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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.