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Tuesday, August 6, 2013
The Early Offer: The Big 12's big threats

By Jeremy Crabtree

The Early Offer is RecruitingNation's latest feature, giving you a daily dose of recruiting each morning. Today's offerings: the recruiting battle in the Big 12 expands beyond the Red River rivalry, Alabama is the new Quarterback U and the Badgers' chances with one of the nation’s best backs.

Frogs, Bears legit Big 12 threats
For years, Oklahoma and Texas have ruled the roost in the Big 12 recruiting rankings, but it’s starting to get crowded at the top. Two Big 12 assistants said they don’t anticipate Texas slipping, but both believed Oklahoma has some serious competition for the second spot in the conference pecking order. “What’s hurting Oklahoma is the emergence of TCU and Baylor,” one said. “For years, Oklahoma used to be able to come into Texas and get about anybody they want. But now that TCU and Baylor have made major commitments with facility upgrades and both are winning games, that’s made it awfully tough for OU. There’s a reason why they’re working hard in places like California more than ever before.” Another thorn in the Sooners’ side? “Oklahoma State,” the other assistant said. “Nobody in the conference can compare with their facilities, and they’re now able to beat OU on in-state kids. That never used to happen.”

New QB U?
There’s an eternal debate as to which school is the true Quarterback U, with USC, Notre Dame, Washington, Miami, Stanford, Purdue and UCLA all having legitimate claims to the title. But with the way Alabama has recruited at the position lately, the Crimson Tide could soon join the argument. If you haven’t been paying attention, the collection of talent at the quarterback spot in Tuscaloosa is sick. With Monday’s addition of Ricky Town (Ventura, Calif./St. Bonaventure), the No. 2-ranked pocket passer in the Class of 2015, it marks the third consecutive season Alabama has secured a quarterback in the top 50 of the ESPN rankings. Cooper Bateman in 2013 and David Cornwell in 2014 were the first two.

Wisconsin's in the Mix-on
While most consider Wisconsin a long shot to land ESPN 300 running back Joe Mixon (Oakley, Calif./Freedom), don’t count the Badgers out. Yes, the competition is tough with Florida, Oklahoma and Texas A&M also getting visits and California, Ohio State, Oregon, Oregon State, Tennessee and Washington also in his top 10. But the Badgers have two big things going for them -- a tremendous running back tradition and Thomas Hammock. Hammock is widely respected as one of the most dynamic recruiters around, and he has been selling Mixon on being the next Ron Dayne or Montee Ball.