Big 12 Signing Day Capsules

BY AP • February 1, 2017


Top 25 Class: No.

Best in class: Xavier Newman, OL, DeSoto, Texas. The 6-foot-3, 300-pound Under Armour All-American was a highly touted prospect as a center or guard, and had offers from more than a dozen Power Five schools. He originally committed to Colorado before visiting Baylor after coach Matt Rhule got the job.

Best of the rest: Trestan Ebner, WR, Henderson, Texas. Had 57 catches for 1,074 yards and 16 TDs as a senior, when he also had five sacks as a defensive back.

Late addition: Justin Harris, DE, Gonzales, Louisiana. Originally committed to UCF last summer, the 6-5, 250-pounder had at least 10 other offers, including Texas A&M and Purdue, before an official visit to Baylor last weekend.

Ones that got away: Half of Baylor's highly touted 22-player signing class last spring never went to Waco after former coach Art Briles lost his job. The Bears also lost several early commits, including five-star linebacker Baron Browning, who verbally committed in the summer of 2015 before his junior season at Kennedale (Texas) High. Browning, ranked by 247Sports as the No. 11 overall recruit, is now an early enrollee at Ohio State.

How they'll fit in: With the Bears down to about 70 scholarship players last season, including a dozen seniors, the new signees help build back up roster numbers. There are 14 defensive and 13 offensive players in this class, including 11 linemen (six on defense, five on offense.



Top 25 Class: No.

Best in class: Ray Lima, DL, El Camino Community College (California). Lima is 6-foot-3 and 310 pounds and is expected to start next season after emerging as one of the best defensive tackles in junior college. Lima had a long list of Power Five suitors, and the Cyclones have a glaring need for impact defensive linemen. Fellow junior college lineman Matt Leo should also help in 2017.

Best of the rest: Devon Moore, QB, Waterloo West (Iowa). Players like LB O'Rien Vance and WR Josh Johnson might have gotten more buzz, but Moore is one player that Iowa State needs to see fulfill his potential. Moore threw 29 TDs as a senior and committed to Iowa State on Campbell's first day as coach.

Late addition: Keontae Jones, DB, Colerain, Ohio. Yet another talented prospect Campbell snagged from his home state. His brother, Deshaunte, played extensively as a wide receiver in 2016 and looks like a future star.

One that got away: Kam White, DB, Clinton, Mississippi. A four-star recruit, White gave a verbal commitment to Iowa State before more prestigious programs got involved.

How they'll fit in: In a lot of ways, Campbell is building his program like Kirk Ferentz built his at rival Iowa. Iowa State's latest class is heavy on versatile, three-star kids from the Midwest who came from winning prep programs.



Top 25 Class: No.

Best in class: RBs Octavius Matthews and Dominic Williams. Matthews has the ability to play running back or in the slot, while Williams capped his prep career as one of the state's leading rushers. Both should be able to help the Jayhawks immediately.

Best of the rest: QB Peyton Bender, a junior college transfer, remained committed to the Jayhawks despite late overtures from Georgia, and the big-armed quarterback can make all the throws. Helping his cause is his familiarity with the Air Raid offense, which he played in at Washington State and coach David Beaty uses at Kansas.

Late addition: Matthews was the biggest surprise of the class, faxing in his letter of intent on Wednesday. He should help cover the loss of running back Ke'aun Kinner to graduation.

One that got away: Grant Polley, OL, Denton, Texas. The Jayhawks were among the first to offer Polley, and he was a soft verbal commitment for a while. He ultimately chose Colorado.

How they'll fit in: The Jayhawks were desperate to add defensive backfield depth after losing three starters to graduation, and they largely accomplished that by signing four recruits. Hasan Defense from Kilgore Community College in Texas and Shakial Taylor from Mesa Community College in Arizona have already signed with the Jayhawks and should be able to help immediately, and safety Antonio Cole from Highland Community College in Kansas was a late addition.

The biggest prize among them could be Robert Topps III, one of the top players from the Chicago area, who has the size at 6-2, 185 pounds to allow the Jayhawks to play more physically.



