NCF On The Trail: Iowa State Cyclones

Big 12 recruiting scorecard

February, 23, 2015
Feb 23
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Junior day season is still underway, and that means a lot more offers and new names on the radar. Here's the latest on the 2016 recruiting trail in the Big 12:

BAYLOR
Total commits: 5
ESPN Junior 300 commits: 3
The latest: Baylor running back commit Kameron Martin received an offer from Texas last week, but so far that move hasn't been enough to flip him. The ESPN Junior 300 back is a cousin of former Texas great Jamaal Charles and has called UT his "dream school," but Baylor was the first to offer and he's been a loyal pledge to the Bears since July 2014.

IOWA STATE
Total commits: 0
ESPN Junior 300 commits: 0
The latest: The Cyclones were the first to offer 6-foot-5 tight end T.J. Hockenson of Chariton, Iowa. He landed his offer during a junior day visit and put up serious numbers as a junior: 73 catches, 1,116 yards and 18 touchdowns. Hockenson is expected to take a junior day trip to Kansas State as well.

KANSAS
Total commits: 2
ESPN Junior 300 commits: 0
The latest: The Jayhawks locked up their second commitment of 2016 from Antoine Frazier, a 6-foot-5, 250-pound offensive tackle from Huffman, Texas, who pledged one day after receiving an offer. Frazier was a high school teammate of KU early enrollee receiver Chase Harrell at Huffman.

KANSAS STATE
Total commits: 2
ESPN Junior 300 commits: 0
The latest: One of the many recruits hoping for an offer at Kansas State's junior day Feb. 28 will be Ian Rudzik, a linebacker/running back from Ulysses, Kansas, who visited KU earlier this month. The 6-foot-1, 215-pound junior is drawing interest from Arizona State and Minnesota, but a KSU offer might end his recruitment quickly.

OKLAHOMA
Total commits: 3
ESPN Junior 300 commits: 1
The latest: Though Oklahoma only picked up one commitment from its junior day last weekend, the Sooners did make progress with a number of key targets in the state of Texas. ESPN Junior 300 defensive end Marvin Terry, defensive tackle Chris Daniels and lineman Kellen Diesch all emerged with positive reviews and will be intriguing targets moving forward.

OKLAHOMA STATE
Total commits: 2
ESPN Junior 300 commits: 0
The latest: Oklahoma State went to the juco ranks for its second pledge of 2016. Fort Scott (Kansas) Community College cornerback Malik Kearse picked the Cowboys on Thursday. He originally hails from Miami, but an elbow injury in his senior year of high school meant no offers. Kearse logged two interceptions and 10 pass breakups in his first year at Fort Scott.

TCU
Total commits: 8
ESPN Junior 300 commits: 3
The latest: TCU hosted another big junior day on Saturday and received a commitment from offensive lineman Austin Myers of Manvel, Texas. The Horned Frogs also made offers to ATH Tyrell Alexander, TE Donte Coleman and 2017 ATH Roshauud Paul and were able to get ESPN Junior 300 running back Trayveon Williams and corner Jared Mayden on campus.

TEXAS
Total commits: 3
ESPN Junior 300 commits: 2
The latest: Texas made a ton of offers this week, and most of them went to quarterbacks. LSU commit Feleipe' Franks, Oregon commit Seth Green, Texas Tech commit Tristen Wallace and Baylor commit Zach Smith all picked up Texas offers, as did uncommitted passers Xavier Gaines, Woody Barrett and Bowman Sells. Considering the Horns' depth issues at QB, taking two in this class might make sense.

TEXAS TECH
Total commits: 3
ESPN Junior 300 commits: 0
The latest: The Red Raiders landed their third commitment of the 2016 class from running back Da'Leon Ward of powerhouse Dallas Skyline. The all-purpose back picked Tech over TCU and rushed for 1,779 yards and 20 touchdowns as a junior, but he is still expected to take more visits despite his pledge.

WEST VIRGINIA
Total commits: 4
ESPN Junior 300 commits: 0
The latest: West Virginia is reportedly expected to get an unofficial visit from defensive end Shavar Manuel this spring. The nation's No. 2 overall 2016 recruit has Florida State in the lead following his FSU junior day trip, but WVU is on Manuel's list of upcoming trips along with Clemson, Florida, LSU and Virginia Tech.

Roundtable: Junior college impact

February, 12, 2015
Feb 12
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The past several days, we've focused on the incoming freshmen in the Big 12. In today's Big 12 roundtable, we're focusing on the junior college transfers:

Which junior-college transfer will make the biggest impact in 2015?

Chatmon: The door is wide open for receiver DeDe Westbrook to make a major impact for Oklahoma. The Sooners need playmaking receivers, and Westbrook fits the mold. He could be a terrific running mate with Sterling Shepard in Lincoln Riley’s version of the "Air Raid" offense, with the ability to line up in the slot or outside. Westbrook is the No. 14 player the ESPN JC50 as a four-star recruit from Blinn (Texas) Junior College.

Olson: Oklahoma State pulled off one of the better surprise coups of the final week of recruiting by flipping Chris Carson from Georgia. When you look at OSU's running back situation, it's clear he's going to get a lot of work in 2015. He's a complete back and a workhorse capable of answering a big question mark about the Cowboys' offense.

Trotter: I'm a huge fan of both Westbrook and Carson, and I think they are probably the two early favorites to contend for Big 12 Offensive Newcomer of the Year honors. But on the other side of the ball, incoming Texas defensive end Quincy Vasser could also have a huge impact. The Longhorns are searching for a replacement for Cedric Reed, and Vasser, an ESPN JC50 signee, has the skill set to step in and be a starter from Day 1. It won't hurt him, either, that Texas will have a new defensive line coach, meaning Vasser should open spring ball on equal footing with the returners.

Which junior college transfer is flying too far under the radar?

