NCF On The Trail: Texas Longhorns

Three reasons why Texas has disappointed 

December, 10, 2014
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The University of Texas has the best tradition in the most talent-rich state but has not won 10 games since 2009 and parted ways with head coach Mack Brown after 16 years in 2013. What went wrong?

Big 12 recruiting scorecard

December, 1, 2014
Dec 1
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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.

UA jersey tour: Toby Weathersby

November, 20, 2014
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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.”

Weekend recruiting wrap: Big 12 

November, 18, 2014
Nov 18
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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:


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Weekend recruiting wrap: Big 12 

November, 11, 2014
Nov 11
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For Texas, it was lose a player, gain a player. For Texas Tech, it was all about gaining a potential sleeper -- even though it didn’t have the luxury of having the game-day experience as support.

For Oklahoma, it was about impressing the future stars in attendance despite a lackluster performance on the field. For TCU, the concept was simple: Earn a quality win, impress the visitors in attendance and keep the College Football Playoff committee interested.

It was a good weekend for Big 12 recruiting. Here is an in-depth look at how the weekend concluded:


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Big 12 recruiting scorecard

November, 10, 2014
Nov 10
4:00
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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: Waco (Texas) Midway four-star safety Kahlil Haughton was on hand to see Baylor embarrass Oklahoma, 48-14, on the Sooners' home field. Both schools are recruiting the elite safety prospect so the Bears undoubtedly made a strong impression on the Class of 2015 prospect.


IOWA STATE
Total commits: 14
ESPN 300 commits: 0
The latest: ISU’s week on the recruiting trail was a reminder how quickly things can change. The Cyclones landed Navarro Junior College tackle Tristan Nickelson early in the week, only to see him flip his commitment to Texas on Saturday. Rough week in Ames.


KANSAS
Total commits: 14
ESPN 300 commits: 0
The latest: Class of 2016 quarterback Dagan Haehn of Corinth, Texas/Lake Travis was on hand to see the Jayhawks capture their first Big 12 win over the season with a 34-14 triumph over Iowa State. The Jayhawks also offered Shawnee Mission (Kansas) East defensive tackle Kyle Ball.


KANSAS STATE
Total commits: 13
ESPN 300 commits: 0
The latest: It was a rough weekend for the Wildcats on the field, but Bill Snyder’s program is looking at a good “case of the Mondays” after Loganville (Georgia) Grayson linebacker Mohamed Barry committed to KSU Monday morning. The three-star prospect also reports offers from Wisconsin, South Florida, NC State and others. He continues the Wildcats' trend of looking for hidden gems in Georgia as the fourth 2015 KSU commit from The Peach State.


OKLAHOMA
Total commits: 14
ESPN 300 commits: 6
The latest: Along with Haughton, the Sooners had several visitors for the game against Baylor including UCLA commit Will Lockett (Manvel, Texas/Manvel) and current commit Kenneth Mann (Burleson, Texas/Burleson).


OKLAHOMA STATE
Total commits: 15
ESPN 300 commits: 4
The latest: Several Cowboys coaches hit the recruiting trail with OSU on a bye week. The Cowboys also offered junior college offensive lineman Tyler Howell (Butler C.C.), who has offers from Arkansas, Ohio State, Missouri and others.


TCU
Total commits: 17
ESPN 300 commits: 0
The latest: The Horned Frogs hosted several recruits for their game against Kansas State including Class of 2016 prospect Kaleb McNac (Garland, Texas/Lakeview Centennial) and Keion Sutton (Midlothian, Texas/Midlothian).


TEXAS
Total commits: 18
ESPN 300 commits: 9
The latest: The Longhorns flipped Navarro Junior College offensive tackle Tristan Nickelson, who was previously committed to Iowa State. Meanwhile UT lost a commitment when Converse, Texas/Judson safety Keivon Ramsey decided to re-open his recruiting process.


TEXAS TECH
Total commits: 14
ESPN 300 commits: 5
The latest: The Red Raiders added a commitment from Humble (Texas) Atascocita receiver Quan Shorts. The three-star prospect flipped from Texas San Antonio to pledge to Kliff Kingsbury’s program.


WEST VIRGINIA
Total commits: 21
ESPN 300 commits: 3
The latest: The Mountaineers offered Coconut Creek (Florida) Monarch receiver Cavin Ridley, the No. 264 player in the ESPN Junior 300. Miami (Fla.) and Temple have also offered Ridley, who is the younger brother of Alabama commitment Calvin Ridley, the No. 23 player in the ESPN 300.

Best of the visits: Big 12

November, 9, 2014
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It was a big recruiting weekend for Texas and Oklahoma. While the Longhorns impressed on the field, the Sooners had their troubles but still managed to keep their official visitors interested.

In Fort Worth, TCU didn’t have any official visitors, but when building for the future, unofficial visits -- particularly this time of year -- are huge.

Here are some highlights from recruiting visits in the Big 12:

TCU shines in quest for College Football Playoff

In what was arguably its biggest win of the season, TCU dominated Kansas State and helped its chances of a College Football Playoff berth. The Horned Frogs’ 41-20 win was enjoyed by several unofficial visitors.