Top 25 Class: No.

Best in class: Daniel Green, a linebacker was among the top-rated players in Oregon and a rare West Coast find coming out of Portland. He should compete for playing time right away after Elijah Lee declared a year early for the NFL draft. ''He's a very aggressive player,'' coach Bill Snyder said.

Best of the rest: JUCO linebacker Daquan Patton arrives at Kansas State from Trinity Valley Community College in Texas, and the second-team junior college All-American should push early for playing time.

Late addition: Gervarrius Owens, a safety, had offers from Iowa State, Kansas and several other power schools, but chose Kansas State on signing day. He is another crucial signing to help solidify the backfield.

One that got away: Evan Fields, S, Midwest City, Oklahoma. Kansas State went toe-to-toe with schools including Arizona State, UCLA and Notre Dame. Fields ultimately chose the Sun Devils.

How they'll fit in: The Wildcats played more freshmen than just about anybody in the nation last season, so most of their talent on both sides of the ball will be returning this season. And that means expectations of competing for a Big 12 title are already rampant in Manhattan. Along with linebacker and safety, the Wildcats will have to replace defensive end Jordan Willis, the Big 12 defensive player of the year. There are several in-house candidates, but keep an eye on Xavier Davis, a three-star prospect from Pima (Arizona) Community College.

The Wildcats loaded up on offensive linemen in this year's class, but the biggest difference-maker on that side of the ball might be three-star prospect Chabastin Taylor. The 6-foot-3 wide receiver from Giddings, Texas, could fill nicely the void left by senior Deante Burton.



Top 25 Class: Yes.

Best in class: Robert Barnes, S, Southlake Texas.

Best of the rest: Levi Draper, LB, Collinsville, Oklahoma; Addison Gumbs, DE, Hayward, California; Justin Broiles, CB, Oklahoma City; Tyrese Robinson, OG, McKinney, Texas.

One that got away: LB Jacob Phillips switched his commitment to LSU in the past week.

How they'll fit in: The running back position is wide open after Samaje Perine and Joe Mixon both chose to leave school early. Oklahoma signed two of the nation's top 15 running backs in Trey Sermon of Marietta, Georgia, and Kennedy Brooks of Mansfield, Texas, as well as junior college back Marcelias Sutton. Abdul Adams is the most experienced returning back, but the talented newcomers will be hard to hold off. Oklahoma had issues in the secondary last season, so Barnes and Broiles could get early looks.



Top 25 Class: No.

Best in class: Tylan Wallace, WR, Fort Worth, Texas.

Best of the rest: LC Greenwood, WR; Garland, Texas; Chuba Hubbard, RB, Alberta, Canada; Patrick Macon, LB, junior college transfer who signed in December.

Late addition: TE Baron Odom, from Wynnewood, Oklahoma.

One that got away: Derek Kerstetter, OL, San Antonio. Switched his commitment to new Texas coach Tom Herman and signed with the Longhorns.

How they'll fit in: Oklahoma State needs depth at running back behind Big 12 Newcomer of the Year Justice Hill. Hubbard and J.D. King could step in. Hubbard, a Canadian from Sherwood Park, Alberta, will also run on the Cowboy track and field team.

Oklahoma State also needs to replace Cowboy backs Blake Jarwin and Zac Veatch. Odom and junior college fullback Sione Finefeuiaki will have a chance.



Top 25 Class: No.

Best in class: Shawn Robinson, QB, DeSoto, Texas. Robinson, the 2016-17 Gatorade Texas Player of the Year, is already enrolled at TCU after leading DeSoto High to its first state championship in December. Accounted for 4,855 total yards and 47 touchdowns as senior.

Best of the rest: Jalen Reagor, WR, Waxahachie, Texas; and Omar Manning, WR, Lancaster, Texas. Reagor, rated the No. 2 receiver in Texas by 247Sports, had 50 catches for 967 yards and 14 TDs as a senior, while also running for three scores and passing for another. Manning had 78 catches for 1,413 yards and 20 TDs the past two seasons.

