We continue our conference-by-conference look at the football recruiting classes across the nation by delving into the Big 12 recruiting classes. You can check out other evaluations from the Big Ten, Big East, Pac-12 and SEC.
Best Class: Oklahoma Sooners
The Big 12 as a whole lagged seriously behind the Pac-12 and the SEC recruiting-wise and the argument could be made that the conference did worse than the recently-much-maligned Big Ten.
Heading this mediocre-recruiting-wise conference is Oklahoma, which earned itself a top-15 national recruiting class ranking on both Scout and Rivals, and it is far and away the best recruiting class in the Big 12. The average star rating says otherwise — perhaps a number that’s a tad too over-valued given depth is an actual thing that exists, too — but Oklahoma nabbed quite a few upper-tier recruits in its 24-man class, with seven four-star recruits and a five-star recruit hopping aboard the Sooners’ program.
This class shines particularly on defense and, more pointedly, on the defensive line and the defensive back position groups, with Oklahoma ranking in the top-15 in both.
Worst Class: Kansas State Wildcats
For the sake of objectivity, we’ll lambaste Kansas State’s recruiting class for being the consensus worst class in the conference and one of the weaker classes in the entire nation.
And for the sake of tradition, we’ll allow ourselves to be stoned when this class forms the foundation for a championship-contending team in about three or four years.
That’s what Bill Snyder does. If there’s any coach that lays claim to the best coach that does more with less, it’s Snyder, whose classes have ranked in the bottom three in the Big 12 every year since 2009.
And this year, they finished at the bottom.
The 18-man class brought in just two four-star signees and nine three-star recruits. Only Texas had less three-star recruits, but that’s because the Longhorns’ class consists of only 15 signees, nine of which were four-star recruits.
Of course, this may not matter in four years, but let’s just pretend to look down on Snyder and roll our eyes at his inability to recruit.
Most Disappointing Class: Texas Longhorns
This labeling of “most disappointing class” causes confusion, and so when fans look at the Longhorns’ class and find out that they lay claim to the second-best within the conference, while also noting that they’re top-25 nationally, they’ll slough off this distinction because they misunderstood the term “disappointing.”
No, the Longhorns’ class didn’t live up to expectations and this gripe has nothing to do about quantity. Head honcho Mack Brown made it clear that the class was going to recruit a small class due to the many returning players.
Texas didn’t earn a ton of highly-touted recruits, as they are so accustomed to doing, and according to Rivals, did not sign a five-star recruit for the first time since 2008. Indeed, if this class had lived up to expectations, it would’ve had landed one of the big fish, or it would’ve had more four-star recruits. We’re nit-picking here, and perhaps we’re holding Texas to higher standards, but given that Mack Brown’s job is on the line, picking up a big-time recruiting class would’ve built some momentum towards next season.
Most Surprising Class: Baylor Bears
While not the best recruiting class in the conference, the Bears did much more than just hold their own and improved their relative conference recruiting ranking to its best position in years. Aside from the fact that Baylor signed three four-star recruits — a nice pick-up by Baylor standards — they also signed 15 three-star recruits in the 22-man class. Even further, though, Baylor recruited with need in mind. With the Bears “earning” the lowly distinction of one of the five-worst defenses in the entire country in 2012, adding 14 defensive recruits in a class of 22 is a pretty big deal.
And now Baylor has all the momentum in the Big 12, finishing strong in 2012 and poised to take out the big dogs in the conference.
Top Prospect: Kent Perkins
Part of the reason this conference’s recruiting lagged so much was its lack of highly sought-after signees. According to Rivals, the conference didn’t pick up one five-star recruit. Between college football powerhouses Oklahoma and Texas, and among respected programs like TCU and Oklahoma State, there was not a single dominant player that went to the Big 12, according to Rivals.
Scout, however, says there are three, and one of them is offensive tackle Kent Perkins, who signed with Texas. Texas’ offensive line could always use improvement and adding Perkins is a big-deal, but it’s uncertain just how great he is. He’s this conference’s top prospect in 2013, though, and he’ll be a player to look out for.
Names To Watch
1. Oklahoma. Keith Ford, Cody Thomas, Hatari Byrd
2. Texas. Kent Perkins, Tyrone Swoopes, Antwuan Davis
3. West Virginia. Shelton Bigson, Mario Alford, Darrien Howard
4. Baylor. Robbie Rhodes, Andrew Billings, Chris Johnson
5. Oklahoma State. Marcell Ateman, Ra’Shaad Samples, Tre Flowers
6. TCU. Kyle Hicks, Cydney Calvin, Sammy Douglas
7. Kansas. Marquel Combs, Chris Martin, Kellen Ash
8. Texas Tech. Devin Lauderdale, Davis Webb, Dorian Crawford
9. Iowa State. Jake Campos, Joel Lanning, Shawn Curtis
10. Kansas State. Tanner Wood, LeAndrew Gordon, Nick Ramirez