NCF On The Trail: Baylor Bears

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The updated ESPN 300 player rankings are now live, and one of the primary Big 12 targets is the newly crowned top-ranked running back.

Soso Jamabo said in September that he was gunning for the No. 1 spot at running back, and after several huge games, Jamabo has earned that spot, bypassing Kentucky running back Damien Harris. The hunter, however, is now the hunted, as Jamabo looks to maintain that spot. He'll have to fight off Harris, Oklahoma State commit Ronald Jones II, fast-rising Chris Warren III -- who jumped from 183 to 102 in the new rankings -- and several others.

Here are five things to know involving Big 12 recruiting:

Big 12's top recruiting visits 

October, 17, 2014
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Baylor is the team to beat, and West Virginia is hoping to put on a show in front of what’s anticipated to be a raucous crowd. That game will be only one of a handful of must-see Big 12 games on tap Saturday.

Look for some major targets in the following three games to not only be in attendance but also take mental notes of what they see over the weekend. There’s no guarantee, but one or two may even give their verbal commitments.

Kansas State at Oklahoma

Fresh off its Red River Showdown victory against Texas, Oklahoma returns home in hopes to put on a show that will attract a couple of top visitors. ESPN 300 outside linebacker Cameron Townsend and four-star defensive tackle Darrion Daniels will be in Norman on official visits. The additions of both players would be huge for the Sooners. Additionally, quarterback commit Dalton Wood said he will be in Norman for an unofficial visit, as will players like ESPN Junior 300 running back Z'Quan Hogan and 2016 dual-threat quarterback Terry Wilson.


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Weekend recruiting wrap: Big 12 

October, 14, 2014
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Texas Tech picked up a commit at a key position, and Iowa State managed to lure away a commit from a conference foe over the weekend.

October is the perfect month for more and more commitments to take place, as recruits are taking official visits and finalizing their college plans. Recruiting could get even more interesting as we get further into the month.

Here’s a recap of what happened in Big 12 recruiting:


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Big 12 recruiting scorecard

October, 13, 2014
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Here’s the latest around the Big 12 on the recruiting trail this week:

BAYLOR
Total commits: 12
ESPN 300 commits: 3
The latest: Several recruits were on hand to watch the Bears’ 61-58 victory over TCU, including Gilmer, Texas, athlete Blake Lynch, a current Baylor commit. He is one of four commitments who are considered four-star prospects.

IOWA STATE
Total commits: 11
ESPN 300 commits: 0
The latest: Junior college defensive end Larry Jefferson committed to Iowa State after a weekend visit. The 6-foot-5, 230-pound prospect flipped from a previous commitment to West Virginia after watching the Cyclones knock off Toledo 37-30 during homecoming weekend.

KANSAS
Total commits: 13
ESPN 300 commits: 0
The latest: The Jayhawks landed a commitment from Class of 2016 running back Aubrey White. The highly regarded White spurned offers from Oklahoma, TCU, Arkansas, Nebraska and others to pledge to Kansas. It will be interesting to see how KU’s coaching situation impacts White’s recruitment before February 2016.

KANSAS STATE
Total commits: 10
ESPN 300 commits: 0
The latest: The Wildcats reportedly offered Class of 2016 athlete A.J. Taylor from Kansas City (Missouri) Rockhurst. It’s the first offer for the 5-foot-11, 185-pound prospect.

OKLAHOMA
Total commits: 14
ESPN 300 commits: 6
The latest: The Sooners reportedly offered Class of 2016 defensive end Amani Bledsoe. The three-star prospect from Lawrence (Kansas) High School also has offers from Kansas, Oklahoma State, Texas Tech and others.

OKLAHOMA STATE
Total commits: 13
ESPN 300 commits: 4
The latest: Solidifying the safety position has been a clear focus for the Cowboys during this recruiting cycle. ESPN 300 safety Kevin Henry joins Kenneth McGruder and Za’Carrius Green to give Oklahoma State three safety commitments who are rated 78 or higher by ESPN Scouts Inc.

