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Wednesday, January 22, 2014
Big 12 class rankings analysis

By Damon Sayles

When it comes to Big 12 programs, Texas is still the top dog in the ESPN class rankings -- but for how long?

The Longhorns held on to the No. 13 spot nationally and the top spot in the conference, but Oklahoma is surging. The Sooners moved up to No. 16 and are hoping to gain more steam with two weeks remaining until national signing day.

Baylor remains in the top 20 at No. 18, and Oklahoma State dropped one spot, from No. 25 to No. 26. Texas Tech (No. 35) and West Virginia (No. 37) remain in the top 40. Here is a more in-depth look at the Big 12 class rankings:

Trending up: While Oklahoma continues to push Texas for the top spot in the conference rankings, Kansas is trying to inch closer toward the middle of the pack. The Jayhawks were in need of commits, and they finished last week with three in junior college defensive end Kapil Fletcher (Fort Lauderdale, Fla./Hartnell Community College), defensive tackle Daniel Wise (Carrollton, Texas/Hebron) and wide receiver Derrick Neal (Dallas/Lincoln), all three-star athletes. Kansas now has 16 commits, and there’s still time to fill a few more spots before Feb. 5.

Trending down: Iowa State has 22 commits, but recruiting has been slow since the start of the new year for the Cyclones. Things could change after this weekend, as three-star running back Michael Warren (Lawton, Okla./Lawton) and junior college defensive end Terry Ayeni (Toronto/New Mexico Military Institute) are among the official visitors looking for a home next season.

One to watch: Otaro Alaka (Houston/Cypress Falls) is committed to Texas, but the race for the ESPN 300 outside linebacker involves three teams -- Texas, Texas A&M and LSU. Alaka will have in-home and campus visits from both Texas and Texas A&M this week, and he will take an official visit to LSU on Friday. The next couple of days will be huge for Alaka, and they’ll be even bigger for the three schools looking to sign the player ranked No. 187 in the ESPN 300.

Bold prediction: With 16 commits, TCU has had a roller-coaster couple of weeks. Tuesday evening for the Horned Frogs started with a commitment from defensive end Chris Bradley (Shreveport, La./Evangel Christian), but it took a turn for the worse later that night when high three-star offensive lineman Ty Barrett (Dallas/Skyline), a very popular pledge, decommitted. Look for the Horned Frogs to finish on a high note and have more than 20 commits, including one or two four-star players.