Chatmon: It worked the first time, right? Receiver Ka'Raun White was somehow overlooked during the recruiting process despite his brother Kevin White becoming a Biletnikoff finalist for the Mountaineers last fall. From his hair free flowing out of the back of his helmet to his ability to run away from defenders, Ka'Raun will spark memories of his older brother. West Virginia needs immediate help at the receiver position, so Dana Holgorsen’s program will be hoping it goes two-for-two with receiver recruits from the White family.

Olson: I've been keeping an eye on Ke'aun Kinner since 2012, when he was perhaps the most productive back in the DFW Metroplex out of Little Elm, Texas. He rushed for more than 2,900 yards and 28 touchdowns as a senior but never had the grades to go FBS. At Navarro College, he earned All-America honors in 2014 with more than 1,800 yards of offense and 22 TDs. He packs a lot of electricity into his 5-foot-9 frame, and I bet he'll be productive right away at Kansas.

Trotter: Carson could very well make a huge splash for Oklahoma State, but I'm also intrigued by the other running back they signed, Todd Mays. The East Mississippi Community College product can do it all, including play quarterback, running back, and receiver. He doesn't possess Tyreek Hill's world-class speed. But he can fill the role that Hill did this past season in the Oklahoma State offense as a running back/slot receiver combo player. He could also help the Cowboys on returns, and, who knows, maybe be a threat to pass off trick plays, too.

What team will see the biggest overall impact from its junior college class?

Chatmon: The Mountaineers didn’t need major junior college help, but they got it anyway with White, ESPN JC50 cornerback Rasul Douglas and two other junior college signees (Xavier Pegues, Larry Jefferson) who can help immediately. Douglas will add to secondary that already could be the Big 12’s best unit and Pegues, and Jefferson could kick start the pass rush in 2015.

Olson: I'm definitely a fan of the junior college haul that Oklahoma State put together. Carson is going to get most of the headlines, but defensive tackle Motekiai Maile has the potential to be a monster up the middle. Antwan Hadley is a big 6-foot-4 cornerback, and I'm excited to see what Mike Gundy's staff does with Mays. He's a true athlete -- quarterback/running back/receiver -- and potentially a pretty fun weapon.

Trotter: Overall, the answer to this might be Kansas or Iowa State. Underscoring several immediate needs, the two signed a combined 14 junior college transfers. The Cyclones are banking that ESPN JC50 defensive tackle Demond Tucker can instantly boost what was the nation's worst statistical defense last season. With the fewest returning starters in the league, the Jayhawks will also need multiple contributions out of its massive junior college class.

Coaches' poll: Favorite Big 12 recruits

February, 12, 2015
Feb 12
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video
College recruiters rarely care about star ratings. They're looking for all sorts of other things: scheme fit, projection, growth potential, maturity, even track times. So once signing day passed, we asked.

We polled more than a dozen anonymous Big 12 coaches and recruiting coordinators for their favorite prospects in the 2015 class -- both the kids they signed and the ones they wanted.

[+] EnlargePatrick Vahe, Josh Wariboko
Gerry Hamilton/ESPNOne Big 12 recruiter predicts offensive guard Patrick Vahe (at left), a Longhorns' 2015 signee, will be "a good one" at the collegiate level.
Most of the recruits they named were under-the-radar finds. By now, you already know all about the elite signees such as Malik Jefferson, Jarrett Stidham and Breiden Fehoko. We were looking for the recruits who might not be big names now but are poised to make a big impact in the conference for years to come.

Here are 25 players that Big 12 recruiters liked in the class of 2015:

Baylor OG Riley Daniel: "Riley is a huge human. Schools got on him late. If you make a mistake in recruiting, make it big."

Baylor WR Blake Lynch: "Like him a lot. We had a hard time projecting where we saw him last spring position-wise, but I liked him a lot. At first we were thinking safety and we fell in love with him, but we were too late."

Baylor LB Jordan Williams: "Tremendous upside. I think he's athletic enough to play inside or outside with great tenacity. When I went to see him I said, 'How did we not know about this guy earlier?' Everybody had him at 5-11 and 190. He's 6-1 and 217."

Iowa State WR Hakeem Butler: "He’s got huge hands, good 40, good vert in a big body. He played AAU basketball, now football will become his focus. His ceiling is really high. Four or five years from now people could be looking back like ... how did Iowa State get that guy?"

Iowa State DE Seth Nerness: "Seth Nerness is a great kid. He plays with a great attitude and work ethic."

Kansas DE Dorance Armstrong: "That kid has a body on him and he can run. No idea how other people didn't get him. He had like 20 offers and comes from a big program. Watch him and he's every bit of what you'd want to recruit. That was a steal."

Kansas TE Jace Sternberger: "Jace is a coach’s son. Small-school, multiple-sport athlete. He shows his athleticism on the basketball court. He could blow up once he’s committed to one sport."

Kansas State DT Trey Dishon: "Trey is a big athlete. Everyone slept on him."

Kansas State DB Johnny Durham: "Jonathan plays with a very high football IQ. He’s always in the right spot and deceptively fast. I would compare him to Ty Zimmerman."

Oklahoma RB Rodney Anderson: "Anderson is a freak. He’s the real deal. Size, speed, power. He’s a no-brainer."

Oklahoma WR John Humphrey Jr.: "A guy that I really liked in camps. He was a fast kid, came out of nowhere and can really run. I see him playing corner, to be honest, because of his feet and speed. With his change of direction and how fast he is, there's something about that kid."

Oklahoma CB P.J. Mbanasor: "Potentially really good player. I watched him and researched him and he was fluid and really played transition well. Big corners who can run are hard to come by."

Oklahoma State RB Chris Carson: "I think they may have gotten the best back in this signing class. He’s a Newcomer of the Year-type possibility."

