Big 12 Football Recruiting Classes: Where They Stand - WVU Football, WVU Basketball, News - Mountaineer Sports

Big 12 Football Recruiting Classes: Where They Stand

Texas verbal commitment Tyrone Swoopes is the first five-star prospect to commit to a Big 12 school in the 2013 recruiting class. Texas verbal commitment Tyrone Swoopes is the first five-star prospect to commit to a Big 12 school in the 2013 recruiting class.

With spring football practice behind us and fall camp still months away, let's spend some time focusing on the one thing that collegiate coaches everywhere are now doing on a daily basis: recruiting.

The 2012 class saw the Mountaineers sign 29 prospects, some of whom have already made their presence felt by enrolling early and gaining significant playing time in spring ball, including Karl Joseph and Jordan Thompson.

The WVU staff has been on the road now for a few weeks trying to find more Mountaineers like those two, and so far they've been rewarded for their efforts by gaining verbal commitments from three prospects in the Northeast.

Linebacker Hodari Christian (McKeesport, Pa. / McKeesport), offensive lineman Marcell Lazard (Bloomfield, N.J. / Bloomfield) and running back DeShawn Coleman (Hermitage, Pa. / Hermitage) became the first three prospects in the 2013 class.

Here's a snapshot of where each Mountaineer conference opponent stands with their recruiting class heading into the summer (all rankings from


Baylor – 9 commitments (1 four-star)

The Bears received a huge boost to their post-RG3 football program when four-star receiver Vequan Jones (184th overall prospect) committed to play his college ball in Waco over a host of major BCS suitors.  Head coach Art Briles may have found his QB of the future in 6'5" Chris Johnson, an athletic dual-threat signal-caller from Bryan, Texas.  In addition, linebacker Raaquan Davis and running back Johnny Jefferson (nation's No. 4 all-purpose back) both chose the Bears over some elite programs.  All nine commitments hail from the Lone Star State.


Iowa State – 0 commitments

The Cyclones coaching staff has yet to gain a verbal for the 2013 class.


Kansas – 3 commitments

Head Coach Charlie Weis got a jumpstart on his class when tight end Ben Johnson committed shortly after the 2012 National Signing Day in February.  Their other two verbals are quarterback Montell Cozart, who picked up offers from Indiana, Minnesota and WVU, and linebacker Kellen Ash.  Neither Johnson nor Ash report any additional offers.


Kansas State – 4 commitments

Tanner Wood, who committed in June of last year, is the headliner of this class so far.  Other playmakers include speedy wide receiver LeAndrew Gordon and pass-rusher Jordan Willis.  Gordon's size scared many colleges away but he has speed to burn and will play slot receiver and special teams for Bill Snyder.  It's likely the head coach will once again hit the JUCO ranks hard this fall to help fill out his class.


Oklahoma – 6 commitments (4 four-stars)

Bob Stoops is once again having no trouble bringing talent to Norman, and when you are a national powerhouse such as OU, there is nothing wrong with being picky this early in the process.  Headlining the group is Greg Bryant (nation's No. 4 running back and 23rd overall), and he is joined in the backfield by talented rusher Keith Ford (113th overall).  The Sooners have never had trouble finding All-American talent to tote the rock, and this year looks to be no exception.  On the defensive side of the ball, top 100 recruit D.J. Ward, a 6'4" pass-rusher, committed to Stoops a month ago and he was joined by defensive back Stanvon Taylor (188th overall) this week.  Three-star defensive ends Matt Dimon and Dalton Rodriguez round out the class.


Oklahoma State – 3 commitments (2 four-stars)

Two-time Biletnikoff award winner Justin Blackmon leaves school, becomes a top-five NFL Draft pick and what does Mike Gundy do?  He goes out and signs two more studs to make plays in the passing game.  Wide receivers Marcell Ateman (140th overall) and Fred Ross (213th overall), both from Texas, chose the Cowboys over a plethora of interest and offers from major programs.  Ateman is a big target at 6'4" and Ross can make people miss after the catch.  Offensive lineman Jack Kurzu is the remaining verbal.


Texas – 14 commitments (1 five-star, 10 four-stars)

It's safe to say UT has one of the best classes right now in the entire country.  Led by 6'5" five-star QB Tyrone Swoopes, comparisons to former Heisman Trophy runner-up Vince Young have not been lost on this young man.  Not surprisingly, Swoops isn't the only prospect in this class rated No. 1 in the nation at his respective position, as wide receiver Ricky-Seals Jones, a 6'5" deep-threat, and offensive center Darius James can also make that claim.  If you needed further proof of how beneficial it is to be located in a talent-rich state, all of UT's commits are located within the Texas borders.  Four additional four-star commits rank in the top 100 nationally: offensive tackles Kent Perkins (25th overall) and Jake Raulerson (51st overall), wide receiver Jake Oliver (61st overall) and defensive tackle A'Shawn Robinson (69th overall).  Four-stars Antwuan Davis, Deoundrei Davis, Kyle Hicks and Jacorey Warrick help compose the current 14-man class.


Texas Tech – 7 commitments (1 four-star)

The Red Raiders are off to a good start in the 2013 class with the third-most commitments of any Big 12 school, and five of those verbals reside in the defensive backfield.  After ranking 114th in the nation in total defense in 2011, head coach Tommy Tuberville has clearly made that side of the ball an emphasis for his staff during the early evaluation period.  Will Barrow, Tavares Garner and Jordan Sterns from the Texas prep ranks join JUCO standouts Stormy Butler and Darren Dotson as the defensive back commitments.  Headlining the group is speedy four-star wideout Devin Lauderdale (193rd overall) from Houston, who turned down offers from Alabama and Notre Dame in favor of Texas Tech.  Wide receiver Dylan Cantrell, a former WVU target, is the remaining verbal.


TCU – 2 commitments

The four Texas schools may have combined for 32 verbal commitments thus far (all 30 from the high school ranks are from Texas), but TCU has only two of them.  Sammy Douglas, a very athletic 6'2" linebacker from Arlington, was the first of those two to commit back in February.  The other is offensive lineman Patrick Morris, who spurned conference mates Kansas and Texas Tech in the process of becoming a Horned Frog.


Clearly, there is a long way to go until National Signing Day, as evidenced by Iowa State not garnering a commitment yet for the 2013 class (as of May 17th).

But make no mistake about it; the schools from talent-rich Texas have a huge recruiting advantage over everybody not named Oklahoma.

If you're an elite program like OU, you can recruit nationally regardless of your location.  But Baylor, Texas Tech, TCU and UT don't need to leave the state to fill their classes.

It will be fascinating to see how WVU's class, which produced players from seven different states in the 2012 class, will come to fruition in its inaugural Big 12 season.

With virtually no in-state recruiting base in addition to competing in a conference with member schools located far away from the majority of WVU's pipeline states, there's little doubt that head coach Dana Holgorsen and his staff have their work cut out for them on the recruiting trail.

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