Texas Longhorns: Steven Parker


Signing day was kind to the Oklahoma Sooners.

A strong finish to its 2014 recruiting class has helped OU land at No. 5 in the ESPN.com Post-Signing Day Way-Too-Early Top 25. The Sooners are the Big 12’s top team, with Baylor and Texas joining them on the list. The Bears are ranked No. 10 and the Longhorns No. 22.

Florida State, Alabama, Oregon and Michigan State are the top four teams, in that order.

OU skyrocketing to the top five shows just how quickly things can change. In mid-November the Sooners were reeling after a 41-12 thrashing at the hands of the eventual Big 12 champion Bears. Almost three months later, the Sooners find themselves projected to be among the nation’s top five teams after four straight wins to end the season, including a 45-31 Allstate Sugar Bowl triumph over Alabama led by sophomore quarterback Trevor Knight. The Sooners used that momentum to land several top recruits, including running back Joe Mixon, athlete Michiah Quick and safety Steven Parker II.

Baylor will have to overcome the loss of running back Lache Seastrunk and defensive leader Ahmad Dixon, but running back Shock Linwood and safety Orion Stewart both made game-changing plays as backups. Linwood finished with 881 rushing yards and Stewart had a critical interception return for touchdown against TCU. Art Briles' team appears ready to handle those departures -- and the loss of All-American guard Cyril Richardson -- while adding a recruiting class full of talented athletes, including elite receiver K.D. Cannon, to its roster to earn a preseason top-10 ranking.

Texas is the wildcard team with a new coach in Charlie Strong but uncertainty at the quarterback position due to David Ash’s health concerns. But a solid finish to its recruiting class, including the late addition of ESPN 300 defensive tackle Poona Ford, combined with an exceptional coaching staff landed Texas in the Top 25. The Longhorns have the talent to rise into the top 10 or, if their struggles at the quarterback position continue, could tumble out of the rankings completely.

Oklahoma State could have a strong case for inclusion in the Way-Too-Early Top 25, but Kansas State has the strongest case of the Big 12 squads that find themselves left outside. The Wildcats have quarterback Jake Waters returning to man the offense, and receiver Tyler Lockett could be the Big 12’s top returning offensive playmaker. Add in several impact junior college signees and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see the Wildcats consistently ranked among the top 25 teams in college football this fall.
Thanks for your questions during my chat, you can find the transcript here.

CautiousCowboy (Arkansas): Two questions: What are the chances Kenny Young signs with the Cowboys? Do you think Mason Rudolph can win the starting QB job away from JW?

Max Olson: I'd predict Kenny Young ends up choosing LSU, that's just my honest opinion, and I think the writing has been on the wall there for a little while. As for Rudolph, I definitely think he can challenge. We didn't see it coming with Wes Lunt and he got on the field right away, and I think Rudolph will come in with similar expectations as a guy who can play from day one if he puts in the work.

Shane (Texas): Will there be any surprising commitments for the Longhorns?

Max Olson: Never say never, since it's not like anybody saw the Shiro Davis flip coming two years ago. But I think Texas has a relatively calm signing day with commitments from DTs Poona Ford and Chris Nelson.

Bo (Missouri): What are OU's chances of flipping in-state DE Deondre Clark to OU from LSU?

Max Olson: That might be the biggest question of signing day in the Big 12. Clark is a stud, and the Oklahoma coaching staff did a great job of getting back in the mix after falling behind early. I think he'll end up at OU, but that's still an unpredictable situation.

Matt (Boston): Where do you think John Bonney will end up?

Max Olson: I do think he'll end up signing with Texas on Wednesday, especially after he showed up in Austin for an unofficial visit this weekend. I think that trip sealed the deal. I like Baylor's chances better than Auburn's if Bonney does change his mind, but it seems like the Longhorns will hold on here.

Jake (Texas): Do you think the recent news about the Teuhema brothers decommitting from Texas and looking heavy at LSU has anything to do with Clark making his mind up on OU so LSU went after the brothers instead?

Max Olson: That's certainly a theory that a lot of folks are curious about. LSU was in the mix for the Teuhemas throughout this year and was the runner-up when they decided last May. Some will say Clark motivated the move, but they're different players --- Sione is a hybrid LB/DE -- and obviously anyone going after Sione is trying to get Maea too, as he's the best lineman in the state of Texas for the 2015 class.

Dustin (Tulsa): Which OU '14 recruit has the best career at OU besides Joe Mixon?

Max Olson: I can't help but think that in Dallis Todd, Mark Andrews and Jeffery Mead, at least one of those guys ends up being an All-Big 12 receiver before it's all said and done. Love their size. I know Andrews could end up at TE, obviously, but with the wealth of talent OU is set to have at QB those freshman receivers are in great shape.

