ESPN 300 prospect Holton Hill is one of only three elite cornerbacks remaining on the board in the 2015 class, and that means coaches are doing all they can to land his commitment.


Everything is bigger in Texas, including the recruiting battles.

Kyler Murray, the nation’s No. 13 overall player and top dual-threat quarterback, and ESPN 300 receiver DaMarkus Lodge took a surprise unofficial visit to Texas Wednesday, sending shockwaves through the Lone Star State. All involved had kept quiet about these plans until Murray and Lodge tweeted photos of Texas uniforms with their respective numbers on Wednesday afternoon.

The news of Murray, who completed his career at Allen High School with a perfect 43-0 record and three Texas state championships, visiting the Forty Acres is big enough by itself. But when you consider Murray has been committed to rival Texas A&M for more than seven months, news of the visit quickly mushroomed into one of the biggest recruiting headlines for the entire 2015 recruiting cycle.

The pursuit of Murray comes at a time when Jim Harbaugh and Michigan are attempting to flip the Longhorns' lone quarterback commit, Zach Gentry. Murray did take an official visit to Oklahoma during the season. He took his official to Texas A&M last weekend. Charlie Strong has said Texas needs to take two quarterbacks for its class. ESPN 300 athlete Kai Locksley, a Florida State quarterback commit, is scheduled to visit Texas this weekend.

Texas was once the leader for Lodge while Mack Brown was head coach, but the nation's No. 57 prospect committed to Texas A&M last summer. He backed out of that commitment and just took his official visit to College Station with Murray last weekend. Lodge is expected to take his official to Ole Miss on Friday.

The odds of landing both in a signing day stunner probably aren't great, but Strong and the Longhorns at least got their chance on Wednesday to show Murray and Lodge what Texas has to offer and put a little pressure on their recruiting rival.
Tuesday was a busy day on the recruiting trail with head coaches and assistants earning frequent flyer miles with national signing day only 15 days away. The headliner on Tuesday was No. 2-ranked Terry Beckner Jr. and a visit from Florida State.


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ESPN 300 receiver Van Jefferson is no longer committed to Georgia and the news was definitely disappointing for the Dawgs. So who’s in the driver’s seat now for the one of the best receivers in the country?


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Big 12 Tuesday mailbag

January, 20, 2015
Jan 20
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Questions from Austin, Texas, dominate Tuesday's mailbag (come on Big 12, are you really going to let Longhorn nation run this thing?) as inquires about replacing Malcom Brown and finding a quarterback remain hot topics. As always, thanks for your questions. To submit questions for next week's mailbag, click here.

Lillian Sims in Austin, Texas, writes: With Malcom Brown entering the NFL Draft early, and huge talent on the defense graduating, who do you think will make a big difference on defense next year for the Longhorns?

Brandon Chatmon: As crazy as it sounds I think Hassan Ridgeway (six sacks, 9.5 tackles for loss in 2014) can step right into the void left by Brown. Longhorns fans should be more concerned about who steps into Ridgeway’s complementary role in 2015. There are good options like Poona Ford and Paul Boyette Jr. who could fit the bill in the defensive interior. As far as general playmakers for Charlie Strong’s defense, safety Jason Hall stands out as someone who could become a star on the Longhorns' defense in 2015.


Scott in Lafayette writes: I will immediately admit that I am biased; but is Marcus Mariota really that much better than Bryce Petty? Do you think Petty warrants a first round pick or is Mariota overrated? Or is the talent gap really that much between the two?

BC: Let me preface this by saying I’m not an NFL draft expert but I don’t think Mariota is overrated at all. I also don’t think Bryce Petty is that far behind. Petty may not end up being a first-round pick but I think he will have a successful NFL career and become a starter at the next level. His accuracy and leadership should help him have success on Sundays, in a league in need of quality quarterbacks. He may not be a first-round pick and, while that hurts his pocketbook, I don’t think it will keep him from developing into a NFL quarterback.


Tommy in Austin, Texas, writes: I know there is a lot of talk about the Big 12 having "One True Champion" and Baylor fans bring up the head-to-head win and TCU fans bring up the better non-conference schedule and not losing to West Virginia. So, if the point is to get our Big 12 champion into the playoff then don't we want that team held in the highest regard by the committee? So why not use the last ranking by the committee as the tie breaker if 2-3 teams end with the same conference record?

