NCF On The Trail: Big 12

Early Offer: Malik Jefferson's final 7 

November, 24, 2014
Nov 24
11:00
PM ET
Malik Jefferson reduced his list to seven schools on Monday, and though the list is hardly a surprise, recruiters think there are still some in store with the No. 35 player in the country.

Early Offer: Who will land Soso Jamabo? 

November, 20, 2014
Nov 20
11:00
PM ET
Soso Jamabo loved visits to UCLA and Notre Dame, but is it too early to count out the Texas schools? Plus, NC State added a key pledge on Wednesday that should give the Wolfpack much-needed help on the offensive line.

To continue reading this article you must be an Insider

UA jersey tour: Toby Weathersby

November, 20, 2014
Nov 20
8:14
PM ET
ESPN 300 offensive tackle Toby Weathersby remembers first receiving his varsity jersey. He didn’t have a favorite number, and he didn’t request a number.

He just wanted a jersey. It happened to be No. 66.

“Once I got it, it was just a jersey to me. I never knew why I had it,” Weathersby said. “Then I found out the reason why. My coach said I reminded him of Tony.”

“Tony” is Tony Ugoh, a Westfield High School graduate who played at Arkansas. Ugoh wore No. 66 before getting drafted in the second round of the 2007 NFL Draft, ultimately playing for the Indianapolis Colts, Detroit Lions and New York Giants.

Foreshadowing? Perhaps. Ugoh achieved greatness on the offensive line, and Weathersby, a Texas commit, is expected to follow suit. Weathersby was named an Under Armour All-American and participated in his American Family Insurance-sponsored Under Armour All-America Game jersey ceremony Thursday afternoon.

“It made me feel amazing. All the hard work has paid off,” Weathersby said. “I get to compete against the top guys in the country. I’m ready to put on for my city.”

A Houston native, Weathersby is the nation’s 11th-ranked offensive tackle, and he is No. 143 in the latest ESPN 300. Weathersby has been committed to Texas since March.

At 6-foot-5 and 292 pounds, Weathersby is a streamlined offensive lineman. It’s his physical nature and strength that makes him a player to watch. Weathersby said the UA Game, set for Jan. 2 in St. Petersburg, Florida, is the perfect setting to show what he’s capable of playing for Charlie Strong.

Don’t expect Weathersby to be a self-promoter. Off the field, he’s a quiet guy who understands that humility can get him far.

“Growing up, we didn’t have much,” Weathersby said. “Now that everything’s starting to happen, I’m just giving the glory to God. I just keep a smile on my face and keep pushing.

“A lot of people don’t know that I’m a real quiet dude. I speak when I’m spoken to. On the field, it’s different. I like to put people on their backs.”

Quick hits on Toby Weathersby

What’s your motivation? “My mom. It’s just me and her. We didn’t have much, and that pushed me to grind harder and get to where I need to be. I want to do it for her.”

Best UA Game player ever: “Jadeveon Clowney. That dude has a motor. I don’t know what happened to him when he was younger, but whatever he did, it shows on the field. He’s like a shark in the water. He’ll hit you, and he’ll make the play.”

Who do you want to line up against? “Whoever they put in front of me. I’ll use what I have to dominate.”

Thoughts of Charlie Strong: “He’s real down to earth. He doesn’t put on a show. He doesn’t pretend. He’s just him.”
A few weeks ago, Adam McLean was asked what it would take to back away from his Penn State pledge, and he said “nothing can change my mind.” Well, something happened and the ESPN 300 prospect is back on the market. Plus, Zach Gentry has been committed to Texas since May, but rumors sprouted Tuesday he was considering taking other official visits.

To continue reading this article you must be an Insider

ESPN Jr. 300: What to know in the Big 12 

November, 19, 2014
Nov 19
10:39
AM ET
video
With the latest ESPN Junior 300 rankings now live, one thing is for sure: The state of Texas has its share of players in the 2016 class.

Of the top 300 players, 39 are from Texas. Seven players in the top 30 are from the Lone Star State, including the nation’s top-ranked player, Texas A&M OT recruit Greg Little.

