Evaluating high school recruits is not a precise science. Five-star players often become busts and two-stars blossom into All-Americans. But as an exercise, we've compiled what an All-Big 12 team would look like based solely on the ESPN recruiting rankings of the players that signed into the conference Wednesday.
This is not a personal prediction of how these recruits will develop, nor a guess at what the all-Big 12 team might look like three years from now. It's simply a reflection of the top-rated players at each position from ESPN's recruiting rankings (junior-college transfers not included).
QB: Sam Ehlinger, Texas (No. 4 QB-DT)
RB: Toneil Carter, Texas (No. 7 RB)
RB: Trey Sermon, Oklahoma (No. 8 RB)
WR: Jalen Reagor, TCU (No. 6 WR)
WR: Tylan Wallace, Oklahoma State (No. 13 WR)
WR: Damion Miller, Texas (No. 22 WR)
TE: Grant Calcaterra, Oklahoma (No. 2 TE-H)
OT: Adrian Ealy, Oklahoma (No. 32 OT)
OG: Jack Anderson, Texas Tech (No. 4 OG)
C: Xavier Newman, Baylor (No. 2 C)
OG: Tyrese Robinson, Oklahoma (No. 9 OG)
OT: Marquis Hayes, Oklahoma (No. 38 OT)
AP: Kenedy Snell, TCU (No. 28 ATH)
DE: Ta'quon Graham, Texas (No. 13 DE)
DT: Corey Bethley, TCU (No. 20 DT)
DT: James Lynch, Baylor (No. 47 DT)
DE: Dennis Collins, TCU (No. 36 DE)
OLB: Addison Gumbs, Oklahoma (No. 10 OLB)
ILB: Levi Draper, Oklahoma (No. 6 ILB)
ILB: Daniel Green, Kansas State (No. 26 ILB)
OLB: O'Rien Vance, Iowa State (No. 32 OLB)
CB: Justin Broiles, Oklahoma (No. 5 CB)
CB: Tre Brown, Oklahoma (No. 18 CB)
S: Robert Barnes, Oklahoma (No. 15 S)
S: Derrek Pitts Jr., West Virginia (No. 46 S)
The top-rated players from each position that didn't make the cut:
QB: Shawn Robinson, TCU (No. 8-DT)
RB: Kennedy Brooks, Oklahoma (No. 27 RB)
WR: Ryan Jones, Oklahoma (No. 24 WR)
TE: Cade Brewer, Texas (No. 8 TE-H)
OT: Khalil Keith, Baylor (No. 70 OT)
OG: Wes Harris, TCU (No. 11 OG)
C: Creed Humphrey, Oklahoma (No. 4 C)
AP: Michael Onyemaobi, TCU (No. 38 ATH)
DE: Isaiah Thomas, Oklahoma (No. 42 DE)
DT: George Ellis, TCU (No. 56 DT)
OLB: Kenneth Murray, Oklahoma (No. 45 OLB)
ILB: Riko Jeffers, Texas Tech (No. 38 ILB)
CB: Josh Thompson, Texas (No. 36 CB)
S: Eugene Brown, West Virginia (No. 50 S)
Collectively, outside of Oklahoma, this was not a stellar recruiting haul for the Big 12, most notably at offensive tackle, defensive line and linebacker. The Big 12 as a whole didn’t sign a single top 30 offensive tackle, and signed only three OTs ranked in the top 70 nationally (OU’s Ealy and Hayes and Baylor’s Keith). The league didn’t fare much better along the defensive front, either. The Big 12 inked only one top 45 DT (TCU’s Bethley), one top 35 DE (Texas’ Graham) and one top 30 OLB (OU’s Gumbs). It’s not like those blue-chip players weren’t there, either. The state of Texas produced the nation’s No. 3 OT, its No. 1 DT, its No. 4 DE and its No. 2 OLB. And the Big 12 whiffed on all four. For the long-term health of the league, that cannot be a trend that continues.
Underscoring a bit or parity, nine of the 10 Big 12 teams had at least one player make the All-Big 12 signing team. And though Kansas didn't have one, it should be noted that the Jayhawks reeled in a a pair of ESPN JC50 signees in QB Peyton Bender and RB Octavius Matthews, who, as juco transfers, weren’t eligible for the list above. Even though there was only one top 25 class nationally, there really weren’t any dud classes in the league this year, either.
At 21 signees, TCU didn't ink a big class this year, which likely contributed to the Horned Frogs falling outside the top 25 rankings. Still, this group is high on quality. Reagor, Harris, Robinson, Bethley and WR Omar Manning were elite additions. Nationally, TCU’s class seems to be considerably underrated.
It’s been well-documented how strongly Baylor and Matt Rhule closed this month. But Wednesday, Kansas State quietly had a big day, too. On top of landing ESPN JC50 safety Elijah Walker, the Wildcats snagged Green, who was the lone unknown going into signing day to also make the All-Big 12 Signing Day squad.