S John Bonney (Houston/Lamar)
ESPN 300 rank: N/A Bonney would like to make his decision before the beginning of his season, and the Bears are definitely going to be in contention for his pledge. While Bonney has denied reports of the Bears being his favorite, they are one of the teams he is seriously considering because of his long-standing relationship with Baylor head coach Art Briles, which goes back to Briles’ days at Houston. Bonney and his family recently concluded a two-week road trip to several programs around the country, which might have given schools like Oklahoma State and Ohio State more than a puncher’s chance. He also visited Oklahoma, Northwestern and Louisville.
RB Jeff Jones (Minneapolis /Washburn)
ESPN 300 rank: N/A The three-star recruit has been committed to Minnesota since Feb. 2, but the general consensus remains that this one is far from over. The Cyclones are in the mix along with in-state rival Iowa and Michigan State. ISU would be in OK shape if it didn’t get Jones to switch. It does have commitments from Tommy Mister (Chicago/Saint Rita) and Martinez Syria (Houston/Nimitz), the No. 81 and No. 91 RBs overall, respectively. But getting someone like Jones in the same class as ESPN 300 wide receiver Allen Lazard (Urbandale, Iowa/Urbandale) would be a huge haul for Paul Rhoads.
Peyton Newell (Hiawatha, Kan./Hiawatha)
ESPN 300 rank: N/A With only seven commitments, the Jayhawks are still looking to fill needs at virtually every position. Getting Newell to stay close to home would go a long way toward filling KU’s defensive tackle needs. Newell will announce his decision between Kansas, Kansas State, Nebraska and South Carolina on Aug. 30 at his high school. The Cornhuskers are considered the favorite.
Emanuel Beal (Powder Springs, Ga./Hillgrove)
ESPN 300 rank: N/A There are few programs in the country hotter right now than Bill Snyder’s Wildcats. They’ve absolutely taken off with seven commitments since July 27. Beal is one more they certainly wouldn’t mind getting. Beal, the No. 122 WR overall, would join a class that already includes WR’s T.L. Ford (Cartersville, Ga./Carterville), Tyler Ahrens (Kerrville, Texas/Tivy) and Dominique Heath (Blue Springs, Mo./Blue Springs). Kansas State also needs offensive linemen and has offered several junior college prospects.
S Steven Parker (Jenks, Okla./Jenks)
ESPN 300 rank: 237 The No. 5 player in the state, Parker recently took in an Oklahoma practice, which really seemed to solidify the Sooners as perhaps the top contender for his commitment. Alabama and Texas A&M are OU’s primary competition. Getting Parker in the same class as three-star safety Vontre McQuinnie (Lancaster, Texas/Lancaster) would be huge for Bob Stoops. Running back Joe Mixon (Oakley, Calif./Freedom) would be the other choice here, though, OU already has ESPN 300 RB Samaje Perine (Pflugerville, Texas/Hendrickson).
ILB Josh Mabin (Spring, Texas/Klein Oak)
ESPN 300 rank: N/A The Cowboys did not take a linebacker in 2013 so the importance of getting several in for 2014 can’t be overstated. They are off to a good start with ESPN 300 outside linebacker Gyasi Akem (Broken Arrow, Okla./Broken Arrow) and three-star OLB Justin Phillips (Pearland, Texas/Pearland). But getting someone like Mabin to be the central force in the middle of that defense would be nice. Oklahoma State has some work to do to get him with LSU and Texas A&M in hot pursuit.
ESPN 300 rank: 121 With three commitments, the Horned Frogs are in good position as far as offensive linemen go. But they could really put a bow on this class with the commitment of Smith (6-foot-6, 285 pounds), the No. 121 overall player, the No. 7 OG in the country and the top player in Kansas.
The Horned Frogs have a leg up on the competition since Smith’s sister, Megan, throws the shot put for the Horned Frogs. But Alabama is lurking as is Texas A&M. If not Smith, Bonney would be the choice here.
S Jamal Adams (Lewisville, Texas/Hebron)
ESPN 300 rank: 25 You could go with a few players here -- Tony Brown (Beaumont, Texas/Ozen) and Solomon Thomas (Coppell, Texas/Coppell) to name a few -- but Adams gets the nod because of his ability to play both cornerback and safety. Not only would he be an instant-impact candidate for Texas but it would also be a bragging rights victory over Texas A&M, a program Adams has grown fond of over the last few months. Florida is presumed to be the leader here even though Adams hasn’t said so publicly.
Silvester Hayes (Dallas/South Oak Cliff)
ESPN 300 rank: N/A The Red Raiders, surprise, surprise, are stocked with offensive playmakers. Not so much with defensive players. Of their 17 commitments, only five are on defense. That’s why getting someone like Hayes would be so important. He’d be the first linebacker to commit to Kliff Kingsbury. He’d also be the second defensive commitment from Dallas-Fort Worth, which will be an important battleground for the new Texas Tech staff.
Edward Muldrow (Wesson, Miss./Copiah-Lincoln C.C.)
ESPN 300 rank: N/A The Mountaineers already have ESPN 300 OLB Davonte James (Springfield, Ohio/Springfield) on board. But getting someone like Muldrow would be a huge pick up for WVU. Right now the Mountaineers are in good position for his verbal pledge as he will take an official visit on Aug. 31 for their home opener. Oregon and Tennessee are his other top schools.