BC: If three teams end up tied, that is the tiebreaker. With two teams it should be the head-to-head winner. Co-champions should be a thing of the past. I understand why the Big 12 commish played his hand like he did in December, and it could have turned out to be a genius move, but the head-to-head winner should always win a tiebreaker in that scenario. I’m uncertain about the committee doing it all based off the drastic difference in the second-to-last poll and the final poll this time around. I’m not sure a clear and defined champion between Baylor and TCU would have changed the final result this year. The message Big 12 teams received is don’t leave your destiny in the hands of others (Florida State didn't, got rewarded, then got run off the field in the Rose Bowl Game Presented by Northwestern Mutual).


Raymond in Dallas writes: With all the recent success with Redshirt Freshman QB's, why don't people give Jerrod Heard a chance on the field before talking about UT still not having an elite QB?

BC: I think the short answer is this: Tyrone Swoopes started 11 games with Heard on campus. I don’t really agree with that line of thinking but it explains why some people might be quick to write off Heard. I’ve always said I felt like Heard was the answer and nothing has made me stray from that thinking. I’m willing to sit back and see what he brings to the table but I think we all know Texas won’t reach new levels under Strong without finding an answer at quarterback.


Tom in Austin, Texas, writes: I think Ohio State's victory with a third-string QB was an excellent case study in how useful a good offensive line can be (without minimizing Cardale Jones' accomplishments, of course). How long before Joe Wickline can fix Texas's O-line?

BC: It needs to happen this year and I think it can happen this year. Part of the problem along the UT offensive line in 2014 was limited numbers and lack of competition. The Longhorns currently have six offensive linemen on the commit list, meaning Wickline is starting to get his guys in his meeting room. The more that happens, the more successful that unit will be under Wickline. I’d be surprised if it's not a much improved group in 2015.


Mark in Georgetown, Texas writes: Has Bob Stoops won his last Big 12 title?

BC: No. It is time to stop questioning Bob Stoops and start recognizing that the Big 12 is much improved. Many have questioned Stoops' desire with OU’s recent stumbles but I think he sent a message with his decision to part ways with former offensive coordinator Josh Heupel, which could not have been an easy one. You can question certain ways Stoops runs the program and how he goes about trying to win a Big 12 title and get in the national title conversation but I don’t think you can question Stoops' will to win.

Recruit breakdown: OLB Jeffery Holland 

January, 20, 2015
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video What he brings: ESPN 300 No. 46 overall Jeffery Holland has a big, thick frame and plenty of explosive force and power. He is physically ready to make the jump to the college level, and while a strong downhill run stopper, his best asset may be his disruptive blitzing ability on third down. The Under Armour All-American can close and attack vertically as good as any player in this class but will have to find the right defensive scheme to continue that production at the college level. We feel he fits best as an outside linebacker in a 3-4 scheme that frees him up to pressure.


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Underclassmen to watch in the Big 12

January, 20, 2015
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You already know all about young bucks like Samaje Perine, Mason Rudolph, Patrick Mahomes and Baker Mayfield, so we will spare you the more obvious rising stars of the Big 12. Instead, here’s a closer look at 10 underclassmen worth watching in 2015.

Baylor WR Davion Hall: When you are as stacked at receiver as Baylor was last season, somebody is bound to be the odd man out. Once Big 12 play got going, that was Hall. The true freshman put up 13 catches for 192 yards and a touchdown in non-conference play, but caught two balls the rest of the season. Departing seniors Antwan Goodley, Levi Norwood and Clay Fuller accounted for one-third of all Baylor completions. Hall’s share should be going up soon.

Iowa State OT Jake Campos: We haven’t forgotten about Allen Lazard, Kamari Cotton-Moya or the rest of the young Cyclones. But Campos deserves credit. He was thrown into a tough spot, forced to fill in as a starter for 11 games this season because of injuries. Asking a redshirt freshman to handle right tackle and then moving him to left tackle is quite a challenge, and Campos handled it as best he could. The experience will help in 2015.

Kansas LB Kyron Watson: It’s easy to trust the guy Ben Heeney has selected as his successor. The top backup at middle linebacker this season, Watson played in 11 games as a reserve and on special teams. Heeney took the former top-150 recruit under his wing last season and taught him plenty. You can’t teach Watson’s athleticism. Watch out for him.

