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February 7, 2013

Signing Day Blitz: Ranking the Big 12

MORE: Top 25 Breakdown

More Conferences: ACC | Big East | Big Ten | Big 12 | Pac-12 | SEC | Best of the Rest

Rivals.com recruiting analyst Jason Howell breaks down and ranks the classes in the Big 12.

Baylor | Iowa State | Kansas | Kansas State
Oklahoma | Oklahoma State| TCU | Texas | Texas Tech | West Virginia

Singing Day Blitz: Ranking the Big 12
1. Oklahoma

Commit List
SoonerScoop.com
Message Board
Headliner: Rivals100 running back Keith Ford is an every-down back with breakaway speed.
Sleeper: Defensive end Matt Dimon is a highly productive, smart player from one of the perennial high school powers in Texas.
Overview: It was an odd year for recruiting in the Big 12, but it's not because the Sooners finished at the top of the list. No, it's odd because the No. 1 class in the Big 12 comes in at No. 15 nationally and after seven SEC programs. Bob Stoops and the Sooners dipped into Texas for a healthy dose of talent, including headliners Cody Thomas and Ford. The Sooners also plucked the top talents from Oklahoma, landing five of the six in-state players they offered including Rivals250 standouts D.J. Ward and Stanvon Taylor. The story on Signing Day was the late addition of Rivals250 safety L.J. Moore, who joins his Fresno (Calif.) Central East teammate Hatari Byrd in the Sooners class.

2. Texas

Commit List
Orangebloods.com
Message Board
Headliner: The nation's No. 3 offensive tackle, Kent Perkins plays with light feet and great leverage and has the ability to be cornerstone of the Longhorns offensive line for years to come.
Sleeper: At 6-3, 180 pounds, Montrel Meander has the size and track speed to become a weapon in the Texas offense.
Overview: Mack Brown and the Longhorns knew they were going to take a small class from the beginning, and their class of 15 is the smallest in the Big 12 for 2013. For all that the Longhorns received there is as much to be said about the losses they suffered. Ricky Seals-Jones, Kyle Hicks, Durham Smythe and A'Shawn Robinson were all committed to Texas before choosing to go elsewhere, and then in the final week they missed on priority targets Andrew Billings and Dontre Wilson. However, all was not lost. The Longhorns were able to grab a lot of high-quality talent with offensive linemen Perkins, Darius James and Rami Hammad leading the way and Rivals250 defensive end Jake Raulerson also expected to get a try on the offensive line.

3. West Virginia

Commit List
WVSports.com
Message Board
Headliner: Rivals250 wide receiver Shelton Gibson gives the Mountaineers a big receiver who can stretch the field with his 4.4 speed.
Sleeper: Daryl Worley has the size and athleticism to become a valuable multi-year starter down in the West Virginia secondary.
Overview: In their first year in the Big 12 the Mountaineers stuck to more historically familiar recruiting territory, but they made their presence felt by coming in with the No. 3 class in the conference. Coach Dana Holgorsen wanted to bolster his defense and went heavy on the linebackers with four-star Darrien Howard out of Florida leading the way. Considering Holgorsen's wide open offense, it comes as no surprise the Mountaineers were also able to get the signature of one of the nation's top receivers in Gibson. The Ohio standout was joined by four three-star receivers to form another strong point in the class. Overall it's a strong effort after their first Big 12 season and comes in at No. 24 in the country.

4. Baylor

Commit List
SicEmSports.com
Message Board
Headliner: The No. 8 receiver in the country and a member of the Rivals100, Robbie Rhodes has the ability to jump right in the mix in the high-powered Baylor offense.
Sleeper: At 6-2, 240 pounds, K.J. Smith has a knack for getting into opposing backfields and could see action very early on in his days in Waco.
Overview: The Bears finished higher than they ever have during the Briles-era at No. 4 in the Big 12 and No. 28 in the country. Baylor received a big boost on Tuesday when Waco (Texas) Rivals250 defensive tackle Andrew Billings announced his decision to keep his talents in Waco for his college career. Billings, Rhodes and prep school linebacker Brian Nance lead the way for the class, and coach Art Briles and his staff picked up solid additions in Johnny Jefferson, Vequan Jones and Raaquan Davis. The Bears also went heavy on the defense after being exposed in 2012 and added some depth in the trenches.

5. Oklahoma State

Commit List
OState.com
Message Board
Headliner: Rivals250 wide receiver Ra'Shaad Samples runs precise routes, gets great separation and catches the ball very well in traffic.
Sleeper: Three-star running back Rennie Childs saw his stock pick up as Signing Day approached and is the kind of back who could thrive in coach Mike Gundy's system.
Overview: It should come as no surprise that the Cowboys' recruiting class is headlined by a couple of receiving threats. The Cowboys have some history of producing top pass catchers under Gundy, and Samples and four-star standout Marcell Ateman hope to one day be mentioned with the likes of Dez Bryant, Justin Blackmon or Rashaun Woods. It looked like a trio was headed to Stillwater, but the Cowboys and Fred Ross parted ways just before Signing Day. Oklahoma State also grabbed four-star Jerel Morrow out of Kansas, who projects to cornerback for the Cowboys. The class of 23 is a solid group coming in at a respectable No. 34 in the country, and if you are looking for a sleeper position watch out for running backs Corion Webster and Childs.

