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Thursday, October 31, 2013
Big 12 recruiting storylines: Oct. 31

By Damon Sayles

Remember when the Longhorns were done for the season? Texas has won four straight and sit atop the Big 12 standings. With road games against West Virginia and Baylor and home games against Oklahoma State and Texas Tech coming, can the Longhorns keep it up? And can they keep the uncommitted targets interested?

Additionally, Oklahoma’s still looking for a few good men up front and a TCU commit may be looking elsewhere. Here are some of the Big 12 recruiting storylines for the week:

Tony Brown
Texas' rebound on the field has kept them in the hunt for Tony Brown and other ESPN 300 recruits.
Longhorns hot with targets again
It’s amazing what a few wins can do.

Texas’ rebound on the field, after a 1-2 start, has helped to put it back in the good graces of uncommitted targets still considering the Horns.

The Longhorns are hoping now to close the deal on a couple of athletes -- ESPN 300 running back and Florida commit Dalvin Cook (Miami/Central), uncommitted ESPN 300 cornerback Tony Brown (Beaumont, Texas/Ozen), defensive end Solomon Thomas (Coppell, Texas/Coppell) and safety Edwin Freeman (Arlington, Texas/Bowie), all of which still have strong interest in Texas.

Another player who Texas is looking at is Trey Carter (Dallas/Pinkston), a rising, three-star defensive end who is nearing a dozen offers. Washington State was the latest to offer Carter, a 6-foot-4, 255-pound bookend, on Wednesday, and while the Longhorns have yet to offer, they have been keeping a close eye on him.

Carter, who has offers from Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, TCU, Arkansas and others, is expected to be in attendance on an unofficial visit as the Longhorns host Kansas.

ESPN 300 DB on a mission
Jamal Adams, another athlete still very much interested in Texas, moved up in the latest ESPN 300 from No. 25 to No. 23. Don’t expect the high-profile safety, however, to be completely satisfied.

Not until he’s the top-ranked safety in the country, anyway. Currently, Adams is ranked No. 3, behind Virginia commit Quin Blanding (Virginia Beach, Va./Bayside) and Laurence Jones (Monroe, La./Neville) -- and until he’s the No. 1 safety, don’t expect Adams to hold back on the field.

“I grind for what’s mine,” Adams said. “I’m a complete player, not someone who sits on the hash. But respect to those who think they are better, because all it does is light a fire.”

Adams has had a top five of Florida, Texas, Texas A&M, Ole Miss and Ohio State for quite some time, but he recently added LSU to his list. He is looking to visit the Tigers soon.

OU commit enjoying position switch

Weeks ago, high three-star offensive lineman and TCU commit Ty Barrett (Dallas/Skyline), recruited as a tackle, was moved to center to help his high school team. Barrett now is hoping the change is permanent at the next level.

Last week, three-star lineman and Oklahoma commit Jonathan Alvarez (Mesquite, Texas/Horn) made a move for the good of his team that he’s a fan of. After playing center most of the season, Alvarez lined up at left guard to help Horn earn a district win. Alvarez was recruited as an interior lineman and is expected to play guard in college.

“I like them both the same,” Alvarez said of the guard and center positions. “However, at guard, I don’t have to worry about snapping. I get to just focus on the man in front of me.”

Alvarez, and highly recruited 2015 offensive tackle Conner Dyer, make up the left side of the Horn line. Alvarez said it’ll be his coaches’ decisions on whether or not he stays at guard for the remainder of the season.

“I’m just planning on going in and doing whatever they need me to do,” he said.

And speaking of the Sooners …

Oklahoma has 14 commits. Of those 14, none are defensive end commits, and only one -- three-star Brandon Glenn (Irving, Texas/Ranchview) -- is a defensive tackle commit.

The Sooners most recently missed out on three-star defensive end Justin Hollins (Arlington, Texas/Martin), who verbally committed to Oregon on Monday. So what DL targets are left for Oklahoma? The Sooners are hoping to land ESPN 300 ends Thomas and/or Andrew Williams (McDonough, Ga./Eagles Landing Christian). Carter and highly touted end Ismael Murphy-Richardson (Goodyear, Ariz./Desert Edge) also have Oklahoma offers.

The Sooners in recent years have been known to start slow and finish strong, and their final four regular season games will be huge from a recruiting standpoint. Oklahoma is idle this weekend and will visit Baylor on Nov. 7. After hosting Iowa State on Nov. 16, it closes the season with tough road games against Kansas State and Oklahoma State. Uncommitted targets will certainly be monitoring the Sooners’ success.

Will TCU lose its top defensive commit?

Things are not going the way TCU wants right now. After a 30-7 loss to Texas last Saturday, the Horned Frogs are looking for some good news any way they can get it.

TCU fans looking into the future are hoping news doesn’t get worse after this weekend. Four-star outside linebacker Jimmie Swain IV (Olathe, Kan./Olathe North), the Horned Frogs’ highest-ranked defensive player, will take an official visit to Arkansas this weekend. Razorbacks fans feel he will flip, but Swain, while still committed to TCU, isn’t tipping his hat either way.

Arkansas will host Auburn on Saturday. Swain is expected to join ESPN 300s Cook, Steven Parker (Jenks, Okla./Jenks) and four-star offensive tackle Frank Ragnow (Victoria, Minn./Chanhassen) in Fayetteville, Ark.