New song, same dance.
That’s how recruiting feels in the Big 12, and the 2020 class hasn’t change that perception. The two kings of the conference, at least on the recruiting trail, are Oklahoma and Texas. There is no third challenger. Texas and Oklahoma are the only Big 12 programs to rank inside the top 30 of the team rankings on 247Sports’ composite.
That’s fewer than either division in the SEC. The talent gap continues to widen between the royal pair and the rest of the conference. Baylor holds the league’s lowest-rated class despite an appearance in the Big 12 championship game and the fact that Matt Rhule didn’t leave for the NFL until after the early signing period.
A look at the conference’s classes:
No. of commits: 23
Current national/Big 12 ranks: 9th/1st
Top prospects: G Nate Anderson, G Andrew Raym, RB Seth McGowan
Twenty-two of Oklahoma’s 23 pledges signed during the early period. The Sooners failed to sign five-star running back Jase McClellan, however, as he flipped to Alabama the week of the early period despite a two-year commitment to Oklahoma. Four-star defensive end Reggie Grimes is the only commitment who didn’t sign in December. Oklahoma also picked up a transfer from UCLA wide receiver Theo Howard, a former four-star recruit. The seven highest-rated recruits in the class play offense.
No. of commits: 17
Current national/Big 12 ranks: 11th/2nd
Top prospects: RB Bijan Robinson, QB Hudson Card, ATH Ja’Quinden Jackson
The Longhorns can move back into the top 10 and claim the Big 12’s best class for the third consecutive cycle if they can close with targets like defensive lineman Alfred Collins and wide receiver Kelvontay Dixon. Texas’ class is small, but talented. Robinson was the only five-star to sign with a Big 12 school. Texas also did a great job recruiting a pair of talented quarterbacks to take over when Sam Ehlinger leaves.
No. of commits: 15
Current national/Big 12 ranks: 33rd/3rd
Top prospects: WR Quentin Johnston, OT Garrett Hayes, DT Patrick Jenkins
The Horned Frogs’ class ranks third despite just 15 commitments. Stealing Johnston from Texas was a huge development for Gary Patterson. Johnston was the highest-rated wide receiver in Texas’ class and a top-20 player in the state. Hayes is also a member of the Fabulous 55. TCU added the transfer of former Mississippi State quarterback Logan Burnett to help bolster an inexperienced and thin quarterbacks room. Seven of TCU’s 10 highest-rated signees play on the offensive or defensive line.
4. West Virginia
No. of commits: 20
Current national/Big 12 ranks: 37th/4th
Top prospects: G Chris Mayo, CB David Vincent-Okoli, DE Sean Martin
West Virginia signed 18 of its 20 commitments during the early period with JUCO three-star offensive tackle Jacob Gamble and three-star running back Avarius Sparrow yet to sign. Sparrow committed in January. Vincent-Okoli is the lone four-star in the class, while Mayo and Martin give the Mountaineers headliners on the offensive and defensive lines. Three-star quarterback Garrett Greene is the 21st-ranked dual-threat prospect in the country. 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.
5. Oklahoma State
No. of commits: 19
Current national/Big 12 ranks: 43rd/5th
Top prospects: QB Shane Illingworth, G Eli Russ, G Trent Pullen
The Cowboys could be the darling pick to win the Big 12 in 2020 with the return of wide receiver Tylan Wallace and running back Chuba Hubbard, who’ll join with emerging quarterback Spencer Sanders. Oklahoma State addressed the offensive line by signing Pullen and Russ. Pullen is a Waco Connally product and a member of the Fab 55. Illingworth is a 6-6 pocket passer with a big arm. Oklahoma signed 18 of its 20 commitments. Iowa Central C.C. linebacker Lamont Bishop committed last weekend.
