NCF On The Trail: Jarrett Stidham

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:

Baylor

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.

Kansas

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.

Oklahoma

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.

TCU

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.

Texas

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.

Top early enrollees: Big 12 

January, 14, 2015
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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:

Under Armour Game superlatives 

January, 3, 2015
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ORLANDO, Fla. -- Every year at the Under Armour All-America Game, prospects make a splash, prompting us to make up some silly names and apply them to the recruits who stood out and made an impression. Here are our superlatives for the 2015 game:

'Hi, I'm Chucky. Wanna play?': Who would have thought defensive end Byron Cowart, the No. 2-ranked prospect in the nation, would draw his inspiration from a Chucky doll? Cowart arrived in Orlando with an edge, and he proved his worth from Day 1. He said the doll reminds him to be violent as a player. Regardless of his motivation, Cowart made a huge push for the top overall spot in the final ESPN 300 rankings.

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UA practice notebook: Day 2 

December, 30, 2014
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LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Day 2 of the Under Armour All-America game practices was overcast and rainy, but the dreary weather didn't stop Team Armour and Team Highlight from having an exciting practice.

The two teams had a spirited first day of practice, however, two offensive linemen, Keenan Walker and Lester Cotton, suffered injuries and won't be able to play in the game on Friday. With the shortage of bodies along the offensive line, ESPN 300 offensive tackle Tyree St. Louis was asked to drive up from IMG Academy in Bradenton to fill in.


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Recruiting notebook: Under Armour game 

December, 29, 2014
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Orlando, FLA. -- The first day of practice at the Under Armour All-America game went smoothly as the players transitioned into work mode. The recruits got the chance to build chemistry with their teammates and learn the playbooks for the actual game.

With so many highly ranked prospects in one spot there is no surprise that news continues to roll in.


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Scout's Take: QB Jarrett Stidham to Baylor 

December, 19, 2014
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Under Armour All-American quarterback Jarrett Stidham, a one-time Texas Tech verbal, is now on board with Baylor. Below, see how Stidham can help Art Briles continue to terrorize Big 12 defenses:


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Early Offer: The dead period is here 

December, 14, 2014
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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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Go ahead and debate who should have been in the inaugural College Football Playoff, but there’s no debating Bama, Oregon, FSU and OSU dominate in recruiting.

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UA jersey tour: Breiden Fehoko

November, 19, 2014
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Breiden Fehoko received his Under Armour All-America Game jersey on Wednesday during a ceremony sponsored by American Family Insurance and attended by Fehoko’s friends, family, coaches and teammates in Honolulu.

“It was a surreal experience,” Fehoko said. “As a kid watching all the guys go through this and finally to have my dreams come true, it was such an awesome experience.”

The fact that several of Fehoko’s family members were in attendance is little surprise, as the 6-foot-3, 290-pound, ESPN 300 defensive tackle has always placed a high priority on family -- it’s a significant reason he ultimately made the decision to commit to Texas Tech.

Fehoko’s oldest brother, Sam, played football for the Red Raiders and his other brother, V.J., is a linebacker at Texas Tech now. The Fehokos have spent plenty of time at Texas Tech during the past few years and V.J.’s decision to transfer there from Utah certainly helped the Red Raiders eventually land a commitment from the younger Fehoko, the nation’s No. 53 overall prospect.

“For V.J., he really sets the tone for me,” Fehoko said. “Being that older brother above me, he molded me into what I am by showing me what I need to be to accomplish what I want to do.”

Though Texas Tech is 3-7 and the defense has given up 35 points or more in seven games, Fehoko said he has no thoughts of looking elsewhere.

“I’m done with this,” Fehoko said of his recruitment. “I’ve already signed my financial aid agreement and I’m confident in my decision.”


Eight questions with Breiden Fehoko

What players are you looking forward to competing with or against at the UA Game?

Fehoko: I’m looking forward to playing with Jarrett Stidham, as well as Fred Ulu-Perry and Canton Kaumatule.

If you could start a team with any player in your class, who would it be?

Fehoko: I’d probably go with Jarrett [Stidham]. He’s a dual threat and it’s not just the fact that he’s committed to my school. You see what he did with Stephenville (Texas) this year. Dude’s a player, and you always want to build your team around a quarterback.

Who is the best player to ever play in the UA Game?

Fehoko: Guys like Jadeveon Clowney and Manti Te’o. They really set the tone and were guys that balled out in this game. They didn’t just go there to experience the atmosphere. Those are guys I looked up to and I want to go fill those shoes.

What is your earliest football memory?

Fehoko: I was about 4 or 5 years old and my dad made me suit up with my older brothers in the back yard. Boy did I get tossed around. I’m thankful for it now, but that was real backyard football.

Which football player do you idolize or model your game after?

Fehoko: A whole bunch of guys, but one guy I like to model my game after is Aaron Donald. I like the way he’s so explosive and has great hands. Another guy is John Randle, the legend. His motor is as fast as mine.

If you could take on any pro player in their sport, who would it be?

Fehoko: Christiano Ronaldo, hands down. That guy is probably one of the most hated and respected athletes in the world. Hopefully I could get some of the women he gets as well.

