Dallas Colleges: Football Recruiting

ARLINGTON, Texas – The Nike Opening Dallas Regional produced more invites to The Opening in one stop, 13, than any ever. When taking a look at the uber-talented roster in the days leading up to Sunday’s marquee event, that came without surprise when 40 members of the ESPN Junior 300 come together to compete on the same field. Here is a look at some of the sights and sounds from the regional that brought out the best from Louisiana, Arkansas, Kansas, Oklahoma and Minnesota in addition to the Lone Star State.
ARLINGTON, Texas -- Everything is bigger in Texas, especially high school football. That lesson was taught to us once again at Sunday's The Opening regional at Lamar High School.


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In the first three stops on The Opening Nike Football Regional schedule, 20 prospects have punched tickets to the prestigious The Opening 2015 at Nike World Headquarters. On Sunday, that number is expected to jump by more than a handful with the Dallas Regional quite possibly being the most talented on the interior of the 13 regionals on the schedule.

Here are a few things to watch, and keep track of entering Sunday’s event at Arlington Lamar High.


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Junior days are underway, and the spring evaluation period is quickly approaching. While a number of programs are off to a fast start and in need of keeping impressive commitments in the fold, there also are programs in need of creating momentum and battling archrivals on the trail this spring and headed into the summer.

Here is a look at 10 programs that need a big spring, for various reasons (listed alphabetically):

Florida
The Gators saved the 2015 class in the days leading up to national signing day creating some momentum heading into the spring and summer. The time to capitalize is now for Jim McElwain and staff, and Florida simply must continue to gain steam with archrival Florida State swinging a big recruiting stick in state, and Miami on a run headed into the spring evaluation period. Florida currently has three verbals, all outside the ESPN Junior 300.


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When listing the programs that needed a top-notch quarterback in the 2016 class, one would start with Texas. The Longhorns took a big step toward addressing the vital need on Feb. 23, securing a verbal commitment from ESPN Jr 300 Shane Buechele. He is the third ESPN Jr 300 commitment for Texas head coach Charlie Strong, joining wide receivers Collin Johnson (No. 130) and Reggie Hemphill-Mapps (No. 161).


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Quarterback Kyler Murray grabbed all of the headlines at Allen (Texas) High School over the past few seasons, but it’s actually junior offensive tackle Greg Little who is a higher-ranked prospect.


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Early Commit: WR Courtney Lark to TCU 

January, 31, 2015
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TCU is certainly making the most of the 12-win season and top-5 finish. While the Horned Frogs were already off to a terrific start in the 2016 class with seven commitments and three ESPN Jr 300s, Gary Patterson and staff added a fourth ESPN Jr 300 pledge Saturday in receiver Courtney Lark.


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Twitter went into a late Thursday night frenzy. The reason: No. 1-ranked quarterback Kyler Murray announced on twitter and through ESPN that he was in fact sticking with his commitment to Texas A&M after visiting Texas 10 days ago. And with a 25 character tweet, Murray set off a twitter reaction rarely seen by a football recruit's decision.

@HamiltonESPN: With this quote by five-star and No. 1-ranked quarterback Murray, a worried Texas A&M fan base let out a collective sigh of relief. The final decision by Murray to sign with Texas A&M also provides Aggies head coach Kevin Sumlin with a shot in the arm in the final days headed to national signing day.


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Wednesday on the recruiting trail was fast-paced and exhausting, as expected, for prospects and coaches with national signing day now only six days away. Here is a look at some of the social media headlines, with five-star defensive tackle Daylon Mack's change of plans serving as the headliner.

@HamiltonESPN: On Tuesday it was Texas head coach Charlie Strong in-home with the Mack family. Yesterday, it was Texas A&M head coach Kevin Sumlin's turn to try to win back the five-star defensive tackle, a long-time commitment. Mack told RecruitingNation on Wednesday night that he was cancelling a planned unofficial visit to TCU this weekend to spend time with his family and come to a decision as his national signing day announcement, live on ESPN, approaches. TCU remains scheduled to make an in-home visit Thursday, with a decision trending the way of the Aggies or Longhorns.


