NCF On The Trail: Big 12

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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:

video Adam McLean picked Penn State in April, but Ole Miss, Tennessee and others haven't stopped recruiting him, and his high school coach knows exactly why. DeMatha Catholic's 2016 class is shaping up to be one of the best ever in school history, and that's saying a lot.


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Weekend recruiting wrap: Big 12 

October, 21, 2014
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While West Virginia landed a commit at a much-needed position, Oklahoma hosted one of the nation's top-ranked players -- hoping to lure him away from his SEC commitment. Those were the highlights of the weekend in the Big 12, but here's a recap of the recruiting weekend, one that could lead to some much bigger results as October progresses.


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A lot of talent has already come off the board, but there’s still quality at the top of the ESPN 300 that could give at least 10 teams a shot at the second-best class. Plus, Penn State's James Franklin continues to be the most talked about coach in the Washington D.C. metro area.

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Best of the visits: Big 12

October, 19, 2014
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How unpredictable is the Big 12? Baylor is no longer undefeated, Kansas State topped Oklahoma in Norman, and TCU dominated Oklahoma State.

Perhaps "unpredictable" isn't the operative word. "Competitive" may be a better fit.

The Big 12 on Saturday made it a priority to expect the unexpected. West Virginia bested a Baylor team in contention for the College Football Playoff. The 41-27 West Virginia win was even sweeter when the Mountaineers picked up commitment No. 21 on Sunday in rising Florida DE Adam Shuler.



West Virginia pulled the big upset Saturday, but from a recruiting perspective, the big story of the day was ESPN 300 QB and Texas A&M commit Kyler Murray taking an official visit to Norman to take in the Oklahoma experience. Murray, the nation's top-ranked dual-threat quarterback, was seen hanging out with Steele Walker, an Oklahoma baseball commit, during the Kansas State-Sooners football game.

The big question: Is the visit just another opportunity to check out a different school and see how another program functions, or does it give the Aggies legitimate reason to believe Murray is weighing all of his options? Texas A&M has lost three in a row, including Saturday's 59-0 loss to Alabama.



TCU cruised to an easy win against Oklahoma State, and several 2016 athletes were in attendance. The Horned Frogs love their defensive commits, and a couple of players -- such as DE Demerick Gary and OLB/DE Sidney Murray left the game asking the same question: Is Fort Worth in the future?




Texas ended a two-game losing skid with a home win against Iowa State. The Longhorns had a pleasant surprise, as WR commit John Burt was in Austin on an unofficial visit. That's big news, considering Burt lives in Florida and still has an official visit option to Texas available.

One big visitor in attendance was ESPN Junior 300 DB Brandon Jones. Ranked the nation's No. 2 safety in the 2016 class, Jones enjoyed his time in Austin and is considering the Longhorns.



And after Texas' Week 8 win -- a game decided by a 21-yard field goal with time running out -- ESPN 300 WR Ryan Newsome, who is considering the Longhorns in his recruiting, had some fun with the Heisman voters.

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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Randy Edsall knows recruiting is the lifeblood of his program, and he is really impressing local coaches with his effort. Plus, don’t be surprised if you see NC State finish with a flurry.

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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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Ole Miss, Tennessee, Texas and Texas A&M are trying, but it’s going to take a lot to get Penn State defensive tackle commit Adam McLean to change his mind. Plus, James Franklin's ability to spread the Penn State brand in Washington, D.C., was on full display Monday afternoon.

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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.
Mississippi State's fast rise to No. 1 in the country will open even more doors for the Bulldogs in recruiting. Plus, even with all of Kentucky's success in Ohio, it couldn't stop the Buckeyes from taking away one of its commitments this weekend.

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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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World Famous 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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Perhaps the worst thing to happen to one of college’s most anticipated rivalries happened on Saturday.

Texas lost a home affair to Baylor. Minutes later, Oklahoma was upset on the road by TCU.

Then, the questions -- and the jokes -- started. Just in time for this weekend’s Texas-Oklahoma clash at the Cotton Bowl.

With the Longhorns and Sooners -- two of college football’s most storied programs -- suffering losses over the weekend, the Red River Showdown became an unexpected undercard for the upcoming weekend in Big 12 Conference football. The conference game of the week will pit Baylor hosting TCU, two undefeated and top-10 ranked teams coming off big wins.


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Tim Beckman is 1-17 in Big Ten games and questions about his future has hindered the Illini's recruiting efforts. Plus, Georgia Tech has surprised both on the field and on the recruiting trial.


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