TCU
Total commits: 16
ESPN 300 commits: 0
The latest: All 16 of TCU’s current commitments are from Texas but the Horned Frogs, surprisingly, have not secured a member of the ESPN 300 and four-star receiver J.F. Thomas is the lone commitment with more than three stars. TCU has signed at least one member of the ESPN 300 in every class since 2011.

TEXAS
Total commits: 17
ESPN 300 commits: 8
The latest: The Longhorns reportedly offered Class of 2016 prospect Derrick Brown. The Sugar Hill (Georgia) Lanier defensive tackle is the No. 141 player in the ESPN Junior 300.

TEXAS TECH
Total commits: 10
ESPN 300 commits: 3
The latest: It was a disappointing weekend on the field, but things could be looking up as the Red Raiders hosted several recruits, including elite receiver Tyron Johnson, the No. 24 player in the ESPN 300. Johnson tweeted that he enjoyed his Tech visit and would be a huge get for Kliff Kingsbury’s squad if he picks Tech. The four-star prospect from New Orleans Warren Easton has a large list of offers, including Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas, Alabama, Auburn and others.

WEST VIRGINIA
Total commits: 21
ESPN 300 commits: 3
The latest: Dana Holgorsen’s squad leads the entire Big 12 in total commits with 21. Quarterback David Sills is easily the Mountaineers' most interesting commitment. You might remember him as the player who committed to Lane Kiffin and USC when he was in a 13-year-old in the seventh grade. He decommited from the Trojans earlier this year and plans to enroll at West Virginia in January.

Best of the visits: Big 12

October, 12, 2014
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If you were looking for football entertainment, the Big 12 delivered Saturday.

All five scheduled games featuring conference teams finished with winning margins of seven points or fewer. Saturday included a ridiculous, fourth-quarter comeback by Baylor, a last-second field goal for West Virginia and Oklahoma holding off Texas in one of college football’s most storied rivalries.

And, of course, rowdy home crowds. And many big-time recruits were present to see it all.

The matchup between Baylor and TCU was one of the most-anticipated games in college football. It was expected to be good; it wasn’t, however, expected to be borderline epic. Baylor beat TCU, 61-58, by scoring 24 unanswered points in the final 11 minutes of the fourth quarter.

The comeback performance pleased many Baylor recruits and commits, including three-star ATH pledge Tony Nicholson.


Four-star ATH commit Blake Lynch was in attendance with Gilmer High School teammates Quinn Fluellen, Chase Tate and Dimitri Fort. The experience, Lynch said, was one to remember, and it further solidified his pledge to the Bears.


Lynch, ESPN 300 RB Ja'Mycal Hasty and ESPN Junior 300 QB Zach Smith were among the players in Waco to see Baylor’s victory. LB Baron Browning also had a chance to take in the game. Browning, expected to be one of the nation’s top targets in the Class of 2017, took pictures with a couple of the Baylor players, including 6-foot-9 defensive lineman Shawn Oakman, who makes everybody look small -- including the 6-3 Browning.


The Red River Showdown between Oklahoma and Texas lived up to its expectations. ESPN 300 offensive lineman Josh Wariboko, once a Sooners commit who reopened his process to explore other options, was in Dallas and described the atmosphere on Twitter with five words -- and an Oklahoma-favorable hashtag.


ESPN 300 LB Malik Jefferson was at the Cotton Bowl, and although the Longhorns didn’t win, he enjoyed the experience. Jefferson tweeted about chatting with Longhorns fans hoping he’ll choose Texas on Dec. 19 and then gave them a message via Twitter.


One player keeping an eye on the game from start to finish was Oklahoma commit Bobby Evans, who, after the game, showed his love to the Sooners in “Breakfast of Champions” fashion.


In Lubbock, West Virginia snatched a victory away from Texas Tech with a 55-yard field goal with no time on the clock. While it left an always-loud Jones AT&T Stadium somewhat quiet, the loss didn’t affect how ESPN 300 WR Tyron Johnson felt about the atmosphere. Johnson was on an official visit and thoroughly enjoyed what Lubbock has to offer.


Johnson in a tweet added that there is “way more to life outside of New Orleans.” That could be good news for the Red Raiders, who are in a recruiting battle with LSU to land Louisiana’s top-ranked player and the nation’s No. 2 receiver.