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Big 12 programs have done a solid job on the recruiting trail in the Class of 2015, with seven teams ranking in the top 40 nationally as signing day approaches next Wednesday. Texas leads the way with a top 10 class, while TCU, Oklahoma State and West Virginia are among the squads that have put together quality recruiting classes.

Yet, every Big 12 program still has questions to answer as they aim to finish their 2015 recruiting classes with some late additions.

In this ESPN Insider story, you can get a detailed look Insider at where every Big 12 team stands heading into the final days of this recruiting cycle.
The fever pitch in the state of Texas on the recruiting trail hasn’t been felt since the 2003-04 recruitment of Adrian Peterson, or even prior. Starting on Friday, it will be the Texas Longhorns and Texas A&M Aggies duking it out for supremacy in the Lone Star State. A cycle that started with Texas A&M being the "cool school" in the state and seemingly winning every big battle has gotten a lot more interesting after last Wednesday’s unofficial visit to Texas by Texas A&M quarterback commitment Kyler Murray and receiver DaMarkus Lodge.

With what could be a recruiting windfall for either the Aggies or Longhorns, and momentum for the 2016 class and beyond, here are the eight most important recruits remaining in the balance in the Lone Star State.

Kris Boyd, CB, Gilmer High
ESPN 300 ranking: No. 241


Boyd is set to announce Friday, along with good buddy and fellow ESPN 300 cornerback Holton Hill. Boyd has dwindled his list to Texas and Texas A&M, where he officially visited the past two weekends. If either the Longhorns or Aggies are to start an overwhelming wave of momentum Friday, it could lead to a near historic finish for the winning school. Boyd played for head coach Jeff Traylor at Gilmer, whose son is a walk-on quarterback at Texas A&M. Boyd is also the cousin of former Gilmer and Texas standout Curtis Brown.

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Holton Hill, CB, Houston Lamar High
ESPN 300 ranking: No. 152


As mentioned above, Hill will announce on Friday. Though a Texas A&M official visit over the weekend seemingly put the Aggies in the race, Texas and LSU were the overwhelming favorites headed into the visit, with the closest-to-home Longhorns considered to be the front-runner. Like Boyd, if either Texas or Texas A&M gets both of the ESPN 300 cornerbacks, it could start a tidal wave come National Signing Day. Hill visited LSU on Dec. 5 before Texas and Texas A&M the past two weekends, respectively.

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Chris Warren III, RB, Rockwall High
ESPN 300 ranking: No. 102


What looked like a Texas vs. Washington battle has possibly changed with Texas A&M offering recently. In fact, add this to the list of battles between the two rivals if Warren visits College Station before heading to Washington on Jan. 30. Warren is the load-carrying big back who could be a running-game changer for any program. This is likely one of at least four National Signing Day decisions that will have all state of Texas fans closely following, with the Longhorns considered the favorite heading into the final two official visits. Warren made an official visit to Texas Tech over the weekend.

Early Commit: ATH D'Eriq King to TCU 

January, 17, 2015
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TCU continues to make the most of the 2014 12-win season and No. 3 finish in the AP Poll. The Horned Frogs are in the Top 40 of the 2015 RecruitingNation class rankings and are off to a fast start in 2016. Already having a pair if ESPN Jr300 verbals in quarterback Brennen Wooten and the versatile Christian Wallace, Gary Patterson and staff added a third Saturday with the pledge of athlete D'Eriq King.


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Canadian recruit Neville Gallimore is headed to Oklahoma. Below, see what the transition will be like for this ESPN 300 defensive tackle:


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With the biggest win of the year in its biggest game of the year, Oklahoma State not only captured in-state bragging rights Dec. 6 against Oklahoma, it also became bowl eligible and halted a five-game losing skid. The Cowboys are hoping the TicketCity Cactus Bowl brings a happy ending to a roller-coaster season.


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Double-digit-win seasons are becoming the norm for Baylor football, and this year included an 11-1 record, a Big 12 championship and a No. 5 national ranking -- which was just out of a College Football Playoff berth. Baylor is hoping to end the season on a positive note with a win against Michigan State in the Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic.


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