Before the game, however, high three-star WR commit Jaelan Austin had a premonition about how things would turn out.


Three-star DB Niko Small was in attendance, and he enjoyed his time watching his future team shine. Of the 17 TCU pledges for the 2015 class, Small is the only safety commitment thus far.


TCU's performance put smiles on the faces of several commits, including high three-star CB DeShawn Raymond. TCU’s newest commit paid attention to his future team, and as the game went on, he got more and more antsy about calling Fort Worth home.


The Horned Frogs are looking good for the 2015 class, but they are always keeping their eyes open to find talent in future classes -- particularly after a performance like Saturday. One player on TCU’s radar is 2017 WR Kadarrian Nixon, who leads DeSoto (Texas) High School with 38 receptions -- two more than Kansas commit Kevin Thomas and 10 more than BYU commit Akile Davis.

Nixon made the trip to Fort Worth and checked off a major item on his fledgling recruiting to-do list.

Longhorns impressive in upset win

Texas picked the right time to grab a huge win, downing No. 23 West Virginia 33-16 in Austin. The Longhorns needed a victory to keep their chances of being bowl eligible alive.

In front of a host of official visitors, the Longhorns scored their signature win under Charlie Strong, taking out a ranked West Virginia team that was playing with a lot of confidence. One of the official visitors on hand was ESPN 300 TE Devonaire Clarington, one of five prospects in town from Florida.


Four-star ATH DeAndre McNeal, an in-state prospect, had a chance to pose with Strong before the game. McNeal will make his college decision next month, and the Longhorns are in the hunt, as are Texas A&M, UCLA, Alabama and Miami.

Tim Irvin, another four-star athlete, not only made an official visit to Austin, but he also made sure his attire was proper. Note the coordination with the shorts in this picture.


ESPN 300 CB Kris Boyd was in attendance on an unofficial visit with his younger brother, 2016 LB Demarco Boyd. Texas is battling with Texas A&M for Kris Boyd, a defensive back who could come in and be serviceable immediately in Strong’s defense.


Wins like Saturday’s keep Texas relevant. They also keep the younger recruits interested. ESPN Junior 300 WR Collin Johnson, a Texas commit, made the unofficial visit from California to watch his future squad.

Recruits watch Sooners fall

High three-star DE Kenneth Mann was one of several recruits in Norman to watch Oklahoma take on Baylor. Mann committed to the Sooners in July.


Rarely do we see Oklahoma manhandled. Even more rare is watching the Sooners get manhandled at home. No. 12 Baylor routed No. 15 Oklahoma 48-14 in front of several official visitors, but don’t think one bad loss will be the defining moment for many recruits.

A trio of ESPN 300 athletes, OT Drew Richmond, WR Ryan Newsome and LB Darrin Kirkland Jr., took time out for a photo during the game. Kirkland then tweeted a message that caught the attention of fans all over the country.

Big 12's top recruiting visits 

October, 31, 2014
Oct 31
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With five big games on tap Saturday, it could mean a memorable weekend for recruiting in the Big 12. Iowa State will host Oklahoma and Kansas will host Baylor, but there are three other games to watch where a player or two may decide their college destinations.

TCU at West Virginia

[+] EnlargeTim Settle
Tom Hauck/Student SportsTim Settle will be on his official visit to West Virginia as the Mountaineers play TCU.
The game could be considered a clash between the conference’s hottest two teams, but West Virginia could come out a double winner if everything works as planned. With "College GameDay" set to air in Morgantown this weekend, the Mountaineers will host several big-name players, including ESPN 300 defensive tackle Tim Settle, ESPN 300 athlete Jordan Cronkrite and four-star athlete Tim Irvin. Guard Jah'Shaun Seider and cornerback Antonio Howard, two three-star West Virginia commits, also will be in attendance -- most likely playing the role of player-recruiters during what is shaping out to be an important weekend.


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Big 12 recruiting scorecard

October, 27, 2014
Oct 27
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Here's what happened on the recruiting trail around the Big 12 this week:

BAYLOR
Total commits: 12
ESPN 300 commits: 3
The latest: Houston (Texas) Lamar prospect J.W. Ketchum made it a good bye week for the Bears with his Sunday commitment to Art Briles' program. The four-star athlete picked BU over Texas, Oklahoma, Texas A&M, Alabama and others.

IOWA STATE
Total commits: 13
ESPN 300 commits: 0
The latest: Defense has been the focus of this recruiting class for the Cyclones. Eight of its 13 commitments are defenders including four defensive linemen. Paul Rhoads squad dealing with small numbers along its defensive front heading into this season but hopes to address some of those issues with a pair of junior college defensive linemen in Larry Jefferson and Xavier Pegues.

KANSAS
Total commits: 14
ESPN 300 commits: 0
The latest: It’s been an interesting dynamic in Lawrence, Kansas, where interim coach Clint Bowen landed Olathe (Kansas) North tight end Josh Moore picked KU last week. Moore spurned offers from the majority of the Big 12, Auburn and Ohio State to pledge to the Jayhawks.