From a Big 12 perspective, OT Patrick Hudson is the highest ranked recruit. The 6-foot-5, 330-pound lineman, a Baylor pledge, jumped from No. 20 to No. 11, and he’s the nation’s second ranked offensive tackle.

Here are five things to watch involving players in the revised rankings:


To continue reading this article you must be an Insider

There have been some interesting names linked to the Florida opening, but several coaches believe Marshall's Doc Holliday could be a good recruiting fit in Gainesville. Plus, many expected ESPN 300 OT Chuma Edoga to flip from USC to Georgia, but it looks like the Trojans have won the battle in the end.


To continue reading this article you must be an Insider

UA jersey tour: Kendall Sheffield

November, 18, 2014
Nov 18
2:00
PM ET
There are many who believe ESPN 300 cornerback Kendall Sheffield is the poster child for how to go through the recruiting process.

Play like a champion. Garner interest from college scouts. Earn scholarships. Treat every scholarship with equal density. Refuse to publicly lean to a program.

Ask Sheffield about a favorite in his recruiting process, and expect an answer that will lead the most persistent, inquisitive person to nowhere. He's quick to say that he's "still wide open with 37 offers."

Ask the five-star cornerback about the Under Armour All-America Game, however, and get a completely different answer. Sheffield was awarded his commemorative jersey on Tuesday in a ceremony sponsored by American Family Insurance.

"It's a huge honor to be an Under Armour All-American. I'm very happy, very excited," Sheffield said. "I've always wanted to be an Under Armour All-American, since I was a little kid. "I just want to get there and have fun and compete."

Hearing Sheffield open up about the game is a treat of sorts, as he's naturally an actions-first kind of athlete. Sheffield prefers letting his game speak for itself -- and it's spoken loud enough for him to earn nearly 40 offers coast to coast.

At 6 foot and 181 pounds, Sheffield is the top-ranked player in Texas and the No. 3 cornerback in the nation. He is No. 8 in the ESPN 300 and has seen a steady rise in the 2015 rankings since its debut last season.

Sheffield's resume has everything college coaches want to hear. His fastest 40-yard dash is 4.37 seconds. He's a cover corner who doesn't mind making the big hits. If he's needed for special teams, he can be a reliable return man, as well.

The world will get a chance to judge for itself when Sheffield competes in the UA game in January. The big question now, however, is, where will Sheffield end up? He's taken official visits to USC, Ohio State and Florida State, and he recently was in Baton Rouge for an unofficial visit to LSU. Sheffield said he'll take an official visit to Alabama next month, and he's expecting to take an unofficial visit for Texas A&M's Thanksgiving game against LSU in College Station.

Sheffield said he plans on taking that fifth official visit. Which team will get it?

"I'm unsure right now," he said. "It'll be one of my 37 offers."

Sheffield will announce his college plans at the UA game. Until then, he's tight-lipped. One thing he won't keep close to the vest is the importance of having a position coach who will push him. He said the winning school will have a coach he can build a quality relationship with, in addition to someone who can potentially take him to the next level.

"That's important to me," Sheffield said. "Real important."

Quick hits on Kendall Sheffield

Best player to put on a UA jersey: "Jadeveon Clowney. He's a good athlete, and he was the No. 1 player coming out of high school. He also was the No. 1 draft pick."

Receiver you most want to compete against: "It doesn't matter. I just want to get there and compete."

Your jersey number: "I've always worn No. 11. It's a number I've worn since Little League."

Favorite football memory: "It was my sophomore year in my first year on varsity. I had my first interception, and it was a pick-six. It won the game for us."

Did you know? Sheffield wants to major in sports management. He said the schools he ultimately considers in his top list will have solid sports management programs.

Weekend recruiting wrap: Big 12 

November, 18, 2014
Nov 18
10:00
AM ET
video
The Big 12 had a relatively slow week, as three games were on tap. The result of the slow week, however, proved to be prosperous for Baylor, as the Bears landed a commit to increase its 2015 class to a baker's dozen.

Here's an in-depth look at how the weekend fared from a recruiting perspective:


To continue reading this article you must be an Insider

Duke has upped its recruiting efforts in ACC territory and that has helped reel in talented recruits such as ESPN Junior 300 TE Mark Birmingham. Plus, Arizona State already has three pledges from Louisiana thanks largely to the recruiting efforts of offensive coordinator Mike Norvell.

