Friday, January 24, 2014
Key recruiting visits -- Big 12
By Damon Sayles
With less than two weeks remaining until national signing day, every official visit is huge -- for the athlete and for the program. Some schools are in need of elite athletes more than others.
Here are 10 names to keep an eye on as they take their official visits to Big 12 schools:
1. ATH Lorenzo Joe (Abilene, Texas/Cooper)
A two-hour trek eastbound to Fort Worth is making some Longhorns fans wonder -- and, perhaps, worry. Joe, an ESPN 300 athlete, has been committed to Texas since August 2012, but with the coaching transition from Mack Brown to Charlie Strong, Joe has checked out other options just to make sure Texas is the place for him. Look for TCU to roll the red -- or purple -- carpet out for him.
Ohio State commit Demetrius Knox was once committed to Texas. Could the Longhorns sway the ESPN 300 OL back to Austin?
This official visit may or may not happen. While multiple reports have the ESPN 300 offensive lineman headed to Austin this weekend, Knox has confirmed with ESPN that he is 50-50 with the decision of making the trip. Knox, a U.S. Army All-American, was once a Texas pledge but decommitted in April and flipped to Ohio State in July. Knox, however, has a great relationship with new Texas offensive coordinator Joe Wickline.
Parker is scheduled to take an official visit Stillwater this weekend -- emphasis on “scheduled.” The ESPN 300 safety and Semper Fidelis All-American said he wants to take the trip, but he won’t know until late if that will actually happen. Jenks is roughly an hour away from Stillwater, and he’s visited the campus; plus, Parker’s father played for Oklahoma State. Still, an official visit would give the Cowboys an idea of how interested Parker really is.
4. ILB Kenny Young (River Ridge, La./John Curtis)
Visiting: Oklahoma State
Young visited Texas A&M last week and just finished a visit to Arkansas. The four-star prospect and U.S. Army All-American is a hot commodity -- and rightfully so, as he plays as if every minute is his last. Oklahoma State could use a player like Young quarterbacking its defense, but Texas A&M, Arkansas, UCLA and LSU all are very much alive in the recruiting race.
5. OT Yodny Cajuste (Hollywood, Fla./Miramar)
Visiting: West Virginia
At 6-foot-5 and 275 pounds, Cajuste is a physical, athletic lineman who several programs are high on. Florida is in the race along with West Virginia, but this official visit to Morgantown could seal the deal for an athlete that Dana Holgorsen and the coaching staff believe has tons of potential.
6. DT Chris Nelson (Lakeland, Fla./Victory Christian)
When Charlie Strong left for the head coaching job at Texas, Nelson, then a Louisville commit, decided to part ways with the Cardinals. Texas should feel good about Nelson not only driving to Austin for the official visit but also having the three-star lineman visit during his birthday weekend. The Longhorns are in need of defensive tackles, and Nelson could be a big asset.
7. DB Kirk Tucker (Tucker, Ga./Tucker)
Visiting: Oklahoma State
A three-star athlete and former Stanford commit, Tucker could be a major sleeper in the Big 12. He’s a big fan of Oklahoma State, and his official visit this weekend will give the Cowboys a chance to land a big safety who can also play outside linebacker at the next level. Oklahoma State will have to fight Vanderbilt for his services, but the Cowboys feel good about their chances.
West Virginia could use a couple more defensive linemen in its 2014 class, and Whitehead is the kind of player who can come in immediately and earn playing time. At 6-foot-5 and 225 pounds, Whitehead makes for a solid pass rusher. West Virginia is his only scheduled official visit, but he also has Marshall and Georgia Tech high on his list.
9. CB Kiante Walton (Columbus, Ga./Carver)
Visiting: Kansas State
Walton, a slightly under-the-radar cornerback, committed to Appalachian State last month, but he has an opportunity to play BCS football with Kansas State, Missouri and BYU. Walton likes what Kansas State has to offer, but he has been taking his time with recruiting. Can the Wildcats say and do enough to make him want to end his process?
Normally, a 2017 prospect taking an unofficial visit wouldn’t garner much interest. Moses, however, isn’t the average 2017 prospect. With double-digit offers, Moses is committed to LSU, but his father on Thursday tweeted that he will be in Waco for Baylor’s junior day. This could be a good chance for the Bears to get in good with Moses and set the stage to possibly flip the 6-2, 219-pound freshman in years to come.