Kansas State LB Elijah Lee: He wowed right away for K-State as a true freshman, racking up a KSU freshman record 4.5 sacks. Along the way, he steadily worked to prove he’s ready to be an every-down player. Lee’s athleticism and maturity make him a major asset, and one of the league’s better young defenders.

Oklahoma RB Joe Mixon: No Big 12 underclassman will face more attention and scrutiny in 2015, right? Mixon is on track to be reinstated after his season-long suspension. He has maintained good behavior and is out to prove he deserved his second chance. He’s also a terrific fit for Lincoln Riley’s offensive scheme. Mixon’s return could give Oklahoma one of the best running back groups in the nation.

Oklahoma State WR James Washington: A great off-the-radar discovery for Mike Gundy’s staff, Washington was an unknown true freshman from a tiny Texas town who just so happened to lead the Pokes with six touchdown receptions. The small speedster recorded eight catches of 20-plus yards and will keep growing into a big-play threat.

TCU CB Ranthony Texada: Starting a redshirt freshman at cornerback in this conference? Good luck with that. Texada acquitted himself well in his debut season, breaking up seven passes and picking one off as defenses attacked him to avoid Kevin White. There will be some fresh faces in this TCU secondary, making his play in 2015 even more important.

Texas WR Armanti Foreman: It only took a few catches to prove he’s one of Texas’ most explosive playmakers. As a true freshman, Foreman hauled in a 45-yard score at Oklahoma State and took a screen pass to the house for a 73-yard touchdown against TCU. His role the rest of the season was inconsistent, but perhaps playing for new receivers coach Jay Norvell -- who heavily recruited Foreman while at Oklahoma -- will solve that problem.

Texas Tech LB Mike Mitchell: Now this guy is exciting. The Ohio State transfer sat out the 2014 season after redshirting at OSU in 2013. Mitchell, a 6-foot-3, 225-pound sophomore, has worked at inside and outside linebacker in Tech practices and promises to be a game-changer no matter where he lines up. In fact, he’ll be one of the Red Raiders’ best defensive players in 2015.

West Virginia QB William Crest Jr.: There is reason Crest has been getting admiringly called "Little Geno" for a while now. He has a big arm and big potential, which we didn’t see much of in 2014. A shoulder injury suffered in his debut against Towson led to a medical redshirt. Crest should be OK for spring ball and might be the Mountaineers’ quarterback of the future.

Weekend recruiting wrap: Big 12 

January, 20, 2015
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Oklahoma landed much-needed secondary help, Oklahoma State hosted a ESPN300 running back and Texas put its hat in the ring for a fast-rising Californian.

These, and more, in this week's Big 12 recruiting weekend recap:

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Six Big 12 players have elected to go pro and try their luck in the 2015 NFL draft. What does that mean for the program they're leaving behind? Here's a closer look at players who could be tasked with filling these vacancies.

Leaving: Oklahoma WR Dorial Green-Beckham
Replacement: Michiah Quick

There is no replacing Green-Beckham. In terms of matching DGB’s size, second-year receivers Jeffery Mead and Dallis Todd come close. Mead, a 6-foot-6 wideout who needs to bulk up considerably, played in eight games in 2014 but didn’t log a catch while the 6-5 Todd ended up redshirting. The Sooners will have a new receivers coach, so both will have to work hard to prove they belong on the field.

But if we’re talking about production, Quick is the safest bet to have a breakout season in new coordinator Lincoln Riley’s offense. The speedy slot receiver put up a team-best seven catches in the Russell Athletic Bowl and caught 25 balls on the year. Quick looks like the biggest beneficiary in terms of targets now that DGB is out of the picture, and he’s going to do some real damage in this scheme.

Leaving: Texas DT Malcom Brown
Replacement: Hassan Ridgeway

[+] EnlargeHassan Ridgeway
AP Photo/Michael ThomasHassan Ridgeway filled in for Malcolm Brown this season and showed the ability to take over the role.
Losing nose tackle Desmond Jackson to a season-ending injury was a difficult blow for Texas last season. The only upside? Finding out what the Horns have in Ridgeway, who flashed potential of being a monster in his 10 starts.