Oklahoma State CB Antwan Hadley: "He has a safety body playing corner. Tall and long with a nose for the ball. He played against good people, too."

Oklahoma State S Kenneth McGruder: "McGruder is a stud. Big, physical, a leader. He’s a big-time safety. That’s the enforcer you want."

TCU S Arico Evans: "One kid that I think is really going to be good. He was an athletic quarterback who has that 'it' factor. He was his whole (high school) team, he knows how to play and has real upside. He's going to thrive in Gary Patterson's defense and can even grow into a linebacker."

TCU CB Julius Lewis: "Julius is a good athlete. Multiple-sport athlete, which limited his exposure in spring ball. He played both ways, which questioned what position he would play."

TCU C Jozie Milton: "Reminds you of Joey Hunt, a hardcore guy. He had all kinds of offers, but a lot of people in Texas probably didn’t see him coming. Physical, smart and you like that he can call signals."

Texas TE Devonaire Clarington: "He’s very talented. He’s just a nightmare for DBs with that size and speed. He’s probably going to end up being an NFL guy."

Texas OG Patrick Vahe: "He probably gets lost in the shuffle and gets forgotten because he committed so early. He’s going to be a good one. Tough player."

Texas Tech WR Tony Brown: "He's smooth, a good route runner. He's a good get for them. Kliff [Kingsbury] got some good receivers."

Texas Tech RB Corey Dauphine: "I like him a lot. He was a good player and a 200-meter guy. Big, physical and fast. I have a feeling he’ll cause people a lot of problems before he’s done."

Texas Tech LB D'Vonta Hinton: "Under the radar because of his height, but just a freaking football player with instincts."

West Virginia LB David Long: "He's not the biggest guy, but he plays bigger than his size. Reminds you a lot of Karl Joseph coming out of high school, a guy who can cover a big space. He's a good fit for the Big 12."

West Virginia DE Adam Shuler: "He didn’t get all of the attention and all of that but I think he has the chance to be a special player."

Re-grading the Big 12 classes of 2011

February, 10, 2015
Feb 10
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The only fair way to judge a recruiting class is waiting four years, right? Last week, we broke down how the Big 12's top signees of 2011 panned out. Today, we're re-ranking those classes and handing out new letter grades.

1. Kansas State Wildcats
2011 grade: C+
2015 grade: B+
Top signees: WR Tyler Lockett, OT Cody Whitehair, DE Meshak Williams, S Dante Barnett, WR Curry Sexton
Breakdown: Lockett became an all-time K-State great, and Bill Snyder's staff developed a lot of standout players from this class. Lockett and Whitehair were two-stars who'll finish as four-year starters. Don't forget that Williams was the Big 12's Defensive Lineman of the Year in 2012. KSU did count transfers Arthur Brown and Bryce Brown toward this class, too, and Arthur did earn conference Newcomer of the Year honors.

2. TCU Horned Frogs
2011 grade: N/A
2015 grade: B+
Top signees: CB Jason Verrett, QB Trevone Boykin, S Chris Hackett, DT Davion Pierson, DT Chucky Hunter
Breakdown: Not bad for a Mountain West class, eh? The class that inked a month after TCU's Rose Bowl victory produced a Big 12 Offensive Player of the Year in Boykin and a Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year in Verrett. While they became stars, four-star WRs LaDarius Brown and Brandon Carter were kicked off the team and 11 more members of this 24-man class ended up leaving TCU.

3. Texas Longhorns
2011 grade: A
2015 grade: B
Top signees: DB Quandre Diggs, RB Malcolm Brown, DE Cedric Reed, WR Jaxon Shipley, LB Steve Edmond
Breakdown: ESPN's No. 5-ranked class did not meet those lofty expectations, but 17 of the Longhorns' 22 signees have started at least one game and it's possible a dozen will end up starting multiple seasons. There weren't many bad busts among this group, nor were there many All-Big 12 players. Losing QB David Ash and OT Josh Cochran to career-ending injuries was a difficult blow.

4. Texas Tech Red Raiders
2011 grade: B-
2015 grade: B
Top signees: TE Jace Amaro, OT Le'Raven Clark, WR Jakeem Grant, LB Pete Robertson, RB DeAndre Washington
Breakdown: There's a lot to like about this group. Amaro became a second-round NFL draft pick and 10 other signees from this class ended up being quality starters in 2014. All but two were three-star finds. The only reason why this class isn't a solid B+ is its 12-24 record in Big 12 games.

5. Baylor Bears
2011 grade: C+
2015 grade: B
Top signees: OT Spencer Drango, DT Beau Blackshear, CB K.J. Morton, P Spencer Roth, OG Desmine Hilliard
Breakdown: Drango became an All-American in 2014 and is back for more. Blackshear will be a three-year starter, and Morton was a juco find who became a critical piece to the 2013 defense. Don't sleep on WR Jay Lee, either. The only concern with this group is Baylor signed a smaller class of 19 and at least seven haven't panned out. Plus, Shawn Oakman signed with Penn State as a three-star recruit in 2011. If we counted him in, the letter grade certainly improves.

6. Oklahoma State Cowboys
2011 grade: B
2015 grade: B-
Top signees: DE James Castleman, LB Ryan Simmons, WR Josh Stewart, RB Desmond Roland, QB J.W. Walsh
Breakdown: The prized gem of this No. 23-ranked class, RB Hershel Sims, did not last long in Stillwater. But the rest of the class Mike Gundy and his staff assembled included some major contributors, led on defense by Castleman, Simmons and DE Jimmy Bean. Stewart went pro a year too early. Walsh and OT Devin Davis have been plagued by injuries but can make comebacks in 2015.

