NCF On The Trail: Alex Delton

National signing day is almost nigh. A day for college football fans to get excited.

With that in mind, below is a breakdown of the most exciting piece of each Big 12 recruiting class heading into the big day:


What to get excited about: A stud quarterback

The player: QB Jarrett Stidham

The skinny: Stidham is the No. 2 dual-threat quarterback in the country, who originally committed to Texas Tech before signing with the Bears. He is already on campus and primed to challenge Seth Russell for the starting job vacated by Bryce Petty. Either way, Art Briles has yet another quarterback prospect who could be special in time.

Iowa State

What to get excited about: Juco defensive reinforcements

The players: DT Demond Tucker, CB Jomal Wiltz, S Jarnor Jones, DT Bobby Leath

The skinny: After ranking 128th out of 128 teams this past season in total defense, the Cyclones went out and picked up a quartet of junior-college defenders who could step in and help right away. Tucker, an ESPN Junior College 50 prospect, and Wiltz are already on campus and could secure starting jobs before the end of the spring. Once he arrives, Leath could team with Tucker to solidfy a tackle rotation that was undermanned last season.


What to get excited about: The Lone Star State influx

The players: DE Dorance Armstrong, WR Jeremiah Booker, OG Aaron Garza, WR Emmanuel Moore, WR Steven Sims, CB Shaquille Richmond, RB Taylor Martin, WR Chase Harrell, CB Shola Ayinde, OLB Osaze Ogbebor

The skinny: The Jayhawks hired David Beaty in part because of his recruiting ties to the state of Texas. Beaty wasted no time putting those connections into play, giving the Jayhawks 10 commitments from high school Texans heading into signing day. Beaty also signed six more junior-college players from the Lone Star State. If he can keep those Texas waves coming, Kansas’ talent pool has a chance to rapidly improve.

Kansas State

What to get excited about: The potential backfield of the future

The players: RB Alex Barnes, QB Alex Delton

The skinny: Barnes, the No. 2 prospect from the Sunflower State, rushed for more than 2,300 rushing yards and 36 touchdowns as a high school senior. Delton, a three-star dual-threat quarterback, was the first to commit to this K-State class. The Wildcats have holes at both quarterback and running back heading into the spring, and the two are already on campus and set to participate. Even if they don’t contribute immediately, Delton and Barnes could become the heart and soul of the K-State backfield in time.


What to get excited about: Wide receiver help

The players: WR John Humphrey Jr., WR DeDe Westbrook

The skinny: Oklahoma’s passing attack went downhill after Sterling Shepard suffered a groin injury that hampered him the second half of the season. Shepard could have more help in 2015 with the arrival of Humphrey and Westbrook, who are already in Norman. Westbrook, an ESPN JC 50 signee, is reportedly already turning heads. Humphrey is an ESPN 300 prospect who picked the Sooners over Notre Dame. Both receivers could elevate Oklahoma’s receiving corps and ease the pressure off Shepard as the Sooners transition into Lincoln Riley's air raid offense.

Oklahoma State

What to get excited about: The defensive linemen

The players: DE Louis Brown, DT Darrion Daniels, DT Motekiai Maile, DT Taaj Bakari

The skinny: Last year, the Cowboys loaded up with a strong linebacker class. This year, Oklahoma State successfully focused its efforts up front. Daniels, a four-star pickup, and Maile, an ESPN JC 50 prospect, offer immediate impact in the middle, which the Cowboys need with James Castleman and Ofa Hautau both graduating. Brown, an ESPN 300 commit, has the range and athleticism to develop into a playmaking end. The combination of the last two classes could translate into Oklahoma State becoming a load up front defensively for years to come.


What to get excited about: A shutdown corner

The player: CB DeShawn Raymond

The skinny: From Jason Verrett to Kevin White, the Horned Frogs have featured some of the best cornerbacks in the Big 12 since joining the conference. They could have another lock-down pass-defender on the way in Raymond, a four-star addition who had offers from Florida State, Georgia and LSU. TCU has other replacement options for White. But Raymond has the ability to be a factor for the Frogs in 2015, and certainly beyond.


What to get excited about: The defensive star power

The players: OLB Malik Jefferson, ILB Anthony Wheeler, S DeShon Elliott, CB Holton Hill, CB Kris Boyd, OLB Cameron Townsend, S Davante Davis

The skinny: Charlie Strong has put together one of the strongest defensive classes in the country with seven ESPN 300 recruits on that side of the ball alone. The Longhorns might not be done, either, with five-star defensive tackle Daylon Mack still strongly considering signing with Texas. This class could be the foundation of a future fearsome Texas defense.

