Rivals.com analyst Brian Perroni ranks the Big 12's 2012 recruiting classes by position.
Big 12's best by position
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TCU, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Texas all signed four-star passers but the Horned Frogs had the highest-ranked one in U.S. Army All-American Tyler Matthews. TCU also signed a second quarterback in Austin Aune. The Sooners, Cowboys and Longhorns all finished in a tie for second after signing Trevor Knight, Wes Lunt and Connor Brewer, respectively.
Texas Tech signed one of the top pro-style prospects in its home state in Clayton Nicholas while Kansas State received a potential steal out of the state of Nebraska in Tavarius Bender. Iowa State had two signees in Luke Knott and Grant Rohach but Kansas could end up being the biggest winner in the end with two players that did not count toward the rankings in transfers Dayne Crist and Jake Heaps.
Even though Texas just signed one running back in the class it was enough to put the Horns on top at the position because Johnathan Gray is a five-star prospect and the No. 1 back in the country. Oklahoma finished No. 2 behind Under Armour All-American Alex Ross and perhaps a huge steal in junior college star Damien Williams.
TCU signed two solid prospects in LaDarius Anthony and B.J. Catalon, with the latter being one of the biggest risers in the final rankings. Iowa State and Oklahoma State decided to pass on running backs in this class.
Oklahoma signed the top class not only in the conference but in the entire country, and it was not even close. Five-star prep prospect Trey Metoyer is already enrolled in school while four-star Army All-Americans Durron Neal and Derrick Woods both have plenty of speed. Sterling Shepard was an Under Armour All-American and the No. 1 prospect in Oklahoma while four-star junior college prospect Courtney Gardner was a big steal from Arkansas on signing day.
Texas Tech also signed an impressive class of four receivers led by Army All-American and Rivals250 prospect Reginald Davis. Kansas State, Texas, Oklahoma State and Baylor each signed a four-star prospect at the position as well. TCU's lone receiver signee, Deante' Gray, was a late flip from Stanford but is actually likely to play in the secondary.
It was a down year at the position in the Big 12 region and only five teams actually signed a tight end in the class of 2012. Oklahoma signed four, though, including Army All-American Taylor McNamara out of California. TCU was the only other school to grab a four-star prospect in Griffin Gilbert and also added one of the more intriguing prospects in the class in Gerren Ballard.
Oklahoma State reeled in the top junior college prospect at the position in Blake Jackson as well as Zac Veatch, who could also possibly end up at defensive end. Kansas also signed both a junior college prospect and a high school prospect in Charles Brooks and Jordan Smith, respectively, while Kansas State grabbed Cody Small out of Texas.
Texas signed four offensive linemen and all were ranked as four-star prospects. The best of the bunch are tackle Kennedy Estelle and guard Curtis Riser, both Rivals100 prospects and Under Armour All-Americans. The Longhorns also took a rare junior college prospect in Donald Hawkins. Oklahoma also signed four linemen with three being four-star prospects. Will Latu was the top junior college tackle while John Michael McGee and Ty Darlington were both Army All-Americans.
Texas Tech signed one of the top tackles in Texas in Trey Keenan as well as the No. 3 center in the state, Jared Kaster. Oklahoma State signed four offensive linemen while Kansas, TCU and Iowa State each inked three.
Like Oklahoma with offensive linemen, Texas signed the nation's No. 1 defensive tackle crop. The Longhorns signed a five-star in Malcom Brown and a four-star in Paul Boyette Jr.. Alex Norman was an Under Armour All-American while Brandon Moore is a very good junior college prospect. No other team in the Big 12 even signed a single four-star defensive tackle.
Kansas State finished No. 2 as the Wildcats signed four tackles with junior college prospect Wesley Hollingshed having the potential to be an immediate contributor. Anthony Smith and J.J. Lollar for Texas Tech are both a bit undersized but both are also incredibly strong and quick. Oklahoma did not sign a defensive tackle in the class.
Baylor finished at the top of the position by signing Rivals100 prospect and Army All-American Javonte Magee in addition to three-star prospects Dominique Banks and Jamal Palmer. Despite not signing a four-star end, Oklahoma finished No. 2 with three prospects at the position in Chaz Nelson, Michael Onuoha and Charles Tapper.
Texas, Texas Tech and TCU each signed four-star defensive end in Hassan Ridgeway, Michael Starts and Devonte Fields, respectively. Ridgeway and Starts were Army All-Americans while Fields played in the Under Armour game. Kansas State did not sign a defensive end in this class.
Texas signed five linebackers, including three four-star prospects, to finish No. 2 in the country at the position. Torshiro Davis, a signing day steal from LSU, could actually end up playing end but was an Army All-American at linebacker, as was Timothy Cole. Peter Jinkens and Dalton Santos played in the Under Armour game.
Led by Army All-American Brian Nance, Baylor finished second in the conference at the position while Oklahoma State got a big signing day commitment from four-star Seth Jacobs out of California. Oklahoma only signed one linebacker but it was a big one as Eric Striker was a Rivals250 prospect out of Florida.
Texas Tech went with sheer volume in the class, signing six members of the secondary. Three of them were junior college prospects while the Red Raiders managed to hold off other teams late for La'Darius Newbold. In stark contrast, Texas only signed two defensive backs but one was four-star corner and Under Armour All-American Bryson Echols.
Baylor also went with depth at the position, signing five defensive backs. The Bears beat out the likes of Oklahoma and Texas A&M for cornerback Ryan Reid. Rounding out the top five at the position are Oklahoma and Oklahoma State.
Again Texas leads the way by signing the nation's top class of athletes with five listed under the category. Kendall Sanders was the West MVP of the Army Bowl after picking off two passes while Rivals250 prospects Orlando Thomas and Daje Johnson are both incredibly fast and could play on either side of the ball. No other team in the conference signed more than two players listed as athletes.
Baylor, Iowa State and Oklahoma all finished tied for second with a pair of signees apiece. Baylor's top athlete was Terrence Singleton while Oklahoma held off Texas to keep Daniel Brooks in the fold. Iowa State did the same with Missouri to get the signature of Damien Lawry.
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