Late addition: Michael Onyemaobi, DB, Temecula, California. Originally a California commitment, he made his final official visit to Nebraska last weekend, but signed with the Frogs on Wednesday after Patterson had already met with reporters to discuss the signing class.

One that got away: Tyreece Lott, DE, Ardmore, Oklahoma. After verbally committing to TCU in mid-December, Lott changed his mind after an official visit to Oklahoma less than two weeks ago, and signed with the Sooners on Wednesday.

How they'll fit in: Three of TCU's senior starters last season were on the defensive line, so coach Gary Patterson added five defensive linemen and another player listed as a linebacker/defensive lineman. Reagor and Manning could contribute immediately, though initially they likely will be catching passes from senior Kenny Hill next fall.



Top 25 Class: No.

Best in class: Sam Ehlinger, QB, Austin, Texas; and Taquon Graham, DE, Temple, Texas.

Best of the rest: K Josh Rowland, Mississippi Gulf Coast CC, Toneil Carter, RB, Houston

Late addition: Northeastern Oklahoma A&M junior college transfer DE Jamari Chisholm, who didn't have a scholarship offer from Texas until Tuesday night.

One that got away: Two, really. Austin OT Stephan Zable left town for UCLA, and Houston DE K'Lavon Chaisson picked LSU

How they'll fit in: The losing finally caught up to Texas on the recruiting trail. Coach Tom Herman began tamping down expectations for this class weeks ago, calling it a ''transition'' year. Whether many in this group will compete for playing time as freshmen is unknown. Former coach Charie Strong lost a lot of games but left new coach Tom Herman a roster that most see as very talented.



Top 25 Class: No.

Best in class: Jack Anderson, OL, Frisco, Texas. Ranked as the No. 10 prospect in recruit-rich Texas by 247Sports, Anderson chose the Red Raiders over Alabama and Oklahoma among others. The offensive line was a glaring need in recruiting because of injuries, players giving up football and dismissals.

Best of the rest: Riko Jeffers, LB, Garland, Texas. The Red Raiders finished last in the nation in total defense last season, allowing 554 yards per game. A young linebacking group also has some junior college signees so it will be interesting to see whether Jeffers can contribute immediately.

Late addition: Jacob Hines, OL, Long Beach, California. The junior college product committed to Texas Tech last May, changed his mind a few days later and changed it again in December. He could be another important piece in an area of need.

One that got away: Bronson Boyd, WR, Arlington, Texas. One of 12 midterm signees was kicked off the team a little more than a week after joining the program for unspecified reasons. Boyd was the only receiver to get a scholarship offer, but it's already the deepest position on the roster.

How they'll fit in: The Red Raiders loaded up on offensive linemen (five) and defensive backs (six), the top two positions of need. Those two areas accounted for half of the 22 scholarship players who left the program with eligibility remaining over the past 20 months. Two more linemen - Dawson Deaton, Anderson's teammate at Frisco High School, and Will Farrar from suburban Houston - were Texas Tech's other two highest-rated high school recruits.



Top 25 Class: No.

Best in class: Kelby Wickline, OL, Jones County (Miss.) JC, son of West Virginia assistant coach Joe Wickline.

Best of the rest: Derek Pitts, DB, South Charleston (W.Va.) HS; David Sills, WR, a former Mountaineer backup who spent last season playing quarterback at California's El Camino College.

Late addition: Isaiah Hardy, OL, 6-7, 340, Lackawanna (Pa.) CC

One that got away: Four-star WR Danny Davis of Springfield, Ohio, signed with Wisconsin.

How they'll fit in: In the high-scoring Big 12, West Virginia has gone hard after junior college transfers to get immediate help, especially on defense. The Mountaineers must replace the entire defensive line, a pair of starting linebackers and most of the secondary. Some of the 10 early signees could see significant playing time in 2017.

''Adding guys who physically are ahead of the curve, which is what junior colleges are about, and getting them at midterm allows you to get that team ready a little bit quicker,'' coach Dana Holgorsen said.


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