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Tuesday, January 14, 2014
Updated ESPN 300: Big 12 analysis

By Damon Sayles

Some top prospects headed to Big 12 schools rose in the new ESPN 300, and others fell. While one athlete saw one of the biggest jumps in recent history, a few watched their stocks plummet.

Fortunately for many Big 12 commits, the stocks rose and the expectations are high. Here are five athletes who are committed to a school in the conference or are a high target.

DB Parker makes huge leap in rankings

One look at Steven Parker II (Jenks, Okla./Jenks) during the Semper Fidelis All-American Bowl, and it’s clear to see that whatever school lands him will get a star in the making. Parker, who rose an impressive 61 spots in the ESPN 300 from 200 to 139, was extremely active in the bowl game and his play epitomized what he’s done all year as a high school senior.

Parker, who has Oklahoma, Texas A&M, Auburn and several other schools high on his list, is one of those players who could excel at multiple skill positions. Although listed as a safety, Parker can play wide receiver and cornerback effectively. The 6-foot-2, 175-pound athlete also can help out on special teams.

Kansas OL commit Bragg making moves

The improvement in the national ranking for ESPN 300 interior offensive lineman Jacob Bragg (Nacogdoches, Texas/Nacogdoches) has been gradual yet continuous. The nation’s No. 3 center and a Kansas commit, Bragg jumped from 254 to 228 in the ESPN 300. At 6-4 and 314 pounds, Bragg held his own at the Under Armour All-America Game.

Bragg committed to Kansas in June, and he’s the program’s top-ranked offensive pledge. Bragg has the tools to be a breakout interior lineman for the Jayhawks, someone who could quietly become one of the Big 12’s best players in a couple of years.

Joe Mixon
Joe Mixon is heading to Oklahoma.
Oklahoma-bound RB Mixon skyrockets

Joe Mixon (Oakley, Calif./Freedom) has been nothing short of impressive, particularly in the last couple of months. Mixon had a solid outing at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl, and during the game verbally committed to play for Oklahoma.

Mixon rose from No. 72 to No. 53 in the ESPN 300, and there are many who believe he’s a top-25 or top-30 athlete. The 6-1, 209-pound running back will have a chance to show his worth in a program loaded with talented running backs. Don’t be surprised if Mixon excels.

Respect for Oklahoma State pledge Brailford

How do you earn respect? Ask defensive end/outside linebacker hybrid Jordan Brailford (Tulsa, Okla./Booker T. Washington), who went from being a high three-star to an ESPN 300 player. Brailford, who cracked the list at No. 300, put on a show at the Semper Fidelis All-American Bowl, often looking like a one-man wrecking crew in the first half.

Brailford, an Oklahoma State commit, now is the No. 8 player in the state of Oklahoma after being No. 10. He has offers from Baylor, Kansas State, Texas Tech, Washington State, Tulsa and others, but Brailford, at 6-3 and 220 pounds, is preparing to be a major contributor for the Oklahoma State defense.

Baylor WR pledge Zamora sees spike

The more people saw ESPN 300 wide receiver Ishmael Zamora (Houston/Alief Elsik) on the field, the more intriguing he was. Baylor was high on Zamora long before he became an ESPN 300 wide receiver. Now, Zamora is ranked 14 spots better than before and he’s ready to put in work for Art Briles and the Bears’ coaching staff.

At 6-4 and 201 pounds, Zamora possesses the size, strength and athleticism that makes him a definite player to watch. It’s his ceiling for success, however, that keeps Baylor smiling. If Zamora improves the way Baylor expects him to, he could be one of the most dangerous receivers in the Big 12.