Also in Lubbock over the weekend was ESPN 300 DT Breiden Fehoko, the Red Raiders’ top-ranked defensive commit. Fehoko had a chance to reconnect with coaches and players, but the trip also was a chance to be reunited with family. Older brother V.J. is a senior linebacker for Texas Tech. Another older brother, Sam, played at Texas Tech and is now a graduate assistant for the Red Raiders.


Iowa State didn’t play a conference foe, but the Cyclones managed to hold off Toledo, 37-30. Iowa State had a few visitors in Ames, including their top-ranked commit in RB Devine Ozigbo, who enjoyed everything from the game atmosphere to taking pictures with fans and cheerleaders to eating at the well-revered Hickory Park Restaurant.

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Big 12's top recruiting visits 

October, 10, 2014
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When one of the biggest rivalries in college football is considered an undercard of sorts in a well-respected conference, consider that a positive message regarding the talent within the conference. Texas and Oklahoma will play in the annual Red River Rivalry at the Cotton Bowl, but when it comes to the Big 12’s current heavy-hitters, Baylor and TCU will collide in a battle of unbeaten, top-10 teams.

With several big games happening Saturday, look for several top-ranked recruits to be in attendance. Here are three games to watch:

TCU at Baylor


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Help is on the way: Big 12 

October, 8, 2014
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When it comes to recruiting, grabbing key players is the name of the game. The idea of getting players who could come in as freshmen and contribute on multiple snaps is what every coach desires.

In looking at the teams in the Big 12, every team has its own specific needs for next year. With every need for each team, it appears immediate help is on the way.


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Want to impress a star recruit? Make an entrance at his game like Kevin Sumlin does in the Swagcopter or James Franklin in The Flyin' Lion. Plus, this year’s Red River Rivalry has lost some of its luster with recruits.


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Weekend recruiting wrap: Big 12 

October, 7, 2014
Oct 7
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West Virginia landed a quality 2015 pledge Saturday in three-star Ohio DT Robert Landers, but it was a new pledge for Texas that proved to be the biggest commitment of the weekend. Additionally, Oklahoma State hosted an ESPN 300 recruit in on an official visit, while TCU had an ESPN 300 recruit on an unofficial visit to witness one of its biggest wins since joining the Big 12.

It was a busy weekend in the Big 12, as all 10 teams were involved in conference play. Check out some of the highlights.


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Juco recruits to watch: Big 12 

October, 6, 2014
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It’s been a good year for junior college talent, and with the 2015 ESPN Juco Watch List released, followers of football recruiting can now be on the lookout for some of the nation’s best juco players.

Here are three names to watch in the Big 12 as the prospects inch closer to their respective signing periods, whether it’s between Dec. 17 and Jan. 15 (mid-year transfers) or between Feb. 4 and April 1 (regular period).


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Big 12's top recruiting visits 

October, 3, 2014
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The Big 12 schedule is at full strength this weekend, and all five games on tap will feature conference matchups. Look for a few big-time recruits to take official and unofficial visits all around the conference.

Here are three games to pay attention to, as commitment opportunities are high.

Baylor at Texas


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Big 12 recruiting scoreboard

September, 29, 2014
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Below is our weekly update on the Big 12 recruiting trail:

BAYLOR

Total commits: 12
ESPN 300 commits: 3
The latest: The Bears didn't land a recruit this past week, but plenty of Lone Star State prospects will be paying attention to Baylor’s trip to Austin. The Bears have been winning recruiting battles for the state top’s talent, and they have a chance to make another statement on the field.

IOWA STATE

Total commits: 11
ESPN 300 commits: 0
The latest: The Cyclones landed a commitment for the first time in more than a month in Kissimmee, Florida, cornerback Stephon Brown, who had offers from NC State, Hawaii, Marshall, South Florida and Southern Miss.

KANSAS

Total commits: 13
ESPN 300 commits: 0
The latest: The first order of business for interim coach Clint Bowen was calling all of Kansas’ commitments Sunday and telling them they are still wanted in Lawrence. Despite his troubles on the field, Charlie Weis had put together another decent recruiting class that Bowen needs to hold together.