To continue reading this article you must be an Insider

Big 12 recruiting scorecard

November, 17, 2014
Nov 17
1:00
PM ET
Here is what's happening on the recruiting trail around the Big 12 this week:

BAYLOR
Total commits: 12
ESPN 300 commits: 3
The latest: As if Wide Receiver U needed any more help, the Bears appear to have found a stud for their 2016 class. Navasota (Texas) junior receiver Tren'Davian Dickson, who committed to Baylor in July, recorded 230 receiving yards and four touchdown receptions this weekend, extending his season TD total to 28.

IOWA STATE
Total commits: 11
ESPN 300 commits: 0
The latest: It's been a tough month so far for the Cyclones' recruiting class after junior college recruits Xavier Pegues, Tristan Nickelson and Larry Jefferson each backed out of their pledges. Those departures don't mean this class is falling apart, but it's a reminder that Iowa State might have to fight to keep some of its recruits who could be hearing from other schools.

KANSAS
Total commits: 14
ESPN 300 commits: 0
The latest: Junior college athlete Cory Butler flipped from Utah to Kansas this summer. He went back to Utah last week, committing to the Utes after taking an official visit. Butler could've been a receiver or defensive back for Kansas out of Los Angeles Harbor College, but he says he'll play cornerback at Utah.

KANSAS STATE
Total commits: 13
ESPN 300 commits: 0
The latest: Kansas State is one of the many programs lining up to get an official visit from big-time junior college receiver Dede Westbrook. He visited Oklahoma State on Saturday, says he'll be at Oklahoma this upcoming weekend and is scheduled to visit Manhattan on Nov. 28.

OKLAHOMA
Total commits: 14
ESPN 300 commits: 6
The latest: Oklahoma is one of the many schools pushing to land ESPN 300 linebacker Darrin Kirkland Jr. after he decommitted from Michigan this month. After taking his official visit to Norman last week, his next trip is expected to be to Tennessee. Getting the linebacker from Indianapolis on campus was huge, but Oklahoma is in for a fight to land him.

OKLAHOMA STATE
Total commits: 15
ESPN 300 commits: 4
The latest: Oklahoma State's brutal offensive line play has a lot to do with its current four-game losing streak, but the good news is help is on the way. The Pokes still have five offensive linemen committed for 2015, including juco tackles Brandon Pertile and Deya Mhiesen, who could help immediately. And despite their slide on the field this season, Oklahoma State has yet to take any hits to its recruiting class.

TCU
Total commits: 17
ESPN 300 commits: 0
The latest: The Horned Frogs are making an effort to get back in the mix with ESPN 300 receiver Ryan Newsome. The 5-foot-8 speedster and elite returner has taken visits to Ole Miss, Tennessee, Oklahoma and UCLA recently, but is still considering Texas and the possibility to staying close to home.

TEXAS
Total commits: 18
ESPN 300 commits: 9
The latest: Three big-time commits -- Toby Weathersby, DeShon Elliott and Du'Vonta Lampkin -- took a visit to Texas A&M this weekend, but they remain committed to Texas. The Longhorns' top recruiting target, Malik Jefferson, was also on an official visit to watch A&M's rain-drenched 34-27 loss to Missouri.

TEXAS TECH
Total commits: 14
ESPN 300 commits: 5
The latest: Despite the loss to Oklahoma, Texas Tech had a big-time recruiting weekend for its home finale. Early signee Breiden Fehoko made the trip from Hawaii along with ESPN 300 guard Fred Ulu-Perry Jr., a UCLA commit. The Red Raiders also got the final official visit of four-star safety Kahlil Haughton.

WEST VIRGINIA
Total commits: 22
ESPN 300 commits: 3
The latest: The Mountaineers get a great opportunity to win over some recruits with their home game Thursday night against Kansas State. Two ESPN Junior 300 recruits, defensive end Rahshaun Smith receiver Steven Smothers, are expected to be in attendance. Considering how critical the state of Maryland is to West Virginia's recruiting efforts, getting two of that state's best for 2016 in town would be huge.
ESPN 300 receiver Tyron Johnson said he’s “80 percent” sure of where he’s going but things could change dramatically if LSU steps up its pursuit. The battle to land Nick Brossette will be one of the biggest storylines heading into the final months of recruiting.

