star offensive linemen Eli Russ and Cade Bennett.
Only three-star cornerback Jabbar Muhammad remains committed, but not signed, and he has been committed for nearly two years and there's little to fret over on that front. Heading into February, the Cowboys have room to build on a top-50 group.
The 72-hour window prior to the Early Signing Period certainly provided a glimpse into what would eventually lead to fireworks on Dec. 18. Gary Patterson's Horned Frogs aced the early signing window beginning with the flip of Quentin Johnston, a Rivals100 wide receiver, away from Texas on the Monday night prior. Those flips kept coming on Wednesday as four-star Louisiana safety Bud Clark and three-star Louisiana defensive end Khari Coleman flipped from Virginia and Kansas, respectively. Pair those additions with Rivals250 tackle Garrett Hayes committing over Thanksgiving and it's a very impressive foundation now for TCU.
It was a relatively quiet Early Signing Period for the Longhorns. All 16 of the current commitments signed their paperwork, including Rivals250 signal-caller Hudson Card, who was rumored to be flirting with Georgia on the weekend right before the signing window. The biggest misses here were in the weeks leading up to the period. Rivasl100 receiver Quentin Johnston flipped to conference rival TCU and Ty Jordan flipped to Utah. Texas was able to pick up some slight momentum by flipping three-star linebacker Jaylan Ford away from Utah on Thursday, but you'd like to see more quality adds here.
In his first full recruiting cycle as the Red Raiders' head man, Matt Well's team inked 18 of the team's 20 commitments. That includes big pick-ups like three-star Loic Fouonji, which was a highly contested recruiting battle with SMU and Texas. Additionally, Ja'Lynn Polk and Tahj Brooks are quality in-state gets on the offensive side of the ball.
Two who didn't sign were three-star wide receiver Quin Bright, who announced he would sign in February, and three-star defensive end Philip Blidi, who still may be evaluating other options. With seven spots up for the taking, Texas Tech already boasts a class on the cusp of the top 40 and should ascend with the right dominos falling into place in February.
Neal Brown's first full recruiting class is certainly off to a much more encouraging start than last year's. West Virginia failed to sign a full class in 2019, a group that ranked No. 47 in the country. The Mountaineers received 18 of 19 signatures during the early signing window, including two from four-stars Chris Mayo and David Okoli. West Virginia also poached Georgia three-star Sam Brown away from UCF. Also impressive: Brown and Co. landed prospects from 10 different states and three different countries.