Why do you wear your number?

Fehoko: No. 1 represents my older sister, Brittany. She passed on, and every time I take the field, I’m proud to wear it.

What is one thing people would be surprised to learn about you?

Fehoko: I’m kind of a genius with computers. On the field I’m smashmouth and talk a bunch of crap, but off the field my hobby is working with computers.

UA jersey tour: Jarrett Stidham

November, 13, 2014
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STEPHENVILLE, Texas -- At about this time two years ago, Texas Tech-bound Jarrett Stidham was one of the most dynamic sophomore football players in Texas.

As a wide receiver. Not as a quarterback.

Before Stidham was one of the nation’s best dual-threat quarterbacks, he was a reliable pass-catching option for Tyler Jones, who now is a sophomore and the starting quarterback at Texas State. Stidham won a state championship as a receiver, but playing quarterback was his goal.

And once he achieved that goal, he delivered success to Stephenville High School. On Thursday, Stidham was rewarded for his play during an Under Armour All-America Game jersey ceremony, sponsored by American Family Insurance.

“I’m very blessed to be in this position. I was telling my buddy earlier that this is one of my biggest dreams come true,” said Stidham, the No. 3-ranked dual-threat quarterback. “As a kid growing up, you always watch these high school guys in All-American games, and you want to be one of those guys. I’m fortunate to be one now, and I couldn’t be happier.”



As a player with more than 20 offers, Stidham has signed a financial aid agreement with Texas Tech, and he’s planning to graduate early and joining the Red Raiders for spring practices. Stidham currently is recovering from a broken right hand last month, but there’s a good chance he can return this season if Stephenville advances deep in the playoffs.

But before he makes it to Lubbock, look for Stidham to enjoy his time in Florida and be a contributor in the all-star game. Also, look for him to simply live the moment -- a moment that at one time, he was unsure would come because of his position change.

“Looking back on everything, I didn’t know what to think. I was always the guy who got the ball every snap,” Stidham said. “But Tyler did his thing, and he set us up to win a state championship. I just rolled with it, and it ended up being a good thing. I’m very thankful where I am now.”

Quick hits on Jarrett Stidham

Best UA Game player ever: “I’d probably have to go with [Jadeveon] Clowney. He’s a man-child.”

Player you look up to: “I really like Marcus Mariota. I love the way he plays and how he handles the offense, gets out in space to tuck and run and make plays with his arm.”

Why do you wear your number? “I wear No. 1. I think I picked it mostly to be different. A lot of quarterbacks are wearing 7 or 10 or 4. Cam Newton wears No. 1, but you usually don’t see quarterbacks wearing it.”

Who wins a QB contest: You or Kliff Kingsbury? “I’m going to go out on a limb and say I can beat Coach Kliff. If he wants to go, I’ll go.”

Favorite football memory: “Other than winning state, I’d probably have to go with our third-round [playoff] game last year against Big Spring. We were down four with 35 seconds left, and we drove down 65 yards to score. I threw a touchdown with about four seconds left to win.”

Favorite sport that’s not football: “I’ve always liked basketball, but I like international soccer. The World Cup, I can watch it all day.”

Did you know … “I enjoy hunting. I’ve always been kind of a city boy, but I just got into it this fall. I like getting all camo’d up. It’s one of the most relaxing times that I have. It’s a thrill if a big buck comes out. A lot of people don’t expect me to be a hunter, but I enjoy the heck out of it.”
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After reviewing performances at The Opening last week, here are a few quick hits on how each Elite 11 quarterback performed:


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BEAVERTON, Ore. -- Pac-12 programs hold commitments from 13 prospects who participated in Nike's The Opening this week, including four quarterbacks who finished in the final Elite 11 quarterback ranking and two offensive linemen who were named to the Final Five on that side of the ball. Though the conference will undoubtedly finish with commitments from many more of the recruits in attendance, we take a look at how the 13 commitments fared over the four days.


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Elite 11 Day One: Takeaways 

July, 6, 2014
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BEAVERTON, Ore. -- The 2014 Elite 11 officially got underway Sunday morning with a fast-paced two-hour workout split into three groups that included the 19 prospects and six camp counselors. The counselors included Baylor's Bryce Petty, Utah's Travis Wilson and Notre Dame's Everett Golson.

Here are 10 takeaways from the opening session.

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Sam Darnold needs to send Kyler Murray a thank-you note.

When Murray committed to Texas A&M on May 28, it set off a recruiting ripple effect that has touched some of the top teams in the country. The moves and countermoves from other programs have suddenly made Darnold the hottest quarterback prospect in the country.

It’s could also lead to him eventually becoming a Duck.


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Recruiting the right quarterback means a tremendous amount to every college football program.

In the Class of 2015, the race has been on for months for programs in need of signal-callers.

With the calendar having turned to June, there are more than 55 quarterbacks who have given verbal commitments to FBS programs.

Most recently, Florida snagged West Coast prospect Sheriron Jones over the weekend. In all, 39 of 62 programs in the Power Five conferences have QB commitments, and more are on the way.


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