Texas Tech

What to get excited about: A big-time defensive tackle

The player: DT Breiden Fehoko

The skinny: The Red Raiders had one of the worst run defenses in the country last year, but help is on the way in Fehoko, who as the No. 51 overall recruit in the country chose Tech over the likes of Oregon and Alabama. At 6-foot-3, 290 pounds, Fehoko has physical maturity already to impact the Red Raiders in 2015, and develop into a game-changing defensive lineman down the line.

West Virginia

What to get excited about: The Miramar trio

The players: WR Jovon Durante, CB Tyrek Cole, WR Kahlil Lewis

The skinny: Miramar (Fla.) High School is the West Virginia pipeline that keeps giving. The same school that sent Geno Smith and Stedman Bailey to West Virginia is sending three more blue-chippers to Morgantown. Durante and Cole are ESPN 300 prospects. Lewis was hotly pursued, too, with offers from Miami, Ohio State and Nebraska. All three have a chance to help the Mountaineers as soon as next season.
Kyler Murray isn't the only high-profile Texan who will shape the future of Lone Star State recruiting, as ESPN 300 defensive backs Kris Boyd and Holton Hill will announce their decisions together Friday.

Top early enrollees: Big 12 

January, 14, 2015
Jan 14
Big 12 programs have always been big believers of using players that can enroll at midterm and can make a big impact in their program, starting in spring practices. Whether it be through the junior-college ranks or through high school players that are ready to step on the field from Day 1, there will be plenty of fresh faces that do big things in the league early on. Here is a look at five Big 12 early enrollees:

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Bill Snyder doesn't care about recruiting rankings. He has made a living out of taking three-stars high school recruits and turning them into five-star players by the time they graduate. The same is true with the 2015 class. The Wildcats don't have a single ESPN 300 recruit, but insiders in Manhattan, Kansas, feel good about the crop of high school talent coming in.

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Early Offer: The dead period is here 

December, 14, 2014
What is the dead period and why is it an important time in football recruiting? Plus, Texas Tech’s loss at quarterback could be Baylor’s gain.

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When asked to define his quarterback style, whether he was more of a pocket-passing or a dual-threat option, Kyler Murray gave the simplest answer he could.

“I’m a quarterback,” Murray said.

Those are three words echoed by many players in Murray’s position. Murray is the No. 1 dual-threat quarterback in the country, but maybe more importantly, at No. 14 in the ESPN 300, he’s the top-ranked overall quarterback. That’s how he wants to be considered. And recognized at all times.

The phrase “dual-threat quarterback,” to some quarterbacks classified as such, holds negative connotation. Many of the quarterbacks don’t have the prototypical college quarterback build. Murray is 5-foot-11 and 170 pounds. Florida State commit De'Andre Johnson is right at 6 feet and weighs 169 pounds. Clemson commit Tucker Israel is 6 feet and 189 pounds. Johnson and Israel, ranked Nos. 9 and 11 among dual-threat quarterbacks nationally, are built more like slot receivers.

Kansas State commit Alex Delton, who is 6 feet and 187 pounds, says the “dual-theat” label is all about stereotype. So players like Delton take the practice fields and go to camps and combines with two intentions. First, to compete against some of the best the country has to offer, and second, to prove to coaches that size -- or lack thereof -- shouldn’t trump talent when evaluating the position.

“To most people, being called ‘dual threat’ says that I’m a runner most of the time,” said Delton, the nation’s No. 24 dual-threat quarterback. “But all of us are quarterbacks. If we weren’t, we wouldn’t be playing this position.

“I’m a quarterback; that’s what I’ve played my whole life. People shouldn’t think I’m purely a runner since I’m called a dual-threat quarterback.”

[+] EnlargeKyler Murray
Tom Hauck for Student SportsForget dual-threat or pocket-passer. Kyler Murray is simply one of the best QBs in the nation with offers from Oregon, OU, Clemson and Ohio State, among others.
The Dallas Elite 11 regional competition on May 4 proved that dual-threat quarterbacks can be just as effective as pocket passers. Five of the top seven finishers are classified as dual-threat options, and the event MVP, Jarrett Stidham, is the No. 2 dual-threat quarterback in the country.

Physically, Stidham has the stature of a pro-style quarterback at 6-3 and 180 pounds, but his athleticism and playmaking ability out of the pocket make him an ideal dual-threat candidate. Stidham threw for nearly 2,700 yards and 30 touchdowns and rushed for nearly 1,000 yards and 16 scores, which supports the dual-threat argument.

