Thursday, February 6, 2014
Top 2015 targets: Big 12
By Damon Sayles
A very hectic national signing day has come and gone, but recruiting doesn’t stop after Feb. 5. College coaches now have quickly turned their focus away from the 2014 class and toward the 2015 class.
There are several players in the 2015 class with the potential of signing a national letter of intent to play in the Big 12 around this time next year. Here are five athletes to keep an eye on:
Jalin Barnett, No. 10 in the ESPN Junior 300, has offers from Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Texas Tech.
1. OG Jalin Barnett (Lawton, Okla./Lawton) At 6-foot-4, 315 pounds, Barnett is a physically imposing specimen. He’s also quite the versatile lineman, lining up at tackle for his high school but considered the nation’s top-ranked offensive guard prospect for the 2015 class. Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Texas Tech have offered, and it appears that the Sooners have an early lead in the recruiting race. Barnett is ranked No. 10 in the ESPN Junior 300, but a strong spring and summer could give him a boost in the next rankings update.
2. CB Kendall Sheffield (Missouri City, Texas/Marshall) The term “shutdown cornerback” is thrown around a lot in football, but Sheffield makes it a priority to be just that. Ranked No. 13 in the ESPN Junior 300, Sheffield has conference offers from Baylor, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, TCU, Texas and Texas Tech. Sheffield is the top-ranked player in the state of Texas, and he’s the No. 2 cornerback in the country behind ESPN Junior 300 Kevin Toliver (Jacksonville, Fla./Trinity Christian Academy).
3. QB Jarrett Stidham (Stephenville, Texas/Stephenville) It wasn’t long ago when Stidham was a wide receiver. Now, he is the nation’s top-ranked junior dual-threat quarterback. Stidham, No. 24 in the ESPN Junior 300, has Big 12 offers from Baylor, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, TCU, Texas and Texas Tech. Baylor is a team to watch, as coach Art Briles has strong Stephenville ties. Look for Stidham to compete for an Elite 11 national spot when the time comes.
4. LB Malik Jefferson (Mesquite, Texas/Poteet) Since his sophomore year, as a varsity starter, Jefferson has been a player to watch. Jefferson has evolved into one of the nation’s elite outside linebackers. Ranked No. 43 in the ESPN Junior 300 and the No. 4 outside linebacker in the country, Jefferson has Big 12 offers from Baylor, Oklahoma, TCU, Texas and Texas Tech. His offer list has hit 20, and it’s possible that he could double that by the start of his senior year.
5. WR DaMarkus Lodge (Cedar Hill, Texas/Cedar Hill) Being the nation’s No. 5 wide receiver has its perks, and schools like Baylor, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, TCU, Texas and Texas Tech all have taken notice so far. Lodge is a special kind of receiver who has size, speed and toughness, but more importantly, his focus each day is to improve. Ranked No. 44 in the ESPN Junior 300, Lodge has bypassed a couple of junior days to put in weekend work at skills clinics. He’s a workout warrior striving to be the best receiver possible.