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Thursday, September 19, 2013
Big 12 recruiting storylines: Sept. 19

By Damon Sayles



It’s another week of college football, and eyes will be focused on several different things. Can Texas get out of its defensive funk? Will Baylor add more firepower to its already-loaded class? Can Kansas State return to its Big 12 champion ways? Will the world hear commitment announcements from any ESPN 300 players following official visits?

Here are some of the Big 12 recruiting storylines for the week:

K-State vs. Texas: Bigger game, recruiting-wise?

Many have been watching Kansas State and Texas. Some are enjoying the struggles. Others are questioning when the teams will completely wake up.

Now, Kansas State is the team that, although holding a 2-1 record, opened the year with a loss to two-time FCS national champ North Dakota State. And Texas is 1-2 and is allowing 309 rushing yards per game, including 550 rushing yards two weeks ago against BYU.

Derick Roberson
So far, Texas' defensive commits like Derick Roberson are sticking with the Longhorns despite their recent performances.
Recruiting-wise, a Kansas State-Texas clash still holds a ton of weight. This year, the game holds weight for different reasons. For Kansas State, the last thing the Wildcats need is to lose another recruit. The Wildcats, who have 14 commits, watched three-star safety Connor Wilson (Argyle, Texas/Argyle) switch to Texas Tech earlier this week. While it’s never a definite, a poor performance against Texas could make other pledges think twice.

For the Longhorns, defensive targets have watched Texas put up back-to-back games in which opposing offenses have dominating by running the ball. The Longhorns are still in the running for ESPN 300 players such as cornerback Tony Brown (Beaumont, Texas/Ozen), safety Jamal Adams (Lewisville, Texas/Hebron) and defensive end Solomon Thomas (Coppell, Texas/Coppell), but that could change if the current trend continues.

Cyclones going after the Sunshine State

It’s no secret that Iowa State loves the state of Florida. The Cyclones have two Florida players already committed in three-star safety Reggan Northrup (Jacksonville, Fla./First Coast) and, most recently, three-star athlete Dedric Brinson (Lake Wales, Fla./Lake Wales) -- and they’re looking for more.

Iowa State hosted four from the Sunshine State last week, including three three-star players, in Brinson, receiver Kenric Young (Gainesville, Fla./Gainesville) and cornerback Cordell Hudson (Largo, Fla./Largo). The Cyclones also hosted under-the-radar linebacker Matt Solt (Gainesville, Fla./Gainesville), who holds offers from Iowa State, Wake Forest and Florida Atlantic among others.

Iowa State has 13 commits, which means there’s still plenty of space for other Floridians. If they choose to make that choice, they’ll join an underestimated fraternity of players. Since 2007, the Cyclones have signed nearly 50 players with Florida ties.

ESPN Junior 300 RB putting up big numbers

While he doesn’t lead the team in rushing, ESPN Junior 300 running back Soso Jamabo (Plano, Texas/Plano West) has numbers that make him recognizable -- and extremely dangerous -- to opposing defenses.

Jamabo has carried the ball only 17 times in three games, but the 6-3, 200-pound running back, has rushed for 198 yards and a touchdown. He’s averaging 11.6 yards per carry.

It’s Jamabo’s size, speed, elusiveness and overall playmaking ability that makes him No. 18 in the latest ESPN Junior 300. Jamabo has Big 12 offers from Texas, Oklahoma and Baylor as well as Texas A&M, Ohio State, Michigan and Nebraska.

QB not the only need for stacked Baylor class

Baylor is sitting pretty at 23 commits. The Bears still need a quarterback and are pursuing three-star dual-threat Randall Cunningham II (Las Vegas/Bishop Gorman).

Baylor also could use a couple players in the secondary, and high three-star safety Payton Hendrix (Dallas/Bishop Dunne) would fit in well in defensive coordinator Phil Bennett’s scheme. Hendrix, a 6-3, 187-pound defensive back, plays each game with a mean streak. He loves to hit, and his aggressiveness makes him a candidate to possibly play outside linebacker at the next level.

The Bears currently have three defensive back commits. Four-star safety T'Kevian Rockwell (Wylie, Texas/Wylie) is versatile enough to play either in the secondary or as an outside linebacker. Three-star athlete Jourdan Blake (Princeton, Texas/Princeton) is expected to line up at safety, and three-star cornerback Verkedric Vaughns (Mesquite, Texas/Poteet) could be a reliable shutdown defender.

Baylor recently offered Hendrix to play safety, and the offer gave the defensive back something to think about. Hendrix has other offers from Notre Dame, Stanford, Nebraska, Arkansas, Texas Tech and Kansas State.

Big 12 talent galore with Dallas-area showdown

One of the most anticipated matchups in the Lone Star State this weekend will take place just outside of Dallas. Cedar Hill will host DeSoto in a game that pits two teams loaded with talent.

DeSoto features six committed players, including three-star TCU cornerback pledge Nick Orr and three-star Oklahoma State receiver pledge Chris Lacy. The Eagles also have an ESPN Junior 300 defensive tackle in 2015 Texas commit Bryce English.

Cedar Hill has three-star cornerback Marcus Green, who has committed to Oklahoma. Cedar Hill also has one of the best receivers regardless of classification in DaMarkus Lodge. The 6-2, 185-pound receiver is ranked No. 41 in the ESPN Junior 300.