Kris (Des Moines): What's up with Joe Mixon going UCLA last weekend?
Max Olson: I know Mixon has downplayed that since then. But who knows. He's a Cali kid going to Oklahoma. I'm sure he has family members who want him closer to home. Doesn't mean that'll change his mind.

Chad (I-State): Allen Lazard and Michael Warren seem to get the most buzz from ISU's class. Who are a couple other guys Iowa State fans should be excited about?

Max Olson: I like what Iowa State did with its junior college recruiting in this class. The Cyclones have always done a nice job in that category under Paul Rhoads. The defense is getting help from the juco ranks with three defensive ends, two safeties and an inside linebacker, and I'm sure several could see the field next year.



The beginning of the month didn't start out so hot for Oklahoma, who was routed in a highly-anticipated game at Baylor on Nov. 7. But the Sooners have rebounded well on the recruiting trail with a handful of commitments since the calendar turned.

We'll take a look at who exactly those recruits are as well as talk about the big weekend ahead in Stillwater in this week's edition of Big 12 recruiting storylines.

OU on a roll


To continue reading this article you must be an Insider

RecruitingNation's The Early Offer gives you a daily dose of recruiting in the mornings. Today's offerings: By offering the top signal-caller in the 2015 class, Texas proves it is serious about fixing its issues at the quarterback spot; Arkansas hopes to make a big impression with four key official visitors slated to visit this weekend; and a NJCAA region VI playoff game will feature some of the best junior college players in the country.

To continue reading this article you must be an Insider

Big 12 ESPN 300 analysis 

October, 29, 2013
10/29/13
8:00
PM ET
video
With the release of the latest ESPN 300, some players saw jumps while others took slight falls. And then there were some, such as one particular Houston wide receiver still looking to make a name for himself as a varsity football player, who saw their rankings skyrocket.

Here’s an update on some of the highs and lows of players either committed to, targeted by or living near Big 12 programs:

To continue reading this article you must be an Insider

Most important targets: Big 12 

October, 22, 2013
10/22/13
8:00
AM ET
video

Not surprisingly, Big 12 programs have filled their rosters with ESPN 300 recruits. But, as we’ve come to learn, success on the field doesn’t always come down to how many stars you acquire each recruiting cycle. It’s about filling needs with the types of players coveted by that particular program.

Here is a look at the most important target for each Big 12 school, which features some highly ranked recruits and other recruits with no ranking at all.


To continue reading this article you must be an Insider

Best Big 12 recruiters 

October, 15, 2013
10/15/13
8:00
PM ET

Editor's note: For a look at the national recruiter power rankings based only on Class of 2014 success, click here.

The best college football coaches will tell you that when it comes to recruiting, their business is an art. It’s a craft you must perfect if you want to have the best players commit and ultimately sign. Recruiting isn’t for everybody, but those who are good at it -- particularly for building the 2014 class -- should be recognized, as the business is extremely competitive.

Here are 10 of the top recruiters from the Big 12.


To continue reading this article you must be an Insider



The Big 12 has a big weekend ahead in Dallas and Texas Tech is surging. Here’s a look at some of the Big 12’s top recruiting storylines.

Big names set to attend Red River Rivalry
There is never a season, regardless of what type of shape either program is in, that the Cotton Bowl won’t be filled with some of the most desirable recruits in the country.

To continue reading this article you must be an Insider

Big 12 class rankings analysis 

October, 9, 2013
10/09/13
2:00
PM ET


Each Wednesday, ESPN RecruitingNation updates its national class rankings. For an in-depth look at the Big 12 conference, check out our conference rankings:

1. Texas, 24 commits: The Longhorns check in at No. 7 in the RecruitingNation class rankings with the headliners being No. 79 overall Derick Roberson (San Antonio, Texas/Williams J. Brennan High), No. 119 Armanti Foreman (Texas City, Texas/Texas City High) and No. 138 Jerrod Heard (Denton, Texas/John H. Guyer High). Texas, which currently has seven ESPN300 commits, has its sights set on No. 31 overall Solomon Thomas (Coppell, Texas/Coppell High), No. 13 Tony Brown (Beaumont, Texas/Ozen High) and No. 25 Jamal Adams (Lewiville, Texas/Hebron High).

To continue reading this article you must be an Insider



Even for schools like Baylor, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Texas, who all have recruiting classes ranked in the top 40, there is still a lot of work to be done for the Class of 2014. Here is a look at the best-case and worst-case scenarios for every school in the Big 12.

Baylor
Best-case scenario: The Bears continue to put up gaudy numbers on offense, which allows them to round out one of their best-ever classes with a few more gems. One recruit they would love to add is Randall Cunningham II (Las Vegas/Bishop Gorman). On defense, one of Baylor’s top targets is ESPN 300 cornerback Nick Watkins (Dallas/Bishop Dunne). Texas struggling this season sure does help BU's recruiting.