Ridgeway racked up six sacks and 11 tackles for loss while lining up next to Brown. At 6-4 and 307 pounds, he can be just as imposing a presence as Brown was going forward. If you’re looking for the guy who can command double teams and open the field up for everyone else, it’s going to be Ridgeway.

Leaving: Oklahoma DT Jordan Phillips
Replacement: Matthew Romar

That's the name Bob Stoops has circled for this spot. "I think that definitely that Matt Romar as a freshmen has played really well," Stoops said this month when asked who's taking over for Phillips. Charles Walker and Jordan Wade are in line to benefit, too, from Phillips' decision to go pro, but Romar has a big opportunity to take over this spring.

The redshirt freshman isn't nearly as big as Phillips at 6 feet and 287 pounds, but he showed signs of big potential as a redshirt freshman in a reserve role with nine stops and a sack in 12 games.

Leaving: TCU S Chris Hackett
Replacement: Kenny Iloka

Iloka, whose brother George Iloka plays for the Bengals, was an under-the-radar find from Tyler Junior College who’s been on campus a full year now. He played sparingly in all 13 games and logged 15 tackles this season while playing behind one of the most talented safety groups in the country.

He doesn’t have to match Hackett’s seven interceptions in order to have a similar impact. There are a lot of nice young pieces to work with here, too, but Iloka and Derrick Kindred, both seniors, can help provide some critical leadership in the secondary now that Sam Carter and Kevin White have graduated.

Leaving: TCU RB B.J. Catalon
Replacement: Kyle Hicks

Whether Catalon came back, you knew Aaron Green was going to be the established feature back after his star turn to end the 2014 season. He’s proven to be an incredible fit for where this TCU offense is heading. So let’s focus on who can complement him.

Trevorris Johnson did a nice job in 2013 as the power back option -- the thumper who can pick up tough yards. But keep an eye on Hicks, who contributed 160 rushing yards and 118 receiving yards in a limited role as a redshirt freshman. He’s not going to be the returner that Catalon was, but his versatility can be put to good use to help keep Green fresh.

Leaving: Kansas WR Nigel King
Replacement: Kevin Thomas

You would think first-year coach David Beaty will take a special interest in a Kansas receivers group that does not bring back many proven options. Sophomores Bobby Hartzog Jr., Darious Crawley and Derrick Neal (if he moves back to offense) could be relied upon as the top insider receiver options. But what about the guys on the outside?

Thomas, a three-star recruit who comes from powerhouse DeSoto (Texas) High School, should get a chance to prove he can play right away as a true freshman. Our ESPN scouts have high praise for his size, speed and hands. Chase Harrell, another true freshman whom Beaty flipped from Houston when he landed at KU, could also get a real look at entering the lineup early.

Big 12 recruiting scorecard

January, 19, 2015
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These final few weeks of this recruiting cycle should be fun to watch. Here's the latest on each Big 12 team's recruiting efforts:

BAYLOR
Total commits: 17
ESPN 300 commits: 3
ESPN JC50 commits: 1
Class rank: 26th
The latest: The Bears hit the ground running out of the dead period with three commitments in the past week. A trio of linebackers decided to play college football at McLane Stadium with Waco (Texas) Midway's Lenoy Jones Jr., Richmond (Texas) Foster's Eric Ogor and Paris (Texas) High's Jordan Williams picking the Bears. Jones is a three-star prospect who had an offer from Houston, Williams is a unranked prospect with an offer from Sam Houston State and Ogor is a unranked prospect with offers from Lamar, Louisiana-Lafayette and McNeese State.

IOWA STATE
Total commits: 17
ESPN 300 commits: 0
ESPN JC50 commits: 1
Class rank: Not ranked
The latest: The Cyclones had a solid start to the home stretch of this recruiting cycle with commitments from Jenks (Oklahoma) receiver Carson Epps, Citra (Florida) North Marion linebacker De'Amontae Jackson and Lithonia Georgia Military College safety Jarnor Jones during the past week. Jackson, a three-star prospect, is the top-rated of the trio and stands as the Cyclones' highest-ranked high school recruit on the pledge list.

KANSAS
Total commits: 21
ESPN 300 commits: 0
ESPN JC50 commits: 0
Class rank: Not ranked
The latest: Did David Beaty and Rob Likens land Kansas' quarterback of the future this week? The Jayhawks grabbed a pledge from Vero Beach (Florida) quarterback Carter Stanley, who has experience running an uptempo spread offense. He passed for over 3,000 yards and 40 touchdowns as a high school senior.