“I think sometimes with dual-threat guys, people don’t think of us throwing as well as pocket passers,” Stidham said. “They think that we’d rather run before throwing, and in my case, I’d much rather throw 100 percent of the time than run. It just so happens I can get out the pocket a little and make some runs.

“I think some think automatically, we want to run first. Half the time, it’s the other way around.”

Stidham is committed to Texas Tech, and Red Raiders head coach Kliff Kingsbury likely saw, like many other recruiters, that Stidham’s arm strength was just as good as his ability to escape danger in the pocket. It is also impossible to ignore the athleticism, as Stidham played wide receiver his sophomore year of high school and caught passes from Tyler Jones, who now is calling plays at Texas State.

Quarterbacks such as Stidham, Notre Dame commit Blake Barnett (6-5, 191) and uncommitted ESPN 300 standouts Kai Locksley (6-4, 190), Travis Waller (6-3, 188) and Dwayne Lawson (6-4, 200) have the builds of traditional college pocket passers. They just also have the ability to make plays with their legs as well as their arms.

Kingsbury has coached his share of quarterbacks of all sizes. Last year, he coached Davis Webb (6-4, 195) and Baker Mayfield (6-2, 220). In his final year as offensive coordinator for Texas A&M in 2012, he coached Johnny Manziel -- who, at a shade under 6 feet and 207 pounds, went on to win a Heisman Trophy and was selected 22nd overall by the Cleveland Browns in Thursday’s NFL draft.

“I wouldn’t say I have a preference. If you can do it all, the sky’s the limit,” Kingsbury said. “If you’re a guy who sits in the pocket, you'd better be highly cerebral and know pre-snap reads and be able to check to the right places. If you can make plays with your feet, it gives you more leeway to where if you’re in a bad play, you can still extend it.

“There are all types of guys who try to play like Tom Brady, but Russell Wilson just won a Super Bowl. You can’t overlook that.”

The 2015 dual-threat quarterback is an attractive prospect. Seventeen quarterbacks have committed to FBS programs already, the latest being high-three-star prospect Lorenzo Nunez, who is headed to South Carolina. Fifteen quarterbacks are four-star players, and 10 of the 15 are ESPN 300 players.

“We’re just as good as the pocket-passing quarterbacks,” Delton said. “Some people think I’m going to run a lot, but I like getting on the field and showing that I can throw it, too.”

“We want a player who is great at what he does,” Kingsbury said. “If that means he can excel in the pocket, great. If that means he can find ways to make plays with his feet outside the pocket, great. We want guys who can move the ball on offense and be a leader on the team.”

That’s something Murray does – and does well.

Of all the quarterbacks, Murray probably has heard the most questions. He’s had his size come up in multiple conversations -- and with every performance on the field, he silences a new recruiter or an old critic. Murray specializes in results. In two varsity seasons, he has two state championships -- and will go for a third this fall.

Murray now has more than 20 offers, including ones from Texas, Oklahoma, Ohio State, Florida, Oregon and Clemson.

“You can’t let any of that get in the way of your goals,” Murray said. “I know what I can do, and I work hard every day just to get better. People are going to say what they want to say. I’m just trying to go out and win football games.”
ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Dallas Elite 11 regional camp on Sunday was certainly one of the most well-attended camps of the season. And while the usual suspects of high-profile quarterbacks in the 2015 and 2016 classes were on hand, there were also many other fine prospects in attendance who are starting to garner more significant attention as college coaches get out on the road this spring.

If you are a follower of the recruiting world, names like Kyler Murray (uncommitted) and Jarrett Stidham (Texas Tech) are now commonplace, but this camp showcased many intriguing prospects who have been slipping under the radar to some degree and should see their stock rise as we head into the fall of their senior years.

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SUGAR HILL, Ga. -- With the world’s busiest airport down the road, quarterbacks from across the country flocked to the Atlanta Elite 11 regional camp on Friday at Gary Pirkle Park, including several highly regarded passers from outside the Southeast.

Part of that group was Indianapolis Decatur Central’s Tommy Stevens. The 6-foot-4, 190-pound Stevens traveled more than 500 miles, but it was worth every mile because he proved he has the tools to compete with the best of the best.

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K-State the first offer for 2015 QB 

June, 27, 2013
Class of 2015 quarterback Alex Delton (Hays, Kan./Hays) is one to admit that no matter how many offers one can end up with, the first one is always the sweetest.

Thursday afternoon, the dual-threat quarterback picked up offer No. 1, as Kansas State extended a scholarship. Delton participated at a Kansas State camp a couple weeks ago, and he showed off the skills that the Wildcats coaching staff felt could help the program in the future.

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