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Tuesday, October 29, 2013
Big 12 ESPN 300 analysis

By Damon Sayles


With the release of the latest ESPN 300, some players saw jumps while others took slight falls. And then there were some, such as one particular Houston wide receiver still looking to make a name for himself as a varsity football player, who saw their rankings skyrocket.

Here’s an update on some of the highs and lows of players either committed to, targeted by or living near Big 12 programs:

Steven Parker
ESPN 300 defensive back Steven Parker has ties to both Oklahoma and Oklahoma State. Will Bedlam be the deciding factor for his commitment?
Who's rising: ATH Davion Hall (Texarkana, Texas/Liberty-Eylau) had one of the biggest jumps of all the ESPN 300 players, rising 30 spots from No. 75 to No. 45. A Baylor commit, Hall’s versatility alone makes him an outstanding prospect and a solid get for the Bears. DE Myles Garrett (Arlington, Texas/Martin) is the highest-ranked player in the Midlands Region, and he moved up two spots from No. 7 to No. 5. Garrett recently committed to Texas A&M, but he also had TCU high on his list. The Horned Frogs are hoping he’ll have a change of heart, but it isn’t likely.

Who's falling: Oklahoma State CB commit Chris Hardeman (Houston/Alief Taylor), who was No. 285, has fallen out of the ESPN 300 but could return with solid performances. Injuries, unfortunately, are a part of the game, and rankings are affected when an athlete is sidelined. Two of the Midlands Region’s best, QB David Cornwell (Norman, Okla./North) and CB Cedric Collins (Dallas/Skyline), both saw their rankings take a fall. Cornwell, an Alabama commit, slipped from No. 32 to No. 43 after suffering a season-ending knee injury earlier this month. Collins, a Texas A&M commit, hasn’t played all season because of injury. He is now unranked after being No. 219.

New entrant: Perhaps the biggest riser of all was WR Frank Iheanacho (Houston/Westside), who went from a virtual unknown to ranked No. 89 in the ESPN 300. At 6-foot-7 and 220 pounds, Iheanacho is a basketball player-turned-football prospect, and he has the attention of several top BCS programs. Texas A&M, Florida State, Arkansas, LSU and several others have offered Iheanacho, who is playing only his second year of high school ball. This is, however, his first true year of actually getting on the field. Iheanacho was on the varsity roster as a sophomore, declined to play to focus on basketball as a junior, but returned to the field to be with his senior teammates this season. His combination of length, athleticism and speed, plus the will to get better, makes him a dangerous receiver and a gem for one lucky college program.

Biggest game: When Oklahoma State hosts Oklahoma in the 2013 edition of Bedlam on Dec. 7, the game could decide where ESPN 300 DB Steven Parker (Jenks, Okla./Jenks) attends school. Parker, who rose from No. 237 to No. 200, has those two in-state schools and Texas A&M high on his list. While he won’t tip his hat just yet to where he’s leaning, he has ties with both Oklahoma and Oklahoma State. His grandfather played for Oklahoma; his father played for Oklahoma State. Additionally, he has a teammate, three-star safety Dylan Harding, who is verbally committed to the Cowboys. Whether or not that will play a factor is still to be determined.

Biggest question: Will Texas, which is currently undefeated in Big 12 play after a sloppy start to open the season, land one more big-time ESPN 300 prospect? Texas’ 1-2 start seemed to be a turn-off for several elite players, but its impressive run through conference opponents has made some players give the Longhorns a second look. Texas still feels strongly about where it stands with ESPN 300 players such as RB Dalvin Cook (Miami/Central), DE Solomon Thomas (Coppell, Texas/Coppell) and DBs Tony Brown (Beaumont, Texas/Ozen), Jamal Adams (Lewisville, Texas/Hebron) and Edwin Freeman (Arlington, Texas/Bowie).