The Dotted Line

Stay updated on the latest Texas Longhorns recruiting news brought to you by Longhorns recruiting beat writer Mike Craven of Hookem.com. The Dotted Line will publish M-F at 10 a.m. each morning to provide Texas fans with an in-depth look at the latest for the Longhorns on the recruiting trail.

Texas head coach Tom Herman reacts to a fan before an NCAA college football game at Royal-Memorial Stadium, Saturday, Sept. 7, 2019. [Stephen Spillman for Statesman]

Football

The Dotted Line: Examining the current status of Big 12 recruiting classes

Posted September 18th, 2019

Advertisement

The Big 12 suffers from a perception problem that there is a huge talent gap between the top two programs and everyone else. That is illustrated in the current 2020 recruiting rankings. Texas’ class ranks fifth in the nation, while Oklahoma checks in at 11th. Iowa State is the next conference team on the list, at No. 33. 

The most shocking trend is at state schools not named Texas or Texas A&M. The other in-state programs simply don’t recruit well enough to compete at a national level despite the state boasting the best prep football in the country. Texas Tech, at No. 41, is the highest-rated in-state class outside the Longhorns and Aggies.

Here’s where the conference schools’ classes sit:

Advertisement
Bijan Robinson, a five-star running back from Salpointe Catholic High School in Tucson, Ariz., committed to Texas on Aug. 2, 2019, the same day that the Longhorns opened fall practices. [KELLY PRESNELL/ARIZONA DAILY STAR]

Texas 

No. of commits: 19

Current national/Big 12 ranks: 5th/1st

Top prospects: RB Bijan Robinson, QB Hudson Card, ATH Ja’Quinden Jackson

Texas’ recruiting machine kept rolling the 2020 class. Expect no more than a few more additions before Tom Herman’s program shifts its full attention to the 2021 cycle. It’s a well-balanced class with playmakers on both sides of the ball and talent to add to both lines of scrimmage, specifically along the defensive front if the Longhorns can close on four-star Bastrop Cedar Creek product Alfred Collins.

Oklahoma 

No. of commits: 17

Current national/Big 12 ranks: 11th/2nd

Top prospects: RB Jase McClellan, OG Nate Anderson, RB Seth McGowan 

The Sooners’ top-four rated prospects project to offense, which seems par for the course in Norman, an offensive factory under head coach Lincoln Riley. Five of the class’ top six-rated prospects are Texans. Oklahoma continues to recruit well in north Texas, and even beat out UT for Houston safety Bryson Washington. 

Iowa State

No. of commits: 20

Current national/Big 12 ranks: 33rd/3rd

Top prospects: QB Hunter Dekkers, WR Daniel Jackson, QB Aidan Bouman

Head coach Matt Campbell committed his next few years to Iowa State after the 2018 season and that should help cement the program as the third-best in the conference. It’s certainly helped in recruiting, where Iowa State already ranks 12 spots ahead nationally in the 2020 class than it did for its final ranking in 2019. Two quarterbacks headline the group along with Jackson, a wide receiver from Cibolo Steele. 

Kansas

No. of commits: 26

Current national/Big 12 ranks: 35th/4th

Top prospects: ILB Brennon Scott, CB JaCobee Bryant, OLB Taiwan Berryhill 

Les Miles was brought to Kansas to rejuvenate a dead program. In a conference full of football schools, Kansas cares more about success on the basketball court. The first step to turning around the Jayhawks is to infuse talent into the program. Miles can recruit, and he’s already showing that ability at Kansas. The Jayhawks’ 2019 class ranked 70th in the nation. 

Texas Tech

No. of commits: 16

Current national/Big 12 ranks: 41st/5th

Top prospects: WR Ja’Lynn Polk, RB Tahj Brooks, ATH Myles Price

Texas Tech is struggling on the field in Year 1 under Matt Wells after a trip to Arizona cost the Red Raiders a loss and its starting quarterback. Talent is on the way if Wells can keep the class together despite a lack of success on the field. Brooks, a Manor product, is a borderline four-star running back who can help change the culture in Lubbock. 

Oklahoma State

No. of commits: 14 

Current national/Big 12 ranks: 42nd/6th

Top prospects: QB Shane Illingworth, OG Eli Russ, OG Trent Pullen

It’s usually futile to break down a Mike Gundy class because he recruits more for fit than overall talent. It works in Stillwater, an unlikely place to draw high-level recruits. He has snagged a four-star quarterback from California and added offensive line pieces around him like Russ and Pullen. Waco Connally cornerback Korie Black is an underrated prospect from Texas. 

Kansas State

No. of commits: 18

Current national/Big 12 ranks: 45th/7th

Top prospects: ILB Jeremiah Harris, DE Nate Matlack, OT Carver Willis

It appears that Kansas State is going to rely more on high school recruiting than it did under Bill Snyder, who liked to focus on the JUCO ranks for instant starters. The 2019 class at Kansas State ranked 62nd in the nation. Head coach Chris Klieman is well above that mark in his first full cycle. Harris is from Alvin Shadow Creek. 

TCU

No. of commits: 12

Current national/Big 12 ranks: 46th/8th

Top prospects: DE James Sylvester, CB Keontae Jenkins, WR Danny Gray

TCU holds the fewest commitments in the Big 12. Sylvester and Jenkins are the only four-star recruits in the class. Gary Patterson is another coach who ditches rankings for potential fit. Still, it’s concerning that TCU doesn’t have a bigger or more talented class. Maybe a good season turns the recruiting momentum around. 

West Virginia

No. of commits: 13

Current national/Big 12 ranks: 54th/9th

Top prospects: G Chris Mayo, QB Garrett Greene, WR Devell Washington

It’s so hard to recruit at West Virginia because of its location. It’s the only Big 12 school without a commitment from a Texan. A slow start to the season won’t help new head coach Neal Brown overachieve in the 2020 class. Expect West Virginia to scour the JUCO ranks and the transfer portal after the season. 

Baylor

No. of commits: 13

Current national/Big 12 ranks: 62nd/10th

Top prospects: CB Jahdae Barron, RB Taye McWilliams, CB AJ McCarty

No team’s 2020 class is more disappointing than Baylor’s right now. There is still time left to climb out of the cellar, but there isn’t a ton of uncommitted prospects left with the quickening pace of early pledges. Barron, a product of Pflugerville Connally, is the class’ top-ranked player. Not a single four-star prospect is committed. 

Comments