7. Kansas Jayhawks
2011 grade: B-
2015 grade: C-
Top signees: LB Ben Heeney, CB JaCorey Shepherd, WR/RB Tony Pierson, DE Michael Reynolds, LB Jake Love
Breakdown: Four-star signees QB Brock Berglund and RB Darrian Miller both transferred (Berglund is on his fourth school now), but Heeney was an absolute gem as a two-star. KU signed 28, found about eight decent starters and a lot more who haven't made much of an impact. We'll see if Michael Cummings, who's started 12 games over two seasons, is the answer at quarterback.

8. West Virginia Mountaineers
2011 grade: C+
2015 grade: C-
Top signees: LB Nick Kwiatkoski, CB Terrell Chestnut, LB Isaiah Bruce, DT Shaq Rowell, RB Andrew Buie
Breakdown: Remember, this class was secured while West Virginia was still in the Big East. Their recruiting has certainly improved since joining the Big 12. Kwiatkoski and Bruce have combined for 44 starts, and Chestnut emerged this season. WVU still hasn't gotten a whole lot from its skill position takes in 2011, and QB Paul Millard's stint as a starter was brief.

9. Oklahoma Sooners
2011 grade: B+
2015 grade: D+
Top signees: DT Jordan Phillips, LB Frank Shannon, OG Nila Kasitati, DT Jordan Wade, LB P.L. Lindley
Breakdown: This class, ranked No. 11 by ESPN, was a total mess. Half of the 18 signees ended up transferring, two elected to give up football and prized WR Trey Metoyer was kicked off the team. With Phillips going pro early, only five members of the class are still on campus. And that includes Shannon, who was suspended for the 2014 season. At least transfers Brandon Williams (Texas A&M) and Kendal Thompson (Utah) are doing OK elsewhere.

10. Iowa State Cyclones
2011 grade: C-
2015 grade: D+
Top signees: QB Sam B. Richardson, WR Quenton Bundrage, CB Sam E. Richardson, LB Jevohn Miller, OG Jamison Lalk
Breakdown: This is not the easiest group to evaluate. The highest-rated signees, RB DeVondrick Nealy and WR Tad Ecby, were dismissed from the program last week. Bundrage might be the best of the bunch when he recovers from his torn ACL. ISU found a handful of starters from this 2011 class, but most of them still have a lot to prove.

Big 12 2015 recruiting in review 

February, 10, 2015
Feb 10
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video
While the Big 12 didn’t place several teams among the nation’s top recruiting classes, the conference did a solid job on the recruiting trail in the 2015 class. Seven Big 12 programs earned a spot among the top 40 recruiting classes, including No. 9 Texas and No. 17 Oklahoma.

Here's a look at the top storylines from the 2015 recruiting cycle in the Big 12.

Texas finished strong to sit atop the Big 12 recruiting rankings with the nation's No. 9 class. Six other conference schools joined UT among the Top 40 classes in the nation, including Texas Tech who finished with four ESPN 300 signees, more than back-to-back Big 12 champion Baylor.

Here's a closer look at the final team rankings and the headline signees for each class.

No. 9 Texas
ESPN 300 signees: 14
ESPN JC50 signees: 0
Headliner: Mesquite (Texas) Poteet linebacker Malik Jefferson is the face of the class as his decision to become a part of UT’s class helped spark a strong finish to Charlie Strong’s first full recruiting cycle on the 40 acres. The No. 31 player in the ESPN 300 is already on campus and could emerge as a contributor as a true freshman.
The story: The Longhorns ended strong by flipping ESPN 300 receiver Ryan Newsome and former Oregon commit P.J. Locke on signing day then landing ESPN 300 running back Chris Warren to round out a solid class. In addition, UT filled a major potential hole in the class by securing former Florida State commit Kai Locksley at quarterback.
What they said: “It’s so great to see the way we ended with this class.” — UT coach Charlie Strong

No. 17 Oklahoma
ESPN 300 signees: 8
ESPN JC50 signees: 2
Headliner: Pflugerville (Texas) Hendrickson cornerback P.J. Mbanasor is a elite prospect at a need position for the Sooners. The No. 74 player in the ESPN 300 brings size (6-foot-1, 183 pounds) and athleticism to OU’s secondary.
The story: OU signed six defensive backs in total with an eye on improving a pass defense that was among the worst in the nation in 2014. Five of the six defensive backs are four-star prospects.
What they said: “I believe it's probably the best secondary class I've been a part of signing.” — OU coach Bob Stoops

No. 32 Baylor
ESPN 300 signees: 3
ESPN JC50 signees: 1
Headliner: Stephenville (Texas) quarterback Jarrett Stidham appeared headed to Texas Tech before deciding he’d rather trigger Baylor’s offensive attack. The No. 37 player in the ESPN 300, Stidham is already on campus and preparing to battle to become the starter for Art Briles team.
The story: The Bears loaded up on skill position players with ESPN 300 members Stidham, receiver Devontre Stricklin and running back Ja'Mycal Hasty. The Bears also looked to address their secondary with five defensive back signees including four-star prospects J.W. Ketchum and Blake Lynch.
What they said: “We've reached the point now with our program, fortunately, where recruiting is all about filling the needs that we have, instead of just trying to get the best available.” — Baylor coach Art Briles

No. 34 Oklahoma State
ESPN 300 signees: 3
ESPN JC50 signees: 2
Headliner: Norman (Oklahoma) North quarterback John Kolar could end up being the perfect prospect to run the Cowboys offense during his time in Stillwater, Oklahoma. The No. 72 player in the ESPN 300 isn’t an instant impact player with Mason Rudolph's emergence as a true freshman but Kolar could end up being one of the Big 12’s top signees in the Class of 2015.
The story: The Cowboys had several positions to address, particularly offensive line and running back, and dipped into the junior college ranks to do answer those questions. Junior college running backs Chris Carson and Todd Mays join three junior college offensive linemen and UAB transfer offensive tackle Victor Salako to give the Pokes some immediate options.
What they said: “I’ve never been worried about that. I used to put a lot of stock in that, but we’ve had so many high-rated players with a good physical and mental makeup come in here, but just not be into it. Then, we get some guys who aren’t rated too high, but football is much more important to them.” — OSU coach Mike Gundy on this class being rated lower than previous classes.