To continue reading this article you must be an Insider

Best of the visits: Big 12

November, 16, 2014
Nov 16
2:50
PM ET
When Texas needed to produce, it responded in huge fashion and earned bowl eligibility. TCU did just enough to win, but it may have damaged its College Football Playoff hopes. And when Texas Tech thought it was in the driver's seat for a win, Oklahoma used a big fourth quarter to pull away and earn an important road win.

There were only three Big 12 games on tap Saturday, but each game had its own major storyline. Additionally, Texas Tech and Oklahoma State both hosted a handful of visitors over the weekend. Here are some highlights from recruiting visits around the conference.

Oklahoma State falls, but recruits enjoy Stillwater

Texas earned bowl eligibility in defeating Oklahoma State, 28-7. While it was the third consecutive win for the Longhorns, it also was the Cowboys' fourth straight loss. Fortunately for Oklahoma State, recruits on official visits said they still had a great time in Stillwater. One of the biggest targets in attendance was four-star DT Darrion Daniels, who also is considering Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Baylor, Texas and several other schools -- including his father's alma mater, Texas Tech. Darrion's father is former Red Raiders DE Tony Daniels, but don't expect the younger Daniels to make any decisions without making his own judgments.


High three-star LB Christian Folau made Stillwater his first official visit over the weekend. Wisconsin is believed to be high on the Utah prospect's recruiting list, but Oklahoma State may have shot up the charts after what was a productive trip.


California high three-star OL Vaimoe Sekona committed to Oklahoma State on Oct. 27, and he was excited about his official visit. Although the team didn't get the win, Sekona had a chance to spend time with his future unit.


Part of an official visit for some schools involves getting the opportunity to spend time with the coaching staff off campus. Junior college WR Dede Westbrook may have been most impressed with the home of Mike Gundy.


High three-star DB Montrel Wilson has offers from Baylor, Arkansas and a few other schools, but he made the trip to Stillwater with high school teammate Randall Friday to take in the environment.
Texas Tech hosts ESPN 300 OL among others

For 2 1/2 quarters, it looked as though Texas Tech would get a big home win against Oklahoma. The Sooners, however, turned up their game in the second half and left Lubbock with a 42-30 victory. ESPN 300 OL Fred Ulu-Perry Jr., the nation's fourth-ranked offensive guard, was in Lubbock on an official visit. It was a huge opportunity for the Red Raiders, as Ulu-Perry has been a UCLA commit since July. Ulu-Perry, from Honolulu, is good friends with fellow Honolulu prospect and ESPN 300 athlete -- and Texas Tech commit -- Breiden Fehoko.


Another big visitor in town was Kahlil Haughton. The four-star safety had taken official visitors to Oklahoma, Nebraska, Arkansas and Baylor. Texas Tech was his final official visit. The Red Raiders are hoping Haughton's last visit made the biggest impact.


ESPN Junior 300 DT Mike Williams continues to make trips to various locations. A rising name in the 2016 class, Williams said he was impressed with what the Red Raiders had to offer on and off the field, regardless of the outcome of the game.


You can bet that Kliff Kingsbury & Co. are always looking to recruit for the future. 2017 OL Jack Anderson is expected to be one of the nation's top-ranked recruits when he is a senior. Anderson has visited Lubbock before, and there's a reason why he comes back.
Kansas loses, but impresses against TCU

Many dislike giving credit to moral victories, but after watching Kansas play TCU, a moral victory for the Jayhawks is warranted. Kansas fell, 34-30, to the No. 4 team in the College Football Playoff rankings, and it showed for the second consecutive week that it is playing a new level of confidence under interim coach Clint Bowen. One player in Lawrence was 2016 Jack Domandle, a 6-foot-4, 270-pound interior offensive lineman who made the unofficial visit from Nebraska. The two-year starter is looking to become a household name in the spring. He not only enjoyed his trip to Kansas but also nearly watched one of the biggest college football upsets of the year.