KANSAS STATE
Total commits: 17
ESPN 300 commits: 0
ESPN JC50 commits: 0
Class rank: Not ranked
The latest: Bill Snyder's program could look back upon this weekend as a key stretch of this recruiting cycle after Metairie (Louisiana) Archbishop Rummel defensive tackle Tyrell Jacobs visited Manhattan, Kansas. The three-star prospect, who reports a lengthy offer list that includes Oklahoma, Arizona State and Tennessee, has plans to visit Missouri and Illinois. He would be a terrific anchor for K-State's defense if Snyder's team can secure his signature.

OKLAHOMA
Total commits: 19
ESPN 300 commits: 8
ESPN JC50 commits: 3
Class rank: 18th
The latest: The Sooners hosted several prospects over the weekend, including Dallas Kimball cornerback Antoine Stephens, who decided to commit to OU during his visit. The three-star prospect picked the Sooners over reported offers from Texas Tech, Baylor, Louisville and others. Stephens has the chance to bring size (6-foot-1, 187 pounds) and versatility to OU's secondary.

OKLAHOMA STATE
Total commits: 17
ESPN 300 commits: 2
ESPN JC50 commits: 1
Class rank: 34th
The latest: It was a key weekend for Oklahoma State with several prospects including a pair of potential ball carries in Rockwall (Texas) running back Chris Warren III and Dallas South Oak Cliff running back Jordan Stevenson visiting Mike Gundy's program. The running back position is a key need for the Cowboys, who lose two-year starter Desmond Roland this offseason.

TCU
Total commits: 22
ESPN 300 commits: 0
ESPN JC50 commits: 0
Class rank: 36th
The latest: The Horned Frogs are trying to flip Miami commitment Terrell Chatman, who made an official visit to TCU over the weekend. The Baton Rouge (Louisiana) Central receiver is the No. 254 player in the ESPN300 and would bring another tall, lanky option alongside Josh Doctson in TCU's offense at 6-3, 176 pounds if the Horned Frogs are able to land him.

TEXAS
Total commits: 26
ESPN 300 commits: 11
ESPN JC50 commits: 1
Class rank: Eighth
The latest: LSU commitment Nick Brossette took an official visit to Austin, Texas, and Charlie Strong's program left an impression with the four-star prospect as the Baton Rouge (Louisiana) University running back tweeted the visit "gave him a lot to think about." He is the No. 121 player in the ESPN300.

TEXAS TECH
Total commits: 16
ESPN 300 commits: 3
ESPN JC50 commits: 0
Class rank: 31st
The latest: It was the first of several key weekends for Kliff Kingsbury's program as several prospects including offensive linemen Semisi Uluave and Riley Daniel visited Lubbock, Texas. Daniel is an unranked tackle from Ringling, Oklahoma, while Uluave is a three-star guard from Honolulu, Hawaii.

WEST VIRGINIA
Total commits: 24
ESPN 300 commits: 3
ESPN JC50 commits: 1
Class rank: 26th
The latest: With the bulk of its 2015 class secured, West Virginia has an eye on the future, becoming the first school to offer Class of 2017 linebacker David Adams. The Pittsburgh Central Catholic prospect averaged 6.6 tackles per game during his sophomore season.
The 2014 season is over and done. This week, we're going to rank the top 25 players in the Big 12 from the past year.

We're including our top 25 preseason rankings of each player too. In some cases we were on the money with our preseason player projections. In other cases, our prognostications were completely off the mark.

Criteria for these rankings were based solely on performances from 2014, not a culmination of previous seasons. Pro potential was not a factor. Neither was preseason hype.

Now, without further ado, the first five names in the countdown:

21. Eric Striker, LB, Oklahoma (preseason rank: 4): Striker didn’t live up to the monster preseason expectations that came with his three-sack performance in last year’s Sugar Bowl win over Alabama. But he was still a dominant player off the edge at times, finishing fourth in the Big 12 with nine sacks and 17 tackles for loss.

