Ranking the Big 12’s classes: Collins pushes Texas past OU for recruiting crown

Posted February 5th, 2020


The recruiting trail remains a two-team race in the Big 12 as Texas and Oklahoma signed the conference’s top two classes. The Longhorns edged out their rival on national signing day, moving ahead of Oklahoma in the national rankings thanks to the late-afternoon commitment of four-star defensive end Alfred Collins. Texas’ 19-man class is small, but chock-full of potential difference-makers on both sides of the football.

Oklahoma is an offensive juggernaut under head coach Lincoln Riley and the list of commitments signed to the Sooners proves that the national perception of Riley is shared by prospects. Six of the seven highest-ranked members of Oklahoma’s class project to the offensive side of the football.

TCU holds the conference’s next best class, but it ranks outside the top 25 on national recruiting sites. The talent disparity between the Big 12 and a conference like the SEC is proven most on national signing day and during the NFL draft. The recruiting success of programs not named Oklahoma and Texas must improve for the Big 12 to be viewed in the same category as the SEC. Only one consensus five-star prospect signed with a Big 12 school —  running back Bijan Robinson to Texas.


Ranking the Big 12’s signing classes:


1. Texas (19 players)

The Longhorns signed the conference’s top class for the third year in a row. Tom Herman is injecting talent into the program despite going 8-5 with changes at offensive and defensive coordinator. Robinson, a talented running back from Arizona, headlines the class alongside four-star quarterback Hudson Card, who hails from the same high school that produced Baker Mayfield.

The Longhorns did a great job securing in-state defensive linemen Vernon Broughton, Alfred Collins and Prince Dorbah. Eight of the 19 signees are enrolled and already on campus.

2. Oklahoma (23)

Oklahoma beefed up its future offensive line with a pair of highly regarded guards in Nate Anderson and Andrew Raym. They’re the two highest-rated interior linemen in the country. Oklahoma also signed four-star offensive line prospects Anton Harrison and Aaryn Parks.

The Sooners signed an offense-heavy class led by running back Seth McGowan and wide receiver Marvin Mims, both Texans. The top-rated defensive signee picked Oklahoma on signing day as defensive end Reggie Grimes chose the Sooners over programs such as Alabama, Florida State and Tennessee.

Twelve of the 23 signees played high school football in Texas.

Temple wide receiver Quentin Johnston is a member of TCU’s 2020 recruiting class. [LOURDES M SHOAF for Statesman.]

3. TCU (17)

TCU only signed 17 players, tied for the lowest in the Big 12 alongside Baylor. The Horned Frogs salvaged the class with a trio of four-star prospects. Wide receiver Quentin Johnston flipped from Texas in December due to the coaching changes in Austin. Garrett Hayes is the fourth-ranked guard in the cycle and defensive tackle Patrick Jenkins was a steal out of Louisiana.

The Horned Frogs also secured four-star safety Bud Clark, another Louisianan, and added wide receiver Savion Williams on signing day. TCU also hopes to add JUCO quarterback Stephon Brown to the roster. Gary Patterson’s program went to five different states for the 2020 cycle. TCU signed three players from Oklahoma and a pair from Virginia.

4. West Virginia (21)

Head coach Neal Brown did a great job in his first full cycle recruiting to West Virginia, which is on a geographical island compared to the rest of the conference. The Mountaineers were the only Big 12 program to not sign a player from Texas. Cornerback David Vincent-Okoli is the highest-rated player in the class, followed by guard Chris Mayo and wide receiver Sam Brown. The Mountaineers secured quarterback Garrett Greene from Florida early in the cycle. He’s already enrolled on campus along with four other signees from the early period.

5. Oklahoma State (21)

Mike Gundy left no stone unturned when filling out his class. The Cowboys’ signees are scattered around the map. Only six of the 21 signees hail from Oklahoma. Gundy found players from nine different states to rally around a rising program in Stillwater. Quarterback Shane Illingworth of California signed in December and remained the program’s only four-star signee in the class. Oklahoma State inked a pair of Texas high school teammates in guard Trent Pullen and cornerback Korie Black.

6. Iowa State (22)

Matt Campbell found his future quarterback in four-star Hunter Dekkers. The dual-threat was a big in-state win for Iowa State. Dekkers is the lone four-star recruit in this year’s recruiting class. Quarterback Aidan Bouman also signed with the Cyclones. He’s a 6-6 pocket passer from Minnesota.

The Cyclones added nine early enrollees from the December signing period, including defensive tackle Latrell Bankston. The defensive tackle from Hutchinson C.C. was considered one of the top three defensive tackles in the JUCO ranks.

7. Kansas State (28)

Head coach Chris Klieman needed to add depth in his first full cycle at Kansas State and he achieved that with 28 signees, the most in the Big 12. Nine of those enrolled early and will take part in spring practice. That group is led by quarterback Will Howard and tight end Will Swanson. The Wildcats hope to rely more on prep recruiting than the JUCO routes preferred by Bill Snyder, but the class is headlined by Hutchinson C.C. defensive end Kirmari Gainous.

8. Texas Tech (21)

Recruiting to Lubbock is no easy task with so many options inside Texas and near its borders. That’s the challenge facing head coach Matt Wells. Four-star wide receiver Loic Fouonji was the best player in West Texas and the Red Raiders fought off the likes of Texas for his signature. Tech also went to East Texas to find wide receiver Ja’Lynn Polk. Running back Tahj Brooks put up huge numbers in high school despite a 5-9 frame. Defensive end Philip Blidi was the top-rated defensive signee.

Connally’s Jahdae Barron is a member of Baylor coach Dave Aranda’s first signing class. [NICK WAGNER/AMERICAN-STATESMAN]

9. Baylor (17)

The Bears lost any momentum that they built on the field in 2019 when head coach Matt Rhule departed for the Carolina Panthers and a huge NFL salary. Baylor signed 17 prospects and rank outside the national top 50 rankings despite having played for a Big 12 title. Defensive end James Sylvester and cornerback Jahdae Barron are elite prospects who can help new head coach Dave Aranda build a young core of players. The Bears didn’t possess many scholarship offers because of how many players signed in the previous two classes as Rhule rebuilt his roster that had been decimated by the Art Briles scandal.

10. Kansas (26)

It’ll take more than one full cycle for Les Miles to change the perception of Kansas football. The Jayhawks did sign 26 players and improve on their national recruiting ranking by nearly 15 spots from 2019. Cornerbacks JaCobee Bryant and Duece Mayberry join wide receiver Lawrence Arnold as the top three-rated players in the class. Kansas signed only one player from Kansas, highlighting an issue with recruiting for the Jayhawks: The lack of in-state talent makes it hard to change perception on the recruiting trail outside your own state. Miles must rely on his old contacts, and improve the product on the field, before Kanas can avoid the basement of the Big 12.