In this week's Big 12 Take Two, we examine the storyline that has caught our eye the most in Big 12 recruiting:
Take 1: Max Olson
Two things stand out to me. First, I can’t help but notice that there are 51 ESPN 300 recruits in the state of Texas this year. And it’s possible that only 17 of them end up signing to play the Big 12.
That number will end up being high on signing day, no doubt. But nearly a third of those top players in Texas are committed to SEC programs. Four big-time recruits are committed to Houston. Stanford might sign three.
So I’d be keeping an eye on some of the big uncommitted stars over the next few weeks. If guys like Jeffrey McCulloch (No. 3 recruit in Texas), Brandon Jones (No. 7), Dontavious Jackson (No. 18), Quartney Davis (No. 39) and Marcel Southall (No. 44) elect to turn down the Big 12 and/or leave the state, that’s a little bit concerning.
Another observation: Matt Campbell is hustling. Iowa State did not have much momentum in recruiting when he showed up as its new head coach at the end of November, and you have to admire the efforts he and his staffers have made to rebuild their class.
The Cyclones have 20 commits on board now, and 15 of them made their pledges after Campbell was hired. Sure, they’ve gone after a lot of players they were targeting at Toledo. But that’s not a bad thing.
New coaches often end up inheriting a class full of holdovers that the previous staff evaluated and wanted. You usually have no choice but to try to keep that group together. I like that Campbell is doing things his way and loading up on his guys right away. We’ll find out soon enough how talented this staff is on the talent evaluation front.
Take 2: Jake Trotter
Max brings up a tremendous point. The competition for top-flight talent in the state of Texas has never been more fierce. And the reason is that there has never been this many tentacles reaching in trying to snatch away players. This leads into what has caught my eye the most. And that's Texas and Oklahoma not boasting Top 25 classes at the moment.
Honestly, I think both finish in the Top 25, or come close to it. Both the Sooners and Longhorns are in the mix for several blue-chippers, which would boost their recruiting profiles.
Then again, when was the last time that neither Texas nor Oklahoma owned Top 25 classes only three weeks aways from signing day?
Just a decade ago, you could count on the Sooners and Longhorns delivering top-10 classes like a clock. That clearly isn't the case anymore. And though there are other reasons why, the biggest one is that the lifeblood of both programs -- top-tier Texas talent -- is choosing the SEC. Or choosing budding programs like Baylor, TCU or even Houston. Or just choosing to leave the state to go to faraway schools like Stanford and Michigan.
Oklahoma and Texas are still two of the big dogs in the state of Texas. That's never going to completely change. But as this year's recruiting rankings indicate, this isn't 2005 anymore, either.