22. Bryce Hager, LB, Baylor (19): Hager capped his fabulous college career with another standout season. He finished fourth in the Big 12 with 114 tackles and earned second-team All-Big 12 honors for a third consecutive season. Hager had only one interception on the year, but it was a pivotal one, as he picked off Oklahoma and returned the ball to the 1-yard line to ignite the Bears’ 48-14 rout in Norman. The road victory propelled the Bears to their second straight Big 12 title.

23. Quandre Diggs, CB, Texas (18): Diggs was the vocal leader of one of the Big 12’s top defenses. He was the Longhorns’ most reliable performer in the secondary, finishing with three interceptions, 67 tackles and a pair of sacks. Diggs also helped usher in the Charlie Strong era at Texas, with his strong public backing of the first-year coach going all the way back to the summer. Replacing Diggs in the locker room will be just as difficult for Strong as replacing him on the field.

24. Dante Barnett, SS, Kansas State (NR): He successfully replaced Ty Zimmerman as the anchor of what proved to be a stout K-State defense. Barnett finished second among Big 12 safeties with 11 passes defended and was a major reason why the Wildcats ranked second in the Big 12 in pass defense. He was also second on the team with 77 tackles. With the likes of linebacker Jonathan Truman, end Ryan Mueller and nickelback Randall Evans graduating, the Wildcats will be asking even more out of Barnett in 2015.

25. Pete Robertson, LB, Texas Tech (NR): The Texas Tech defense might have been one of the worst statistical units in Big 12 history, but Robertson did everything he could to try to keep the Red Raiders afloat. Operating out of the bandit position in the Tech defense, Robertson topped the Big 12 with 13 sacks and was third in the league with 15.5 tackles for loss. Only a junior, Robertson will give new defensive coordinator David Gibbs a big piece to work with as he attempts to rebuild the Red Raiders defensively.

Coming Tuesday: Nos. 16-20

Big 12 morning links

January, 19, 2015
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That Seahawks-Packers game was terrific. I hope the Super Bowl can match it.
  • Despite not being named Kansas' permanent head coach, Clint Bowen is still excited about the future, writes Kevin Haskin of the Topeka Capital Journal. Bowen had to be disappointed not to get the job, particularly since he was able to change the atmosphere within the program, but KU could end up with a best of both worlds scenario with David Beaty taking over and Bowen willing to stick around. Time will tell if this is the recipe to turn things around but Bowen's willingness to stay and his commitment to the program should do nothing but help Jayhawks football. It's also interesting to note that Beaty and Bowen had a conversation about the situation to remove any potential animosity between the two.
  • The Red River Showdown just got more interesting. Texas hired former Oklahoma receivers coach Jay Norvell to coach its receivers, reports Mike Finger of the San Antonio Express News. Make no mistake, Norvell is a quality hire for the Longhorns. During his time at OU, Norvell coached several receivers who were selected in the NFL draft including Ryan Broyles and Kenny Stills. He was fired from OU after the Sooners struggled to find playmakers outside of Sterling Shepard in 2014 but one bad season doesn't change his proven record of producing NFL draft picks and recruiting well. The Sooners were ready to move on and it could pay off greatly for Charlie Strong and the Longhorns.
  • Oklahoma is reaching back into its past with the hire of Lincoln Riley, writes Jenni Carlson of The Oklahoman. During Riley's first meeting with local reporters, he balked at the thought the Sooners' quarterback position is a question mark while stating they will have three quarterbacks who have started in major college football. That's true. But the quarterback position is a major question mark at OU. The Sooners have talented quarterbacks but whoever wins the job will have to perform much better for Riley's offense to take off in 2015.
  • Former KU linebacker Ben Heeney created some buzz during his time at the East-West Shrine Game. Heeney had six tackles in the game and probably helped himself with the NFL draft on the horizon. Heeney's not a first-round pick but I could see him carve himself a solid NFL career as a linebacker and special-teamer.
  • Speaking of the Shrine Game, Kansas State center BJ Finney was one of the players who stood out, writes Rob Rang of CBSSports.com. Finney had a strong week of practices and a solid game, showing NFL scouts and draft experts why he's been among the Big 12's best players for multiple seasons. Much like Finney, he's not going to be the No. 1 pick in the draft, but he should have a solid NFL career, thanks to his experience and versatility.