No. 35 Texas Tech
ESPN 300 signees: 4
ESPN JC50 signees: 0
Headliner: Honolulu (Hawaii) Farrington defensive tackle Breiden Fehoko could end up being the top Big 12 signee in this class. The No. 51 player in the ESPN 300 was unwavering in his commitment to becoming a Red Raider. Now the work starts for Fehoko, who could emerge as a mainstay in the middle of Tech’s defense as early as this fall.
The story: Kliff Kingsbury’s program put in work on signing day, finishing as well as any team in the Big 12. Tech flipped former TCU commit J.F. Thomas, a four-star receiver, and ESPN 300 safety Jamile Johnson on Wednesday. Tech signed seven four-star prospects, a remarkable feat for a program that went 4-8 in 2014.
What they said: “A lot of these kids were committed before the season started. For them to stick with us through a rough year, it meant a lot to us as a staff.” —Texas Tech coach Kliff Kingsbury.

No. 36 West Virginia
ESPN 300 signees: 2
ESPN JC50 signees: 1
Headliner: Kevin White and Mario Alford aren’t walking through that door. But Miramar (Florida) receiver Jovon Durante is. The No. 126 player in the ESPN 300 could be just what the doctor ordered for WVU, bringing exceptional explosiveness at a need position. Nearly every school wanted Durante but the Mountaineers got him.
The story: The Mountaineers have done a terrific job of going into Florida along with other spots east of the Mississippi and selling themselves as the Big 12’s east coast option. Signees from Florida, Maryland, Virginia, Ohio and New Jersey decided to play college football in the Big 12. And don’t forget about Kevin White’s little brother, junior college signee Ka'Raun White.
What they said: “We made the decision to kind of remove ourselves from Texas just a little bit. Once we were competing against all of the schools in Texas it made it a little bit harder to get that caliber of player that we needed in order to be able to compete in the Big 12.” — WVU coach Dana Holgorsen.

No. 37 TCU
ESPN 300 signees: 0
ESPN JC50 signees: 0
Headliner: Monroe (Louisiana) Neville receiver Kavontae Turpin joins Metairie (Louisiana) East Jefferson cornerback DeShawn Raymond as the lone four-stars on the Horned Frogs’ signee list. Turpin could be a solid fit in TCU’s offense as an ideal slot receiver and Raymond has a eye on continuing the Horned Frogs’ trend of stellar cornerbacks.
The story: TCU struck out in some areas but the overall class is stocked with talented athletes for whom Gary Patterson will find the ideal fit into his program. The Horned Frogs added five receivers to the program with Turpin heading the list and being joined by Jaelan Austin, Tre'Vontae Hights, Tony James and Jarrison Stewart.

No. 59 Kansas State
ESPN 300 signees: 0
ESPN JC50 signees: 0
Headliner: DeSoto (Texas) defensive tackle Bryce English picked the Wildcats on signing day and appears to be a terrific fit in Bill Snyder’s program. The three-star prospect boasted several quality offers including Texas and UCLA. He may not play right away but he could turn out to be a terrific anchor.
The story: Once again the Wildcats class gets largely overlooked on signing day but several players including quarterback Alex Dalton and running back Alex Barnes could become key cogs in KSU’s offense in the near future.
What they said: “As we all know by now, it will be two or three years before we can accurately assess the quality of this or any recruiting class. Hopefully we have assessed the skills and intrinsic values of this year’s class accurately, but time will tell.” — KSU coach Bill Snyder

No. 61 Kansas
ESPN 300 signees: 0
ESPN JC50 signees: 0
Headliner: Houston North Shore defensive end Dorance Armstrong is a three-star prospect who picked KU over Cal, Michigan State and others. He’s quick and plays with plenty of energy so Armstrong could make an immediate impact.
The story: The Jayhawks did a solid job in Texas during David Beaty’s initial class with 17 of 24 signees from the state of Texas. The Jayhawks staff is full of coaches with solid recruiting ties in Texas and leaned on those relationships to land guys like Armstrong and Sherman (Texas) guard Aaron Garza.
What they said: “He had to be good and he had to be a Kansas guy. He had to be a guy that fit what we were looking for. If he didn't, we had to be courageous enough to turn the page.” — KU coach David Beaty.

No. 66 Iowa State
ESPN 300 signees: 0
ESPN JC50 signees: 1
Headliner: Hazlehurst (Mississippi) Copiah-Lincoln Community College defensive tackle Demond Tucker could be the most important signee in the Big 12. The Cyclones desperately need help in the defensive interior and the No. 28 player in the ESPN JC 50 could provide a stellar building block for Paul Rhoads.
The story: Tucker was one of five defensive linemen who inked with ISU, addressing a position that handcuffed the Cyclones for the bulk of the 2014 season. A combination of junior college defensive linemen and prep defensive line standouts could help Rhoads program set itself up for 2015 and beyond.
What they said: “Defensive linemen are the hardest position to recruit in all of the country. That’s true for every school. We needed to enhance that group and we did that with this class.” — Rhoads

Completed class: Iowa State Cyclones

February, 4, 2015
Feb 4
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Iowa State has announced its 2015 class:

ESPN JC50
Demond Tucker DT -- Copiah-Lincoln Community College MS

Three-stars
Jomal Wiltz CB -- Trinity Valley Community College TX
De'Amontae Jackson ILB -- North Marion High School FL
Jaypee Philbert OT -- Coffeyville Community College GA
Carson Epps WR -- Jenks High School OK
Bobby McMillen OLB -- Naperville Central High School IL
Jarnor Jones S -- Georgia Military College GA
Stephon Brown CB -- Kissimmee-Osceola High School FL
Joshua Thomas RB -- Buford High School GA
Bobby Leath DT -- Coffeyville Community College FL
Dominic DeLira QB-PP -- Lake Travis High School TX
Julian Good-Jones OT -- Washington High School IA
Denver Johnson WR -- Casady High School OK
Marcel Spears OLB -- Olathe North High School KS
Bryce Meeker OT -- Prairie High School IA
Seth Nerness DE -- Southlake Christian Academy NC
Jordan Wallace S -- John H. Guyer High School TX
Patrick Scoggins OG -- Long Beach City College CA

Ungraded
Sheldon Croney RB -- Garces Memorial High School CA
Josh Coleman DT -- University Christian High School FL
Landen Akers WR -- Washington Senior High School IA
Hakeem Butler WR -- Travis High School TX

Big 12 roundtable: Previewing signing day

February, 3, 2015
Feb 3
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With only one day left before signing day, we preview the big date in college football with our weekly Big 12 roundtable below:

Which signing day announcement intrigues you the most?

Trotter: Definitely Daylon Mack. The five-star defensive tackle, who is choosing between Texas A&M, Texas and TCU, could send an awfully strong message with his college announcement. The Gladewater, Texas, native could boost TCU's recruiting credibility by picking the Horned Frogs. He could underscore Texas' resurgence under Charlie Strong by heading to Austin. And, he could reaffirm A&M's recruiting hold on the state by going back to the Aggies. Whatever Mack chooses, it will be compelling.

Chatmon: It has to be Mack. Elite defensive tackles don't grow on trees and Mack has the ability to become the anchor of a defense during his collegiate career. Strong or Gary Patterson could build one of the Big 12‘s best defenses around the 6-foot-1, 330 pounder if he decides to sign with the Longhorns or Horned Frogs. All eyes should be on Mack on signing day as the rest of the Big 12 will have their fingers crossed that Mack gets out of the Big 12.

Olson: Yep, Mack is the obvious choice here. But I'll mention another I'm curious about: ESPN 300 running back Chris Warren III. He's done such a good job of keeping his cards close to the vest during this recruitment, but the reports that Soso Jamabo is leaning toward UCLA make Warren a must-get for Texas. You wonder if Oklahoma State and Texas Tech have a legit chance, too, or whether Washington quietly swung this one its way with Warren's official visit over the weekend. There is a nice, rare dose of mystery with this recruitment. We'll find out early Wednesday morning.

Who has the most to gain on signing day?

Trotter: The most signing day drama will likely come out of the Austin. In addition to Mack, the Longhorns are also still in on several ESPN 300 prospects, including Jamabo, wideout DaMarkus Lodge and Warren III. If the Longhorns come up big on signing day, they could finish with a top five class.

Chatmon: The Horned Frogs have the most to gain if Mack decides to become a foundational piece in TCU's defense. Not only could he pay immediate dividends as early as 2015, his signature would send a message that the Horned Frogs are here to stay as a force on the recruiting trail. Patterson's program has won head-to-head battles with some elite programs before but landing Mack is a different animal.

Olson: West Virginia and Oklahoma have some big-name targets taking it down to the wire, too. I'd be impressed if WVU can close with a couple wins in the battles for Jordan Cronkrite, Antonio Callaway and Gary Jennings. Oklahoma badly needs linebackers and I'm a fan of Arthur "Hulk" McGinnis. Closing with Joshua Wariboko and Prentice McKinney Jr. would be a real nice way to finish off this class.

Which class will have the biggest 2015 impact?

Trotter: With only eight returning starters, it's probably Kansas. The Jayhawks signed eight junior-college players for a reason. Iowa State will also be leaning heavy on its incoming juco class to make an impact on the defensive side. But freshmen to watch in 2015 include TCU cornerback DeShawn Raymond, Texas linebacker Malik Jefferson, Oklahoma State defensive tackle Darrion Daniels and Oklahoma cornerback P.J. Mbanasor.

Chatmon: Texas will have the best class and the biggest impact. Led by Jefferson, Strong's first recruiting class after a full year of evaluation will be full of players the Longhorns held high on their priority list. With 11 members of the ESPN 300 and 15 four-star prospects, the Class of 2015 will have plenty of talent. Five of the Longhorns' top seven tacklers were seniors in 2014 so several signees will get plenty of opportunities to make an immediate impact on defense.

Olson: I just don't think very many of the guys signing with TCU and Baylor will need to make an impact in 2015. Those programs are stockpiling for the future. Texas has to stockpile for now. This could be a class filled with players who can earn starting roles right away. And not just the obvious ones like Malik Jefferson and Mack. Holton Hill, DeShon Elliott, Kris Boyd, Brandon Hodges, Tristan Nickelson, Quincy Vasser, Patrick Vahe, Devonaire Clarington -- these are all potential starters in 2015. The Longhorns have a chance to go young and start building something big.

Big 12 recruiting scorecard

January, 26, 2015
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It's the most wonderful time of the year! Signing day is less than 10 days away. The second-to-last official visit weekend is in the books. Here's where the Big 12 recruiting classes stand entering the final stretch:

BAYLOR
Total commits: 18
ESPN 300 commits: 3
ESPN JC50 commits: 1
Class rank: 27th
The latest: The Bears added a fourth offensive lineman to their class on Sunday in the form of Ringling, Oklahoma, guard Riley Daniel. He chose Baylor after an official visit this weekend and a trip to Texas Tech last weekend. Baylor is also battling the Red Raiders for three-star Louisiana cornerback Henry Black, who visited Waco over the weekend.