To continue reading this article you must be an Insider

Big 12 recruiting mailbag

October, 4, 2013
10/04/13
11:00
AM ET
In this week's Big 12 mailbag we take a look at Baylor's chances of landing a former NFL quarterback's son, if Texas' loan quarterback commitment will stick around, an underrated safety commitment for the Pokes and the Longhorns' odds on two ESPN 300 recruits.

Andrew Smith: Do you think Baylor will snag RCII?

"RCII," for those not aware, is the moniker given to Randall Cunningham II, the son of former NFL quarterback Randall Cunningham and a three-star 2014 quarterback out of Las Vegas Bishop Gorman. Cunningham (6-foot-5, 180 pounds) has an offer from Baylor as well as Arizona State, Kansas State, LSU, Mississippi State, Syracuse, UNLV, Utah and Yale.

I think the Bears have a great shot at landing him, personally. In fact, I think it will come down to the Bears and Oregon, which he unofficially visited over the weekend. Baylor has yet to garner a commitment from a quarterback in 2014 but did sign Chris Johnson, the No. 5 dual-threat quarterback in 2013.


Michael Molina: Why won't Texas use Tyrone Swoopes now? Win now and Jerrod Heard keeps his commitment to Texas. No matter what happens this year, Mack has got to go. I'd like to see Art Briles or Charlie Strong as head coach. Anyways do you think Heard stays with Texas? Thanks.

I believe that Heard will stick with the Longhorns, yes. Publicly he says all the right things and has never given me a reason to believe he won’t end up at UT. He always has been quick to defend Texas and has formed great relationships with most of the recruits in UT's class right now. I also think he sees how things are shaping up for him to see the field for a minimum of two seasons as the starter. I do believe Swoopes will burn his redshirt at some point this season, thus setting in motion the chain of events that will give Heard the opportunity to compete for the starting job in 2015.


Robert Thomas: @ESPNwilkerson How underrated is S Dylan Harding out of Jenks? Produces like a 4-star or ESPN300 prospect #AskBig12.

Count me a fan. I think he compares favorably to Erik Huhn, who signed with the Longhorns last season. Harding is a bit underrated in my book but certainly isn’t to college programs. Just look at his offers list. As his scouting report notes, he could see early PT on special teams, and situational playing time early in his career is a definite possibility. You wonder if he has the pull to get Steven Parker to OSU, as well. Would be a lethal secondary.


Chris Conaty: What ESPN 300 recruits should TCU fans be expecting the Frogs to sign?

The obvious one here is ESPN 300 offensive lineman Braden Smith (Olathe, Kan./South). TCU feels really good about their chances with him for numerous reasons. One, there are family ties there with his sister currently throwing for their track and field team. Two, early playing time looks likely, and he is very comfortable in Fort Worth. Another name to keep an eye on is the state of Texas’ top player Myles Garrett (Arlington, Texas/Martin). It’s going to be tough to keep him away from the SEC. But if he does stray away from that conference, I see him in the Big 12 at TCU. Work to be done there for sure.


Trey Briggs: Willie, who would win in a swimming race: Case McCoy or David Ash?

Wilkerson: Tough to say, but I’ll give the nod to Ash right now. For what reason, I have no clue.


Nathan Goldstein: Is Jamal Adams leaning toward one school? Is Texas in the mix? And is Solomon Thomas a likely Texas commit.

Let’s go last to first here. Texas has always felt comfortable with their positioning when it comes to Thomas. He has visited UT's campus more than any other but hasn't visited in a while. Stanford really appeals to him, so I will give the Cardinal a slight edge. But there are several other schools in the mix. Adams seems to really be feeling Florida and Texas A&M right now. Texas needs a good showing against Oklahoma State, when Adams could potentially be in attendance.


Alfio Randall-Veasey: Can Texas have the No. 1 class in recruiting again. Haven’t been since #99baby #HookEm.

It's going to be a while, Alfio but I do think it will happen again. You've got to put some things into perspective here. Texas is one of a few schools that can maintain the type of success in recruiting they have with the lack of success on the field over the last four years. Winning cures all.

Top Big 12 recruiting rivalries 

October, 1, 2013
10/01/13
8:00
AM ET

Recruiting rivalries. No matter if two teams are pushing for a national title or in a rebuilding stage, recruiting gets the people going. Nothing ruffles the feathers of recruiting fans more than monitoring the process of a player considering one school and its big rival.

Here are five of the better recruiting rivalries going right now in the Big 12.


