By KEVIN LONNQUIST
Big 12 Insider
Not right now.
Typically, the Longhorns and Sooners are located somewhere in the Top 10 classes in the country. But 2013 National Signing Day on Wednesday saw only the Sooners struggle to make the top 15, while the Longhorns barely stayed in the top 25. Meanwhile Baylor enjoyed its most robust recruiting season in the history of recruiting services, while Big 12 newcomers TCU and West Virginia had solid classes.
According to Rivals, Oklahoma was the top-rated Big 12 school at 15 followed by Texas (23), West Virginia (24), Baylor (28), Oklahoma State (34), TCU (35), Kansas (44), Texas Tech (51), Iowa State (58) and Kansas State (67).
One reason for the lower rankings could be Texas A&M’s move to the SEC and opening the Texas doors to that conference. The Aggies finished 10th in the nation.
As for the highlights, Texas featured a small class of 15 led by Richardson Lake Highlands offensive lineman Kent Perkins and Whitewright quarterback Tyrone Swoopes (who enrolled in January). However, the Longhorns couldn’t secure a dominant defensive tackle.
Oklahoma’s class featured Colleyville Heritage quarterback Cody Thomas and Cy Ford running back Keith Ford. But Thomas’ future with the Sooners isn’t ironclad. He is considered a highly touted baseball prospect and if June’s first-year player draft put him in a good position, he could bolt.
For Baylor, the class received a major boost Tuesday when Waco defensive tackle Andrew Billings announced he would sign – and did – with the Bears and bypass offers from Texas and TCU. Finding a impacting defensive tackle has always been an issue for Art Briles program. The class also features Fort Worth Southwest wide receiver Robbie Rhodes.
TCU’s big find was Arlington Martin running back Kyle Hicks, who de-committed from Texas in December and switched to Gary Patterson’s program. Like Texas, TCU didn’t find an impact defensive tackle but found Temple quarterback Zach Allen, who switched from Syracuse.
Oklahoma State went into the Dallas-Fort Worth to re-stock at wide receiver and secured Marcel Ateman from Wylie East and Ra’Shaad Samples from Dallas Skyline.
Kansas’ pleasant surprise finish was due to coach Charlie Weis taking a risk and signing 15 junior college players in the mid-semester signing period in December and Wednesday. Obviously, Weis wants to put the program on a faster schedule. But a glut of JUCOs are risky because they can either bridge or ruin the foundation.
New Texas Tech coach Kliff Kingsbury had to scramble in the last two months to build the class and went the JUCO route and also secured kids from Georgia. Most notable was Prosper quarterback Davis Webb, who had enrolled in January.
West Virginia did most of its business on the East Coast, which is pretty standard. Like many Midwest schools, Iowa State continued to work through Texas and found six signees. Kansas State, which has never been one to care much for rankings, blended JUCOs and recruiting into Missouri and Texas to find its next batch.
While the Big 12 didn’t flood the first tier of recruiting classes, there’s always one thing each coach can sell his administration and fanbase: Hope.