The story of the Big 12’s recruiting class for 2014 includes plenty of hometown heroes, with seven of the top 10 recruits staying loyal by staying local. These superstar athletes may have shined on their high school turf, but who will explode on the college scene in Tornado Alley?
After a big win in the Sugar Bowl against Alabama, it’s no surprise that Coach Bob Stoops and the Sooners snatched four of the top 10 Big 12 recruits this year. Wide receiver Dallis Todd and five-star running back Joe Mixon come from California to intensify an offense that will include Mark Andrews, a 6-foot-6, 220-lb. tight end who’s promised to double as a wide receiver. With redshirt quarterback Kendal Thompson’s transfer after the 2013 season, the Sooners hope to fill a void with Oklahoma native Justice Hansen. This pro-style quarterback is comfortable in the pocket and a danger on the ground.
Charlie Strong has some big shoes to fill following Mack Brown’s departure from the University of Texas. In an attempt to restore the once-prestigious program, the Longhorn staff hit the Lone Star State recruiting scene hard. Eighteen of their 21 verbal commits hail from Texas, including running back Donald Catalon and defensive end Derick Roberson. Quarterback Jerrod Heard out of Denton committed to UT his sophomore year of high school and with his stats, it’s no surprise people are comparing him to Vince Young.
Football teams dread losing an elite class like the one Baylor had in 2013, but with the way the Bears have recruited so far, they have nothing to worry about. The state of Texas has produced some tremendous athletes in wide receivers KD Cannon and Davion Hall. The Baylor staff expects Cannon’s five stars to have an immediate impact, while Hall has the ability to be an all-around threat. The talent will be on display when BU opens its new stadium this fall.
Texas Christian University
The Horned Frogs are looking to improve on a season full of injuries with a set of native quarterbacks. Gary Patterson’s team has generally emphasized a strong defense in seasons past, but with signal caller Grayson Muehlstein and offensive tackle Ty Barrett from Dallas, TCU is looking to make a push as an offensive power in 2014.
With midwestern competitors, the Mountaineers are using location to their advantage, recruiting top athletes from the east coast. Hailing from Baltimore, quarterback William Crest will need to learn Coach Dana Holgorsen’s offense quickly and assist the team this fall. Defensive back Dravon Henry and wide receiver Ricky Rogers will come down from Pennsylvania to participate in spring practices, hoping to help the team climb polls early this fall.
Kliff Kingsbury’s focus for this season’s recruiting class is depth on both sides of the Red Raider ball. Texas Tech found two home-produced players, safety Payton Hendrix and quarterback Patrick Mahomes, to build that roster. Like many Big 12 prospects, Mahomes has the agility of a running QB, but strives to make big pass plays with exceptional field vision.
Roaming the same vicinity as recruiting powerhouse OU, one may think Mike Gundy and Oklahoma State could run into commitment trouble, but the Cowboys prove skeptics wrong with Tyreek Hill, a back that chose OSU over reigning BCS Champion Florida State. Defenses need to watch out for this undersized athlete, letting him hit the open field will prove treacherous for any opponent.
The countdown to Signing Day is on and we still have details on the SEC, ACC and Pac-12 (the B1G has already made its debut), so be sure to check back next week for a rundown on your team’s incoming class.