6. Iowa State
No. of commits: 22
Current national/Big 12 ranks: 44th/6th
Top prospects: QB Hunter Dekkers, DT Latrell Bankston, QB Aidan Bouman
Each of the 21 future Cyclones signed early. The class is headlined by Dekkers, a four-star dual-threat quarterback from Iowa. Bouman is more of a pocket passer. Bankston is the third-rated JUCO defensive tackle in the class. The Cyclones signed a large, balanced group that currently ranks three spots higher than it did in 2018. Iowa State was also sixth in the Big 12 last year. The Cyclones added a commitment from kicker Ben Sauls in January.
7. Texas Tech
No. of commits: 19
Current national/Big 12 ranks: 47th/7th
Top prospects: WR Loic Fouonji WR Ja’Lynn Polk, RB Tahj Brooks
It was a solid first year of recruiting for head coach Matt Wells. The Red Raiders signed the 62nd-ranked class in 2019. The top of the 2020 class is headlined by a pair of receivers. Fouonji is on the Fab 55. Polk was a dominant force at Lufkin for three years. Brooks, a running back from Manor, is a hard-nosed runner with wiggle and great balance. Texas Tech also nabbed two linebacker transfers to bolster the defense. Eighteen of the 19 commitments signed.
8. Kansas State
No. of commits: 27
Current national/Big 12 ranks: 48th/9th
Top prospects: ILB Jeremiah Harris, DE Nate Matlack, G Talor Warner
Kansas State’s class ranks 15 spots ahead of its pace in 2019. That’s a big improvement for Chris Klieman in his first full cycle in charge. Kansas State was JUCO- and transfer-heavy under Bill Snyder. Klieman clearly wants more focus placed on prep recruiting. Round Rock running back Deuce Vaughn is one of six Texans who signed. The Wildcats also added former Cedar Park and Lake Travis defender Hunter Henry through a transfer from Rice.
No. of commits: 24
Current national/Big 12 ranks: 55th/8th
Top prospects: ILB Brennon Scott, CB JaCobee Bryant, WR Lawrence Arnold
Twenty of Kansas’ 24 pledges signed in December. Les Miles is instantly raising the recruiting profile in Lawrence. The 2019 class ranked 70th in the nation and last in the Big 12. Arnold, an athlete from DeSoto, is the top-rated signee.
No. of commits: 14
Current national/Big 12 ranks: 61st/10th
Top prospects: DE James Sylvester, CB Jahdae Barron, RB Taye McWilliams
Baylor is the only Big 12 team with a class ranked outside of the top 60 in the nation. The Bears hold just 14 commitments, signing a Big 12-low 12 prospects during the early period. Sylvester and Barron are members of the Fab 55, however. It’s disappointing for Baylor that it couldn’t capitalize on a great season in terms of recruiting.
2020 Fabulous 55 - Winter editionThe updated 2020 55 following the 2019 season.
|RANK (PREV.)||PLAYER||POS.||HIGH SCHOOL||COLLEGE|
|1. (1)||Zachary Evans||RB||Galena Park North Shore (6A)||Uncommitted|
|2. (3)||Jaylon Jones||DB||Cibolo Steele (6A)||Texas A&M|
|3. (5)||Drew Sanders||OLB||Denton Ryan (5A)||Alabama|
|4. (2)||Demond Demas||WR||Tomball (5A)||Texas A&M|