IOWA STATE
Total commits: 18
ESPN 300 commits: 0
ESPN JC50 commits: 1
Class rank: Not ranked
The latest: Iowa State is searching for a running back to replace Devine Ozigbo, who flipped to Nebraska earlier this month. Might the answer be Joshua Thomas? The three-star back from Buford, Georgia, appears to be down to Iowa State and Wisconsin. A decision is expected soon. Thomas visited the Badgers this weekend. Another recruit to keep an eye on: Julian Good-Jones, the Cyclones' tackle commit who visited Louisville this weekend.

KANSAS
Total commits: 24
ESPN 300 commits: 0
ESPN JC50 commits: 0
Class rank: Not ranked
The latest: Kansas picked up five intriguing pledges from the state of Texas in the last week -- DE Dorance Armstrong, WR Jeremiah Booker, WR Steven Sims, LB Osaze Ogbebor and former Tulsa CB commit Shola Ayinde -- but also lost two significant commits over the weekend. On Sunday, three-star receiver Kevin Thomas flipped to SMU and three-star athlete Arico Evans made his flip to TCU.

KANSAS STATE
Total commits: 17
ESPN 300 commits: 0
ESPN JC50 commits: 0
Class rank: Not ranked
The latest: Kansas State will be a finalist for one Georgia prospect on signing day and will have to do some work to ensure another stays in the fold. Three-star defensive end G.G. Robinson, a Louisville commit, visited K-State over the weekend and hails from Lilburn, Georgia. Meanwhile, three-star OLB commit Mohamed Barry took an official visit to Nebraska and will make his final decision between KSU, Nebraska and Miami on Thursday.

OKLAHOMA
Total commits: 20
ESPN 300 commits: 8
ESPN JC50 commits: 3
Class rank: 17th
The latest: The Sooners are likely going to part ways with ESPN 300 defensive tackle Marquise Overton, whose ACT score has the OU staff concerned he won't qualify. A key target to take his place in the OU class is four-star Darrion Daniels. The Dallas defensive tackle visited Iowa this weekend and is expected to decide this week, though Texas Tech might be the favorite at the moment.

OKLAHOMA STATE
Total commits: 18
ESPN 300 commits: 3
ESPN JC50 commits: 1
Class rank: 35th
The latest: The Cowboys moved quickly to land ESPN 300 athlete Louis Brown after he parted ways with Texas last weekend. Brown took an official visit to OSU and made his commitment on Saturday night. The Burton, Texas, native will likely play defensive end. OSU also held its first junior day for the 2016 class this weekend.

TCU
Total commits: 24
ESPN 300 commits: 0
ESPN JC50 commits: 0
Class rank: 37th
The latest: The Horned Frogs loaded up on speed this weekend. First they secured a commitment from Kavontae Turpin, an electric receiver and returner from Monroe, Louisiana. Then came the commitment from Arico Evans, who'd pledged to Kansas earlier this month. He accounted for 34 total touchdowns as a quarterback at Dallas Hillcrest this season.

TEXAS
Total commits: 23
ESPN 300 commits: 9
ESPN JC50 commits: 1
Class rank: 9th
The latest: Texas had a big-time weekend with five-star DT Daylon Mack, ESPN 300 running back Soso Jamabo and ESPN 300 athlete Kai Locksley in town for official visits. Mack and Jamabo will announce their decisions on signing day. Locksley, an important QB target for Texas after losing Zach Gentry to Michigan, will go home and mull over whether he should flip from Florida State. The Horns also brought in Georgia DB commit Deandre Baker and Dominique Reed, the nation's No. 4 juco receiver. Texas also picked up a re-commitment on Monday from ESPN 300 wide receiver John Burt, who'd backed out earlier this month to reconsider Auburn.

TEXAS TECH
Total commits: 16
ESPN 300 commits: 3
ESPN JC50 commits: 0
Class rank: 33rd
The latest: The Red Raiders picked up a commitment last week from three-star offensive lineman Cody Wheeler of powerhouse Allen High School in Texas. He was one of the many official visitors in Lubbock over the weekend, a list headlined by ESPN 300 running back Chris Warren III. Three-star defensive end pledge Lonzell Gilmore visited Baylor over the weekend.

WEST VIRGINIA
Total commits: 24
ESPN 300 commits: 3
ESPN JC50 commits: 1
Class rank: 25th
The latest: In addition to landing a commitment from three-star lineman Rob Dowdy, West Virginia had a big-time weekend with three Florida studs visiting Morgantown: four-star Miami pledge RB Mark Walton, four-star Georgia commit WR Shaquery Wilson and ESPN 300 receiver Antonio Callaway. Another Florida native, four-star athlete Jordan Cronkrite, will decide between WVU and Florida on signing day.

Best of the visits: Big 12

January, 25, 2015
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Another busy weekend on the recruiting trail as visits and commitments are starting to give shape to each school’s recruiting class. The second-to-last weekend before signing day brought plenty of intrigue and some consternation (particularly in Austin, Texas).

