NCF On The Trail: Oklahoma State Cowboys

Dec. 19, 2014. Consider it one of the biggest days for Big 12 recruiting in a long time.

On a day already anticipated as one to watch with the morning announcements of ESPN 300 linebacker Malik Jefferson and four-star athlete DeAndre McNeal, the Big 12 got its own version of a Christmas bonus with five major commitments by the end of the afternoon.

Jefferson and McNeal committed to Texas. ESPN 300 quarterback Jarrett Stidham committed to Baylor after recently decommitting from Texas Tech. ESPN 300 defensive end Ricky DeBerry and four-star safety Kahlil Haughton chose Oklahoma.

And better believe, it’s not over for the conference.

There are several players who could be additions to the growing number of Big 12 commitments. Here are five names to watch from now until national signing day in early February.

Midyear additions: Oklahoma State

December, 17, 2014
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Oklahoma State has signed six players for the spring semester, according to the school's official site, OKState.com:

Jordan Burton, S
HT: 6-2 WT: 210
Positional Rank: #8 S (JC)
Stars: 3

Matt Kellerman, OT
HT: 6-5 WT: 290
Positional Rank: #14 OT (JC)
Stars: 3

Motekiai Maile, DT
HT: 6-4 WT: 300
Positional Rank: #8 DT (JC)
Stars: 3
ESPN JC 50 (#49)

Todd Mays, RB
HT: 6-0 WT: 195
Positional Rank: #7 RB (JC)
Stars: 3

Brandon Pertile, OT
HT: 6-5 WT: 295
Positional Rank: #19 OT (JC)
Stars: 3

Victor Salako, OT
HT: 6-6 WT: 315
Positional Rank: N/A
Stars: N/A, UAB transfer
The addition of No. 1 2016 TE Isaac Nauta shows that the Florida State recruiting machine shows no signs of slowing down. Plus, Tennessee continues to impress with its 2015 defensive class.


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Are four-star DT Carlos Davis and his twin, three-star tackle Khalil Davis, still committed to Nebraska? Good luck figuring that out. Plus, handicapping the finalists in advance of Josh Sweat’s Wednesday decision.

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David Cutcliffe of Duke said young coaches should turn to Kenny Rogers for advice on how to get ahead on the recruiting trail. Plus, Florida's Jim McElwain has been busy since he was hired.

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Top 2015 juco classes 

December, 3, 2014
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National signing day is quickly approaching, but first up is the mid-year junior college signing period. The opportunity for junior college prospects to sign with FBS schools starts Dec. 17, and many prospects have already made commitments. With the release of the ESPN Junior College 50, let’s take a look at five programs (in alphabetical order) having success in the junior college ranks.


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Big 12 recruiting scorecard

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Here's what's been cooking on the recruiting trail in the past week around the Big 12:

BAYLOR
Total commits: 13
ESPN 300 commits: 3
The latest: It looks like Art Briles could have another explosive playmaker in his arsenal. Class of 2016 commit and ESPNJr300 member Tren'Davian Dickson broke the single-season state record with 34 touchdowns for Navasota (Texas) this season, including a four-touchdown performance over the weekend. Navasota’s playoff run continues this weekend, meaning Dickson could add to his record-breaking total before his junior season ends.

IOWA STATE
Total commits: 11
ESPN 300 commits: 0
The latest: The Cyclones became the first out-of-state school to offer Class of 2016 Edmond (Oklahoma) Santa Fe linebacker Calvin Bundage last week, joining Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Tulsa. Bundrage could project to linebacker or safety in college.

KANSAS
Total commits: 13
ESPN 300 commits: 0
The latest: The Jayhawks are looking for immediate help with seven of their 13 commitments from the junior college ranks, but Kansas has a solid class considering the uncertainty without a head coach. It’s important the Jayhawks get someone hired quickly to avoid seeing this class fall apart and set the program back even further heading into 2015.

KANSAS STATE
Total commits: 13
ESPN 300 commits: 0
The latest: Saturday was the Wildcats’ final opportunity to host recruits during a game weekend, including Mustang (Oklahoma) tight end Blake Williams. The Class of 2016 prospect was on hand to see Kansas State’s 51-13 thrashing of Kansas.

OKLAHOMA
Total commits: 16
ESPN 300 commits: 6
The latest: Oklahoma added a potential receiving target to the offense with a commitment from Blinn (Texas) Junior College receiver DeDe Westbrook. The Sooners also took advantage of their bye week by starting to make in-home visits with signing day quickly approaching. Four-star safety Kahlil Haughton tweeted a photo of himself alongside Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops on Sunday.