|5. (4)||Ja'Quinden Jackson||QB||Duncanville (6A)||Texas|
|6. (20)||Jaxon Smith-Njigba||WR||Rockwall (6A)||Ohio State|
|7. (11)||RJ Mickens||S||Southlake Carroll (6A)||Clemson|
|8. (9)||Jase McClellan||RB||Aledo (5A)||Alabama|
|9. (7)||Vernon Broughton||DT||Cy Ridge (6A)||Texas|
|10. (18)||Jalen Kimber||CB||Mansfield Timberview (5A)||Georgia|
|11. (10)||Haynes King||QB||Longview (5A)||Texas A&M|
|12. (8)||Hudson Card||QB||Lake Travis (6A)||Texas|
|13. (17)||Nate Anderson||OT||Frisco Reedy (5A)||Oklahoma|
|14. (45)||Jalin Conyers||TE||Gruver (2A)||Oklahoma|
|15. (12)||Quentin Johnston||WR||Temple (6A)||TCU|
|16. (52)||Garrett Hayes||OT||Athens (4A)||TCU|
|17. (19)||Prince Dorbah||OLB||Highland Park (5A)||Texas|
|18. (26)||Seth McGowan||RB||Mesquite Poteet (5A)||Oklahoma|
|19. (15)||Xavion Alford||S||Alvin Shadow Creek (5A)||Texas|
|20. (14)||Alfred Collins||DT||Bastrop Cedar Creek (5A)||Uncommitted|
|21. (35)||Devon Achane||WR||Fort Bend Marshall (5A)||Texas A&M|
|22. (40)||Marvin Mims||WR||Frisco Lone Star (5A)||Oklahoma|
|23. (23)||EJ Smith||RB||Dallas Jesuit (6A)||Stanford|
|24. (34)||Jerrin Thompson||S||Lufkin (6A)||Texas|
|25. (6)||Chad Lindberg||OT||Clear Creek (6A)||Georgia|
|26. (13)||Jaylen Garth||OT||Port Neches-Groves (5A)||Texas|
|27. (25)||Malik Hornsby||QB||Fort Bend Marshall (5A)||Arkansas|
|28. (32)||Jahari Rogers||CB||Arlington (6A)||Florida|
|29. (33)||Collin Sullivan||WR||Round Rock (6A)||Purdue|
|30. (27)||Logan Parr||OG||San Antonio O'Connor (6A)||Texas|
|31. (NR)||Jahdae Barron||CB||Pflugerville Connally (5A)||Baylor|
|32. (41)||Josh White||OLB||Cy Creek (6A)||LSU|
|33. (22)||Princely Umanmielen||DE||Manor (5A)||Florida|
|34. (30)||Jake Majors||OC||Prosper (6A)||Texas|
|35. (21)||Alec Bryant||OLB||Alvin Shadow Creek (5A)||Virginia Tech|
|36. (NR)||Andrej Karic||OT||Southlake Carroll (6A)||Texas|
|37. (NR)||Loic Fouonji||WR||Midland Lee (6A)||Texas Tech|
|38. (44)||Kitan Crawford||CB||John Tyler (6A)||Texas|
|39. (47)||Parker Washington||WR||Fort Bend Travis (6A)||Penn State|
|40. (46)||Kevontre Bradford||RB||Lancaster (6A)||LSU|
|41. (48)||Akinola Ogunbiyi||OG||Fort Bend Kempner (6A)||Texas A&M|
|42. (38)||Bryson Washington||S||C.E. King (6A)||Oklahoma|
|43. (31)||Lorando Johnson||CB||Lancaster (6A)||LSU|
|44. (49)||Ryan Watts||CB||Little Elm (5A)||Ohio State|
|45. (51)||Avery Helm||CB||Fort Bend Marshall (5A)||Florida|
|46. (50)||Michael Henderson||ATH||Carrollton Ranchview (4A)||Oklahoma|
|47. (24)||Chris Thompson Jr.||S||Duncanville (6A)||Auburn|
|48. (16)||Troy Omeire||WR||Fort Bend Austin (6A)||Texas|
|49. (55)||Trent Pullen||OG||Waco Connally (4A)||Oklahoma State|
|50. (36)||Darius Snow||S||Carrollton Hebron (6A)||Michigan State|
|51. (37)||James Sylvester||DE||Newton (2A)||Baylor|
|52. (NR)||Kelvontay Dixon||WR||Carthage (4A)||Texas|
|53. (53)||Chandler Morris||QB||Highland Park (5A)||Auburn|
|54. (42)||Brennan Scott||OLB||Bishop Dunne (TAPPS)||UNLV|
|55. (43)||Ty'Kieast Crawford||OT||Carthage (4A)||Kilgore College (JUCO)|