Signing Day Blitz: Ranking the Big 12
The Texas recruiting class, led by five-star running back Malcolm Brown, finished on top of the Big 12 and No. 3 nationally.
Check out the breakdown of the conference in a special edition of the Big 12 Blitz.
Headliner: Brandon Williams was one of two five-star prospects signed by the Sooners and has the makings of an elite running back. He will try to fill the shoes of senior DeMarco Murray.
Sleeper: Oklahoma flipped offensive tackle Nila Kasitati from Baylor on signing day and the athletic blocker could blossom in Norman.
Overview: The class was not a big one with only 17 signees. However, it addressed most of the needs of the team. A defensive line haul that includes Jordan Phillips, Marquis Anderson, Jordan Wade and Nathan Hughes is among the tops in the country. Five-star wide receiver Trey Metoyer will play early and Sooner coaches are showing they want an athletic running quarterback by signing dual-threat passer Kendal Thompson. Though Oklahoma convinced cornerback Bennett Okotcha to switch from Notre Dame at the last minute, the Sooners could have used more help in the secondary.
Headliner: Texas Tech signed the No. 3 tight end in the country in Jace Amaro and he should play early especially since the current roster lacks a player at the position.
Sleeper: Jakeem Grant was one of the smallest prospects in the state of Texas but the 5-foot-7, 157-pound receiver has incredible speed after the catch.
Overview: Tommy Tuberville put together perhaps the best class in school history. Tech did a solid job of landing top in-state prospects such as Amaro, Kenny Williams, Tony Morales and Derek Edwards but also had a lot of success out of state. Their signing day haul of four defensive ends was a big coup as they received commitments from Pennsylvania prospects Branden Jackson and Desimon Green as well as four-star Mississippi junior college prospect Leon Mackey in addition to switching Cooper Washington from Oklahoma. Defensive tackle was the one position the Red Raiders struggled with after losing both James Castleman and Jon Lewis to other programs near the end of the process.
Headliner: Joseph Cheek was an Army All-American offensive tackle that has the prototypical left tackle frame and NFL bloodlines.
Sleeper: Mike Evans was a basketball recruit until excelling on the football field playing for the first time as a senior. The 6-foot-5 athlete could be a big receiver for A&M.
Overview: Texas A&M struggled a bit in state as the highest-rated signee is No. 28 on the Texas Top 100 and finished outside of the Top 25 team rankings. They did manage to address some needs, though, especially in the secondary. Signing Rivals250 cornerback Floyd Raven after a bit of drama was a major coup and Devonta Burns is a big hitting safety. Rivals250 prospect Howard Matthews is a linebacker sized safety that has excellent coverage skills. The defensive line received a boost when end Brandon Alexander chose the Aggies on signing day over Texas. A&M is also hoping Shayvion Hatten can make the move from the offensive to defensive line. With Cyrus Gray graduating after this season, the Aggies could have used a difference maker at running back in the class.
Headliner: Rivals100 running back Herschel Sims is very similar to graduated starter Kendall Hunter and will have a chance to win the starting job.
Sleeper: Not much was known about Torrance Carr until the week of signing day. The 6-foot-3, 210-pound athlete could play linebacker or receiver.
Overview: Oklahoma State did a great job at the offensive skill positions. Rivals100 quarterback J.W. Walsh is one of the top dual-threat passers in the country and will be throwing to high school teammate Josh Stewart as well as Johnny Haynes and David Glidden. The Cowboys need defensive tackles and convinced James Castleman and Alex Villareal to switch from Texas Tech and Houston, respectively. They also signed a relative unknown at the position in Mike Mustafa. On the offensive line Michael Bowie and Josh Davis are both very athletic prospects.
Headliner: Running back Darrian Miller is the all-time leading rusher in the state of Missouri and has a chance to be a star in Lawrence.
Sleeper: Defensive end Michael Reynolds exploded on the scene late as schools saw him as very good pass rusher.
Overview: Despite a 3-9 season on the field, Turner Gill put together a solid class. In addition to Miller, the Jayhawks also signed four-star athlete Anthony Pierson, who could play receiver or cornerback. Kansas went to Gill's roots in the state of Texas and two defensive teammates in Ben Goodman and Collin Garrett as well as two top receivers in Marquis Jackson and JaCorey Shepherd. Junior college linebacker Tunde Bakare is one of the fastest prospects at the position and should play next season. Kansas may not be done as it is still working to get deep snapper Tanner Gibas on campus for a post signing day official visit.
Headliner: Rivals250 tackle Spencer Drango anchored perhaps the state's top offensive line this past season.
Sleeper: Cornerback JeMarcus Johnson did a little bit of everything for his small town high school and has the skill set to play in the Big 12.
Overview: Baylor had a big win by holding on to Drango as Texas made a late move to try and sway him. However, they lost offensive tackle Nila Kasitati to Oklahoma on signing day. LaQuan McGowan is a mammoth offensive tackle prospect as is Desmine Hilliard. Baylor went the junior college route for secondary help with David Whitmore, Josh Wilson and K.J. Morton. The Bears also got running back Jermichael Selders to switch from West Virginia on signing day and he should team with B.J. Allen to make a one-two punch in the backfield.
Headliner: Junior college defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson signed with the Tigers for the second time in three year and is already on campus.
Sleeper: Brandon Durant is an undersized linebacker that simply has a nose for the ball. He could possibly end up at safety.
Overview: Missouri had one of its toughest years on the recruiting trail but Tiger fans hope it is just an anomaly and not the norm. Though Richardson was the lone four-star signee, people in Columbia are excited about quarterback Corbin Berkstresser. Missouri signed three very good offensive linemen from Texas in Taylor Chappell, Michael Boddie and Brad McNulty. It also signed some versatile defensive backs in Cortland Browning and Ernest Payton, One concern is the linebacker signees as all three are undersized for the position with Kentrell Brothers being the biggest at 6-foot, 207 pounds.
Headliner: Running back DeVondrick Nealy is a speedster from Florida that is also a receiving threat out of the backfield.
Sleeper: Teddy Lampkin is a small but speedy slot receiver out of Nebraska that chose Iowa State over Kansas State.
Overview: Iowa State finished outside of the national Top 50 and did not sign a four-star prospect. In fact, Nealy was the only 5-7 rated three-star signee. The Cyclones did a good job of going to the recruiting hotbeds of Florida and Texas, though. Wide receiver Quenton Bundrage was a steal from the Sunshine State and quarterback Sam Richardson has a good arm. The Cyclones signed a corner out of Texas also named Sam Richardson who is short but has excellent ball skills and has a knack for blocking kicks and punts. Iowa State signed two defensive ends in Devin Lemke and David Irving but struck out on their defensive tackle targets.
Headliner: Oklahoma defensive end Hunter Davis chose the Wildcats late and is solid against both the pass and run.
Sleeper: Mike Moore played mostly defensive end in high school but is an excellent pass rusher who will play linebacker in Manhattan.
Overview: Once again Bill Snyder signed quite a few junior college prospects. There is hope that quarterback Justin Tuggle can come in and compete for the starting job next year. Defensive end Meshak Williams should play early on the defensive line but Kansas State also signed three good high school linemen in Samuel Harvill, Ian Seau and Lamonte Clark. The Wildcats did sign two players out of Dallas Skyline but did the worst job of the Big 12 in recruiting the state of Texas. The class may be able to do a stop gap job of filling some holes but, with all the junior college signees, there will be depth issues on the roster again in the near future.