Best of the visits: Big 12

January, 18, 2015
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The third weekend in January is always a busy -- if not the busiest -- weekend in the recruiting cycle. College coaches are allowed to contact recruits face-to-face again and the college football season is over, so both players and coaches have turned their attention to the final few weeks of recruiting. It was a busy weekend around the Big 12 with almost every conference program hosting recruits on official visits. Here’s a look at some of the best of the best form those visits.

ESPN 300 running back Nick Brossette has been a longtime LSU commitment, but that hasn’t stopped him from giving Texas a long, long look. Texas would like to land an impact running back in the 2015 class, and Brossette remains one of its best options. Brossette has built a great relationship with Horns coach Charlie Strong, and from all indications he had a good time in Austin this weekend.


Oklahoma landed a much-needed commitment from Dallas Kimball three-star cornerback Antoine Stephens on Sunday. The 6-foot-1, 187-pound Stephens was also offered scholarships by Texas Tech, Baylor, Louisville, SMU, Washington State and others.


After losing five commitments in the past few weeks, Iowa State received positive news from three-star inside linebacker De'Amontae Jackson over the weekend. The 6-foot, 235-pounder was a big get for the Cyclones out of the Sunshine State. At one point in time, Jackson had offers from Alabama, Florida State, Kentucky, Miami and others.


It also looks like Iowa State did a very impressive job with No. 10 junior college offensive tackle Jaypee Philbert this weekend. He posted about loving his time at the Kansas-Iowa State basketball game and also posted a picture of him hanging out with Cyclones offensive coordinator Mark Mangino.


Three-star defensive tackle Tyrell Jacobs joined fellow Louisianan Reggie Walker on an official visit to Kansas State this weekend. Jacobs, who visits Missouri and Illinois the next two weeks, was also accompanied by his mother.


Texas Tech had a large group of visitors on campus this weekend, including Kansas three-star athlete pledge Arico Evans. The 6-1, 190-pounder from Dallas Hillcrest seemed to be having a good time on his trip to Lubbock.


Oklahoma State also had some big prospects on campus, including eight players who were already committed to the Cowboys. This includes players like three-star safety Za'Carrius Green, who definitely liked what he saw with the black Oklahoma State uniform.

Postseason #CFBrank: 21-30

January, 18, 2015
Jan 18
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We're wrapping up the 2014 season by ranking the top 100 players in college football, just like we did before the season. As the rankings are announced, you can also find them here on the pages of ESPN.com.

What is #CFBrank?

#CFBrank is the Twitter hashtag to use if you want to get involved in the discussion or just follow along.

How did we rank the players?

We asked 32 of ESPN's college football writers and editors to rate players on a scale of 0-10 based on their performance during the 2014 season.


(Read full post)


Texas hires ex-Sooner Jay Norvell

January, 16, 2015
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The Red River rivalry added another layer of intrigue Friday when Texas hired former Oklahoma assistant Jay Norvell as its new wide receivers coach.

Norvell left OU earlier this month after seven seasons, including four as co-offensive coordinator.

"Jay is a guy that has always had an outstanding reputation, and when I had a chance to talk to him, what impressed me the most was his energy, passion and drive to be successful," Texas coach Charlie Strong said in a statement. "The thing you see and everyone talks about with him is that he's a great teacher, very detailed and organized, and he really develops his players. He's coached so many great players, gets the most out of his guys, and they really like playing for him.

"He brings a lot to our staff, is very familiar with the Big 12 and has experience recruiting in Texas. We're really excited he's joining us."

Prior to his time at Oklahoma, Norvell had coached at UCLA, Nebraska, Iowa State, Wisconsin, as well as in the NFL. Under his tutelage, Sooners receiver Ryan Broyles became the NCAA's all-time receptions leaders in 2011.

"The first thing that really drew me to this opportunity was the chance to work with Charlie Strong," Norvell said in a statement. "I've followed his career for a long time, and after sitting down and talking to him, seeing his vision for the program, the recruiting philosophy, his values, every area of the team, I was totally impressed. Our visit convinced me I wanted to be a part of that championship vision at Texas."

Norvell will take over at Texas for Les Koenning, who was fired after one season. Strong still has one vacancy to fill on his coaching staff after tight ends coach Bruce Chambers was also let go.


(Read full post)


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In his first season as head coach at Texas, Charlie Strong and the Longhorns finished the 2014 season with a 6-7 overall record, going 5-4 in Big 12 action.
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