KANSAS STATE
Total commits: 11
ESPN 300 commits: 0
The latest: Bill Snyder’s program dipped into Texas for its latest commitment with McKinney (Texas) North safety Bryce Balous picking the Wildcats last week. The three-star prospect turned down Texas Tech and Iowa to verbal to K-State. The Wildcats also added Pittsburg (Kansas) running back Alex Barnes, who committed to KSU on Monday. The three-star prospect picked KSU over Kansas, Minnesota, Rutgers and others.

OKLAHOMA
Total commits: 14
ESPN 300 commits: 6
The latest: The Sooners sent out some offers to Class of 2016 pass-catchers last week with La Canada (California) St. Francis receiver Dylan Crawford and West Hills (California) Chaminade receiver Dymond Lee reportedly receiving offers last week. Both receivers are ESPN Junior 300 members and four-star prospects.

OKLAHOMA STATE
Total commits: 13
ESPN 300 commits: 4
The latest: It wasn’t a great day on the field but one ray of light came to Oklahoma State during Saturday’s 34-10 loss to West Virginia as ESPNJr300 member Mike Williams appeared to love his unofficial to OSU, tweeting about his visit multiple times on Saturday.

TCU
Total commits: 16
ESPN 300 commits: 0
The latest: Not only did TCU score big on the field, putting up 82 points against Texas Tech, the Horned Frogs could have scored big on the recruiting trail as well. Gladewater (Texas) defensive tackle Daylon Mack, the No. 15 player in the ESPN 300, loved his official visit to TCU. He’s currently committed to Texas A&M but it appears Gary Patterson’s program definitely gave the elite defensive tackle something to think about.

TEXAS
Total commits: 18
ESPN 300 commits: 9
The latest: ESPN 300 member Cameron Townsend picked Texas on Sunday, becoming the 18th commitment for Charlie Strong’s program. The Missouri City (Texas) Ridge Point linebacker picked UT over Oklahoma, Baylor, TCU, USC, Michigan and others. He is the No. 284 player in the ESPN 300.

TEXAS TECH
Total commits: 11
ESPN 300 commits: 3
The latest: Could it get any worse for Kliff Kingsbury’s program? Not only did Tech give up 82 points to TCU, its top 2015 commitment, quarterback Jarrett Stidham, broke his hand over the weekend. The injury shouldn’t impact his future as a Red Raider but there doesn’t seem to be much good news in Lubbock, Texas, right now.

WEST VIRGINIA
Total commits: 21
ESPN 300 commits: 3
The latest: It could be a critical recruiting weekend with TCU and ESPN’s "College Gameday" heading to Morgantown, West Virginia, on Saturday. Expect several prospects to take advantage of the opportunity with ESPN 300 defensive tackle Tim Settle, ESPN 300 athlete Jordan Cronkite and Army All-American Tim Irvin among the early list of prospects who could be on campus.

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 recruiting scorecard

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Best of the visits: Big 12

October, 12, 2014
Oct 12
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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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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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ESPN’s RecruitingNation released the updated class ranking for 2015 on Wednesday. Of course, Alabama remains in the top spot, but will be challenged by Georgia and Florida State for the top spot come National Signing Day.

Looking deeper into the class rankings, five teams off to poor starts could have a difficult time holding off rival teams for top recruits, including:

South Carolina

One could argue that the Gamecocks aren’t in need of a strong close in 2015 with 28 prospects already committed and a current place in the Top 10 classes, but needs remain on defense at tackle, linebacker, and cornerback for sure. A 6-6 or 7-5 season could make it tough to close, and give momentum to others trying to flip South Carolina commitments. Closing on Florida State defensive tackle commit and South Carolina native D.J. Jones could be tough, because the Seminoles remain atop the polls, and Clemson and Alabama are also possibilities. The same can be said for ESPN300 athlete Darius Slayton, who will likely choose between Georgia and South Carolina with a preference for wide receiver at the next level.

Miami (FL)

There was increased excitement headed into the 2014 season with the NCAA cloud lifted, and a number of exciting playmakers returning on offense. Throw in the otherworldly start to the 2016 class with seven ESPNJr300 pledges, and it looked like the Hurricanes were set up for a big finish in 2015 with momentum. Now 3-3 with a 6-6 finish a real possibility, the Hurricanes are no longer in the closing position. In fact, holding onto ESPN300 running back Dexter Williams could be difficult, and the Hurricanes have already lost ESPN300 tight end Bowman Archibald to Wake Forest. The Miami (FL) staff will be working hard to keep prospects such as Williams and ESPN300 linebacker Charles Perry in the fold, while attempting to finish the 2015 class that is need of playmakers and pass-rushers on defense.


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Big 12 recruiting scoreboard

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

BAYLOR

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

IOWA STATE

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

KANSAS

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

KANSAS STATE

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

OKLAHOMA

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

OKLAHOMA STATE

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

TCU

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

TEXAS

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

TEXAS TECH

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

WEST VIRGINIA

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

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