KANSAS STATE

Total commits: 10
ESPN 300 commits: 0
The latest: The Wildcats have been quiet on the trail lately, after landing seven commitments from June to August. More will be on the way once Bill Snyder figures out which junior-college players he wants to target in this class.

OKLAHOMA

Total commits: 14
ESPN 300 commits: 6
The latest: The Sooners landed their third commitment in the month of September in McAlester, Oklahoma, tight end Dalton Wood, who jones Midwest City safety Will Sunderland and Jenks defensive tackle Marquise Overton as Oklahoma's three in-state commitments.

OKLAHOMA STATE

Total commits: 13
ESPN 300 commits: 4
The latest: The Pokes pulled off one of the better recruiting steals of the year last week in convincing ESPN 300 safety Kevin Henry to flip from LSU to OSU. Henry had been committed to the Tigers, where he projected as a safety/linebacker since January but started reconsidering his other options in July. Henry joins WR Jalen McCleskey as the second Louisiana recruit in OSU's class.

TCU

Total commits: 16
ESPN 300 commits: 0
The latest: No new pledges for the Horned Frogs this week, but they get a chance to impress visitors this Saturday when Oklahoma comes to Fort Worth. One TCU commit worth keeping an eye on is WR J.F. Thomas, the Frogs' highest-rated pledge. He received an offer from Texas recently, and two of his Dallas South Oak Cliff teammates -- Jamile Johnson and Jordan Stevenson -- are already committed to UT.

TEXAS

Total commits: 17
ESPN 300 commits: 8
The latest: Texas picked up a pledge from Austin Westlake LB Breckyn Hager, a three-star recruit who was committed to Baylor. The previous staff passed on Baylor's Bryce Hager in 2010, even though he's the son of Texas all-time leading tackler Britt Hager. Stevenson, who committed nearly a year ago, took an official visit to Wisconsin this weekend but remains solid with Texas.

TEXAS TECH

Total commits: 10
ESPN 300 commits: 3
The latest: The Red Raiders' staff made an intriguing find in East Texas last week. Longview's Broderick Washington committed soon after he received his Texas Tech offer. He's playing offensive tackle right now for Longview, but Tech loves his toughness and mean style of play and plans to develop him as a nose guard at the next level.

WEST VIRGINIA

Total commits: 19
ESPN 300 commits: 3
The latest: West Virginia locked up a huge commitment last Monday when ESPN 300 CB Tyrek Cole flipped from Florida State. You don't see that too often. WVU defensive line coach Damon Cogdell coached Cole at Miramar High School in Florida last year. The Mountaineers also received a commitment from three-star ILB David Long on Sunday. This 2015 class is in terrific shape so far.

Big 12's top recruiting visits 

September, 26, 2014
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With four weekend games on tap this weekend, the Big 12 will have an opportunity to add some quality players. It’s already been an interesting week, as ESPN 300 defensive back Kevin Henry (Oklahoma State), athlete Tony Nicholson (Baylor), lineman Broderick Washington (Texas Tech) and linebacker Breckyn Hager (Texas, flipped from Baylor) already have declared their college futures.

Of the four games, only one involves a Big 12 team on the road. TCU travels toward the eastern Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex to face rival SMU. Here are two home games pitting Big 12 foes to keep an eye on, as it could be a big weekend for recruiting.

Texas at Kansas

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A rival recruiter believes Kevin Sumlin’s not-so-subtle message to former Texas A&M pledge DaMarkus Lodge could come back to haunt the Aggies. Plus, one of Florida’s top defensive commitments appears to be looking around.


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Weekend recruiting wrap: Big 12 

September, 23, 2014
Sep 23
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September has been an interesting month, and it’s only going to get even more intriguing in the land of recruiting. Texas flipped an ESPN 300 player, and Baylor landed another skill-position threat. Additionally, West Virginia made an impact on an ESPN 300 player, and Texas Tech looked west at a couple of big-time prospects.

Here are some of the highlights from the week of Big 12 recruiting.


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