Oklahoma State landed a commitment from ESPN300 athlete Louis Brown during his visit to Stillwater, Oklahoma, over the weekend. The Burton (Texas) prospect boasts offers from Texas, Baylor, Oklahoma, Oregon and others. A 6-foot-5, 210 pounds, Brown is a raw talent with extremely high upside and should be a good fit in OSU’s defense. The No. 267 player in the ESPN 300, Brown was a long-time UT commit who parted ways with the Longhorns during his official visit last weekend.
The Cowboys weren't the only team having success on the trail this past weekend, with TCU landing a pledge from Monroe (Louisiana) Neville's Kavontae Turpin. The receiver prospect picked the Horned Frogs during his visit to Fort Worth. At 5-foot-8, 145 pounds, Turpin could be a good fit for TCU's slot receiver role in its high-scoring attack. Three-star cornerback Henry Black spent his weekend in Waco, Texas, checking out Art Briles' program. A recent Bears offer, the Shreveport (Louisiana) Woodlawn prospect is a relatively raw talent with good size at 6-foot, 182 pounds. Iowa State is searching for help along its defensive line so seeing Jacksonville (Florida) Christian defensive lineman Josh Coleman in cardinal and gold is a good step forward. The Cyclones are hoping Coleman is a hidden gem that picks ISU in the end. Coleman is expected to visit Fresno State on Jan. 30. Texas hosted several top recruits over the weekend including ESPN 300 athletes Soso Jamabo (Plano, Texas/West) and Kai Locksley (Baltimore, Maryland/Gilman). Jamabo is the No. 28 player in the ESPN 300 and could kick start UT's offense by providing an immediate big play threat. Locksley, a Florida State commit, is the No. 289 player in the ESPN 300 and could project to several different positions in college including quarterback. West Virginia has its eye on rounding out its recruiting class with three-star prospect Gary Jennings. The Stafford (Virginia) Colonial Forge athlete spent the weekend in Morgantown, West Virginia, and could be a good fit at receiver in Dana Holgorsen's offense. Jennings, who boasts offers from Wisconsin, Notre Dame and others, is a prospect to keep on eye on during the home stretch of this recruiting cycle.

Best of the visits: Big 12

January, 18, 2015
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The third weekend in January is always a busy -- if not the busiest -- weekend in the recruiting cycle. College coaches are allowed to contact recruits face-to-face again and the college football season is over, so both players and coaches have turned their attention to the final few weeks of recruiting. It was a busy weekend around the Big 12 with almost every conference program hosting recruits on official visits. Here’s a look at some of the best of the best form those visits.

ESPN 300 running back Nick Brossette has been a longtime LSU commitment, but that hasn’t stopped him from giving Texas a long, long look. Texas would like to land an impact running back in the 2015 class, and Brossette remains one of its best options. Brossette has built a great relationship with Horns coach Charlie Strong, and from all indications he had a good time in Austin this weekend.


Oklahoma landed a much-needed commitment from Dallas Kimball three-star cornerback Antoine Stephens on Sunday. The 6-foot-1, 187-pound Stephens was also offered scholarships by Texas Tech, Baylor, Louisville, SMU, Washington State and others.


After losing five commitments in the past few weeks, Iowa State received positive news from three-star inside linebacker De'Amontae Jackson over the weekend. The 6-foot, 235-pounder was a big get for the Cyclones out of the Sunshine State. At one point in time, Jackson had offers from Alabama, Florida State, Kentucky, Miami and others.


It also looks like Iowa State did a very impressive job with No. 10 junior college offensive tackle Jaypee Philbert this weekend. He posted about loving his time at the Kansas-Iowa State basketball game and also posted a picture of him hanging out with Cyclones offensive coordinator Mark Mangino.


Three-star defensive tackle Tyrell Jacobs joined fellow Louisianan Reggie Walker on an official visit to Kansas State this weekend. Jacobs, who visits Missouri and Illinois the next two weeks, was also accompanied by his mother.


Texas Tech had a large group of visitors on campus this weekend, including Kansas three-star athlete pledge Arico Evans. The 6-1, 190-pounder from Dallas Hillcrest seemed to be having a good time on his trip to Lubbock.


Oklahoma State also had some big prospects on campus, including eight players who were already committed to the Cowboys. This includes players like three-star safety Za'Carrius Green, who definitely liked what he saw with the black Oklahoma State uniform.

Top recruiting targets in the Big 12 

January, 16, 2015
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Here's a team-by-team look at some remaining targets for Big 12 teams.


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Big 12's top recruiting visits 

January, 16, 2015
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The third weekend in January is annually the biggest official visit weekend of the recruiting cycle and that’s definitely true for 2015 and in Big 12 territory. All but a few conference schools are expected to host prospects on campus this weekend and there will be plenty of major news to come following these trips, especially at places like Texas, Oklahoma and Iowa State.

[+] EnlargeNick Brossette
Gerry Hamilton/ESPNTexas is looking to flip Nick Brossette's commitment to LSU.
Texas to host around eight visitors
The Horns will have a solid group of visitors in Austin this weekend, including a number of touted commitments like ESPN 300 prospects Louis Brown and DeShon Elliott. But what makes the weekend significant is three visitors that have yet to make up their minds. LSU commitment and No. 12 running back Nick Brossette is coming to town, along with ESPN 300 defensive backs Kris Boyd and Holton Hill. Brossette is giving Texas a serious look despite his pledge to the Tigers, and he’s built a great relationship with Charlie Strong. Boyd and Hill are two key defensive back targets the Horns would love to reel in.


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There are 30 players committed to Big 12 schools in the final update of the ESPN 300 for the Class of 2015. That number is comparable to the Big Ten and the Pac-12, but definitely trails behind the ACC and SEC. What also has to be troubling is the lack of top-flight national recruits ending up at Big 12 schools. Only two top-50 players and seven in the top 100 are heading to Big 12 programs. The good news is that those numbers could change down the stretch as some good talent remains on the board in Texas and Oklahoma.


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Midyear additions: Iowa State

December, 19, 2014
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Four players have signed with Iowa State and will join the program for the spring semester, according to the team's official Twitter account, @CycloneFB:

Mike Johnson, CB
HT: 5-11 WT: 180
Positional Rank: N/A (LQ)
Stars: 3

Patrick Scoggins, OG
HT: 6-3 WT: 305
Positional Rank: N/A (JC)
Stars: Evaluation Pending

Demond Tucker, DT
HT: 6-1 WT: 285
Positional Rank: #3 DT (JC)
Stars: 3
ESPN JC 50 (#23)

Jomal Wiltz, CB
HT: 5-10 WT: 170
Positional Rank: N/A (JC)
Stars: Evaluation Pending

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