OKLAHOMA STATE
Total commits: 14
ESPN 300 commits: 3
The latest: Cowboys commitment Ronald Jones helped McKinney (Texas) North advance deeper into the playoffs with three touchdown runs in his team’s win over the weekend. Dealing with an ankle injury, Jones finished with 33 carries for 92 yards.

TCU
Total commits: 17
ESPN 300 commits: 0
The latest: TCU became the first program to offer Class of 2016 running back Sewo Olonilua. The Kingwood (Texas) running back has terrific size at 6-foot-2, 212 pounds, and could be a name to keep an eye on in the future.

TEXAS
Total commits: 19
ESPN 300 commits: 9
The latest: The Longhorns threw their name in the mix for Orlando (Florida) Bishop Moore tackle Parker Boudreaux. A member of the ESPNJr300, Boudreaux’s lengthy offer list reads more like a database with Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Ohio State, Notre Dame, Auburn and others among his suitors. He is the No. 222 player in the ESPNJr300.

TEXAS TECH
Total commits: 14
ESPN 300 commits: 5
The latest: The Red Raiders are hoping to flip an Oregon commitment with their recent offer to Class of 2015 Beaumont (Texas) Central safety P.J. Locke. The three-star prospect is committed to the Ducks and has offers from TCU, Oklahoma State, Alabama, and others.

WEST VIRGINIA
Total commits: 23
ESPN 300 commits: 3
The latest: Last week we noted junior college standout Larry Jefferson could be on the cusp of committing to WVU. The Itawamba Community College defensive end pulled the trigger last week, joining teammate Xavier Pegues on the Mountaineers’ pledge list. WVU is in terrific shape heading into the home stretch of this recruiting cycle with the ability to focus on hidden gems and Class of 2016 prospects thanks to its 23 current commitments.

Early Offer: Malik Jefferson's final 7 

November, 24, 2014
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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.

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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.

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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.


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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.

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Best of the visits: Big 12

November, 16, 2014
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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.

Big 12's top recruiting visits 

November, 14, 2014
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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.


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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.


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UA jersey tour: Tyron Johnson

November, 13, 2014
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NEW ORLEANS -- Tyron Johnson remembers watching the Under Armour All-America Game in 2013 like it was yesterday, when No. 1 prospect Robert Nkemdiche dominated. Johnson thought to himself at the time that it would be amazing to play in the prestigious all-star game, but he also never dreamed he would actually get that chance.

But Johnson’s dream has come true.

Now a senior, Johnson is the nation’s 25th-ranked prospect and the second-best receiver. He’s got schools from coast-to-coast recruiting him, and Thursday he was officially recognized as an Under Armour All-American at a ceremony in front of his classmates, family, friends and teammates.

“My first time watching the game, Robert Nkemdiche was the No. 1 player in the country,” Johnson, a 6-foot-1, 185-pound four-star prospect, said. “Boy, he was fun to watch. I plan on going into the game and doing a lot of big things like he did. I saw what he did, and I was like 'Man, I want to play in that game.' I never thought it would happen, but I worked hard and now I have the opportunity.”


It’s an opportunity he plans on making the most out of.

“My expectations are to do in Florida what I do in New Orleans,” Johnson said. “I'm great at working hard and doing my job making a big play on the field. When it's the fourth quarter and we need something big with only 1 second left in the game, I tell coach, 'Throw the ball to me.'

“I also want to put my city on my back and show that I can be a great receiver on the national level. I want to show for everybody here in New Orleans that we have great football players.”

Johnson said he’s looking forward to testing himself against the talented cornerbacks in the game, especially LSU commit Kevin Toliver II. Fans are looking forward to getting a clearer picture on when he’s going to pick a college. Last week, Johnson told ESPN.com that Auburn had passed Texas Tech as the top team on his list. He made an official visit to Texas Tech on Oct. 10, is slated to visit Auburn on Nov. 21 if his team isn’t still in the playoffs and hopes to also visit Oklahoma State before making a choice.

“It's been very tough to stay focused on school and my team,” Johnson said. “When that phone rings all the time, people are like, 'You have to make a decision. You have to make a decision.' And in the back of my head, I know I have to make a decision, but I'm just not ready yet. I still want to focus on my team and my grades, too. It's really hard. I don't want to rush it.

“I want to be 100 percent. I'm about 80 percent sure of what I want to do. I'm almost ready.”

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