6. TCU

Commit List
PurpleMenace.com
Message Board
Headliner: Four-star running back Kyle Hicks is a versatile back who can add another dimension to the Horned Frog running game.
Sleeper: Tight end Charlie Reid is big receiving threat at 6-4, 225 pounds, has strong hands and is very athletic.
Overview: When it comes to Signing Day, TCU has not been known for flash under Gary Patterson. The Horned Frogs have always done a great job of finding talents who fit their team needs and not worrying about the rankings, and in their first year in the Big 12 they stuck to the plan. In 2013 the Horned Frogs signed one four-star prospect in running back Hicks but strung together a nice group of three-star talents. There was thought that upgrading facilities and a move to a BCS conference, might help TCU take a step up in the recruiting rankings. But the Frogs check in at No. 35 in the team rankings, around the same place they have over the last few years. Patterson expects those things to have more of an impact in the 2014 class.

7. Kansas

Commit List
JayhawkSlant.com
Message Board
Headliner: Four-star defensive tackle Marquel Combs is one of the top junior college prospects in the country and is projected to be a big presence in the middle of the Jayhawks defense in 2013.
Sleeper: As a 6-3, 210 pound outside linebacker, Marcus Jenkins-Moore has sideline-to-sideline speed and is equally effective against the run and the pass.
Overview: The Jayhawks took a page from rival Kansas State this year and went heavy on the junior college ranks. Seeing as they had so many immediate needs, it was certainly not a bad idea by Charlie Weis and his staff. The Jayhawks signed 10 JUCOs in December, and Dallas three-star Colin Spencer enrolled at mid-term, so there were only 14 signatures to be had by the Jayhawks on Signing Day. The defensive front received a big boost in the form of JUCO four-stars Chris Martin and Combs, and Weis and his staff also went heavy on defensive backs and offensive line.

8. Texas Tech

Commit List
RedRaiderSports.com
Message Board
Headliner: Rivals250 wide receiver Devin Lauderdale is electric with the ball in his hands and gives the Red Raiders offense another explosive weapon on the offensive side of the ball.
Sleeper: At 6-5, 215 pounds Gary Moore is a big athlete who has the ability to be a future contributor on either offense or defense while in Lubbock.
Overview: When Tommy Tuberville left Lubbock in the middle of a recruiting weekend and right before the dead period, the Red Raiders were put in a tight spot. Upon his arrival, new head coach Kliff Kingsbury had no time to waste and went right to work. Bringing Lauderdale back in was a big accomplishment, and grabbing Signing Day signatures from Joshua Outlaw, linebacker Jacarthy Mack and receiver D.J. Polite-Bray, all from Lithonia, Ga., was a coup. While there were some impressive wins down the stretch, the class still comes in at No. 8 in the Big 12 and No. 51 in the country. There could be another addition or two to the class. One prospect to watch is three-star linebacker Edward Williams, who is also looking at Miami, Oregon State and Tulane.

9. Iowa State

Commit List
CycloneReport.com
Message Board
Headliner: Rivals250 offensive tackle Jake Campos is a home-grown prospect who has the ability to be a mainstay on the Cyclone offensive front
Sleeper: Three-star interior offensive lineman Ryan Glenn is a tenacious presence in the middle of the offensive line and a strong competitor.
Overview: When looking at the class coach Paul Rhoads and the Cyclones have put together, the offensive line is the first thing that catches the attention. They were able to sign the top player in Iowa in Campos and added four other three-star offensive linemen for their strongest spot in the class by far. Campos is the highest ranked player in the class and a guy who can give a big boost to the Cyclones in the near future. Iowa State comes in at No. 58 nationally and on the back side of the Big 12 rankings.

10. Kansas State

Commit List
GoPowercat.com
Message Board
Headliner: Four-star Tanner Wood was recruited to Manhattan as a defensive end but has shown the athletic ability to play on either side of the ball.
Sleeper: Three-star cornerback Cre Moore has a good all-around game that could make him a valuable asset very early in the Kansas State defensive backfield.
Overview: When it comes to recruiting, Kansas State head coach Bill Snyder has always marched to the beat of his own drum. The Wildcats seem to do things a little differently, and it is hard to argue with the formula considering they were just a game away from the national championship game in 2012. The Wildcats finished with the No. 64 class in the country and signed only four junior college prospects. They did welcome the addition of four-star Wood and linebacker Nick Ramirez but also had several two-star additions to put them at the bottom of the Big 12 rankings. It is not unusual for Kansas State to see itself at the back of the pack on Signing Day though, and it has not stopped the Wildcats from winning.



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