While he was unable to make the trip to Lawrence, RB Aubrey White, the Jayhawks' lone 2016 pledge, made sure he was keeping his eyes and ears on the game. Although the Jayhawks couldn't score the win, he's still excited about the future.

UA jersey tour: Daylon Mack

November, 14, 2014
Nov 14
2:40
PM ET
Picture a 6-foot-1, 330-pound athlete running full speed to make a play -- as a defensive tackle and a short-yard running back.

That’s Daylon Mack, an ESPN 300 defensive tackle who also sees time in the backfield on offensive plays.

Now picture the guy lined up against Mack, who has run the 40-yard dash in 4.8 seconds. Imagine that guy’s thoughts.

“No chance,” said Mack, the Gladewater (Texas) High School standout.


To say Mack has been dominant at the high school level is an understatement. As the nation’s No. 3 defensive tackle, Mack has five sacks on the year and has been a problem for offensive lineman throughout his high school career. He was rewarded for his play Friday during an Under Armour All-America Game jersey ceremony sponsored by American Family Insurance.

But as good as he is on the defensive line, Mack has been a solid ground-game option on offense. As a burly fullback, Mack has scored eight touchdowns this season.

Let Mack tell it, it’s all about being a well-balanced football player and a respected athlete on the field.

“That’s real important to me. I think I learned a lot of that just going through camps,” Mack said. “I have to know technique, and I learned that you’re always going to see someone as athletic as you. I think because of camps, I’m 1,000 times better than I was last year.”

Mack is hoping that athleticism will allow him to see immediate playing time as a freshman in college. Mack is committed to Texas A&M and has been committed since October 2013. Mack, however, added that he still wants to take an official visit to LSU, and he was at TCU on an official visit when the Horned Frogs beat Texas Tech, 82-27, last month.

Mack also will take an official visit to Texas A&M. No dates have been set for the LSU and Texas A&M visits as of yet. Mack’s current priority is to help to advance his team as far in the postseason as possible.

As for being an Under Armour All-American, consider it a bucket-list item happening in roughly six weeks.

“It feels great,” Mack said. “It’s something I’ve been looking at for the longest. Since the seventh grade, I’ve wanted to play in this. I have a chance of a real dream coming true.”

Quick hits on Daylon Mack

Best UA Game player ever: “Myles Garrett. I saw him destroy it last year.”

Better feeling: Scoring TDs or getting sacks? “I’d have to say getting touchdowns. It’s something a defensive lineman doesn’t feel. Sacks are great, too. Whichever changes the game, I guess.”

Why do you wear your number? “I wear 34, but I really want to wear No. 5 in college. I want to wear a single-digit number.”

Favorite football memory: “Last year, I ran a 3-yard touchdown against Henderson (Texas) to get us in the playoffs. Then I ran a 67-yard touchdown at Atlanta (Texas) to get us to the third round.”

What Texas A&M’s #WRTS [We Run The State] hashtag means to you: “It’s just really a hashtag. I feel like it’s a true hashtag with Texas teams, but it’s just a hashtag. It’s helped us bring players in, though.”

Did you know … “I’m a big fan of SpongeBob.”

Big 12's top recruiting visits 

November, 14, 2014
Nov 14
9:00
AM ET
It’s a three-game week in the Big 12, but two of those three games will have a few big-time official visitors in attendance.

Kansas will host TCU, and several committed and uncommitted players will continue monitoring if the Horned Frogs can stay in the top four in the College Football Playoff race. Others will continue to pay attention to how the Jayhawks are doing under the Clint Bowen era, particularly after the Jayhawks scored a 34-14 win against Iowa State last week.

There are two other games on tap Saturday that have potential to see players commit -- and, perhaps, a player or two decommit and/or flip.


To continue reading this article you must be an Insider

Baton Rouge (Louisiana) Central receiver Terrell Chatman committed to Miami early on, but that hasn’t stopped other schools from coming after him. His teammate, Kevin Henry, is working hard to ensure he’ll end up at Oklahoma State.


To continue reading this article you must be an Insider

SPONSORED HEADLINES