To continue reading this article you must be an Insider

Big 12 recruiting mailbag

September, 20, 2013
9/20/13
11:00
AM ET
In this week’s Big 12 mailbag we take a look at the likelihood of an ESPN 300 defensive back ending up at Oklahoma State, some concerns in Longhorns country, the latest on Iowa State and plenty more.

@Cylights: Any #Cyclones news?

You’re in luck. The Cyclones picked up their first commitment since July 25 on Monday with three-star athlete Dedric Brinson. Brinson (6-foot-1, 175 pounds) had plenty of other offers, including from Duke, Indiana, Marshall, Massachusetts, Central Florida, Wake Forest and Wisconsin. But he chose to travel out of state to play for Paul Rhodes and gives ISU another playmaker. The Cyclones already have commitments from ESPN 300 wide receiver Allen Lazard (Urbandale, Iowa/Urbandale), three-star running back Tommy Mister (Chicago, Ill./Saint Rita), three-star RB Martinez Syria (Houston/Nimitz), three-star WR Orion Salters (Dallas/Jesuit), three-star tight end Scott Schaffner (Peculiar, Mo./Ray-Pec)and three-star WR Jauan Wesley (Harvey, Ill./Thornton Township).




@Roberrttthom: It feels like Steven Parker is slightly favoring Oklahoma State right now, what are the chances that they land him?

They’re good. But I do believe OU and Texas A&M are just as much in the mix as they have been over the past few months. A few things to take into consideration regarding OSU’s chances: 1. Playing time at safety should be up for grabs with the upcoming graduation of Shamiel Gary and Daytawion Lowe. 2. He’s constantly hearing about OSU from current Pokes commitment and teammate Dylan Harding. It’s going to be Bedlam for his commitment. See what I did there?




@todd_spurgin: Do you think OU's recruiting is going to continue to be such a struggle getting big nasties/linebackers?

For the foreseeable future? Possibly. But I do think the Sooners will get it figured out by the time it’s all said and done. They missed out on a few guys who I thought they’d have right now in Ty Barrett and Frank Kee.




@JC22101022: What are recruits (who are considering Texas for this year and the future) saying about Texas current program state?

There are a few major concerns, which are completely understandable. The first, and obvious one, is Mack Brown’s future. If he goes you could see Texas recruiting take a hit if it doesn’t hire a home-run replacement. If he does stay, will the program have improved by year’s end? These recruits want to see if Texas can win like these players saw while they were growing up. You’ve got to remember, when these players were growing up, Texas was winning 10-plus games a season. There is also concern about Greg Robinson and the direction of this defense. Will he be the defensive coordinator long term? How will he relate to recruits if he is?




@msturdy51: Who do you see the Sooners getting in the upcoming weeks?

A few names to keep an eye on are Rowlett (Texas) defensive tackle Cedric Johnson, and Arizona linebacker commitments Jamardre Cobb and Marquis Ware. Johnson visited in the spring and one more visit could seal the deal. As for the LBs, they are committed to Arizona but are still going to take an official visit to OU on Oct. 4. That will be the Sooners’ best chance to add another California linebacker to their 2014 class.




@LundbergLance: My Horns haven’t been so hot as everyone knows the last few years. When will recruiting take a big hit because of that?

In some ways, it’s already affected them. You saw that during the 2013 recruiting cycle when numerous players decommitted. That never used to happen at UT under Mack Brown. You’ve seen two players decommit already in 2014. But where it could really hurt Texas is in 2015. The state is loaded with players who have high interest in the Longhorns but won’t commit unless they see improvement. Texas needs to win or risk losing out on a big opportunity in 2015.


As recruiting dips its toe into the fall season, many uncommitted players are beginning to shorten their lists in preparation for upcoming big college announcements. All of the Big 12 schools could use help -- or add depth -- at multiple positions, but there are a few players who are considered primary targets for the 2014 class.

Here is a look at some of the most important targets for each Big 12 program.


To continue reading this article you must be an Insider

The Backyard Bowl, the game pitting Oklahoma high school football powers Jenks and Tulsa Union, is one of the biggest football attractions of the Sooner State -- on any level. More than 19,000 fans were in attendance Friday to watch the two teams play at the University of Tulsa's Chapman Stadium.

ESPN 300 safety Steven Parker (Jenks, Okla./Jenks) did his part to help his team beat Union, 20-16. In addition to offering his normal defensive back duties, Parker also finished the game with four catches for 89 yards, including a 47-yard reception early in the game.

Parker showed his versatility in the win, and that versatility is going to make one college program very happy next season.

For which school? That’s for Parker to announce -- at a later date.


To continue reading this article you must be an Insider

SPONSORED HEADLINES

All Access Wired: Chris Rumph
Texas defensive line coach Chris Rumph wired during spring 2014 practice.Tags: Chris Rumph, Longhorn Network, All Access
VIDEO PLAYLIST video