BAYLOR: With a new coaching staff in Waco and a long history of terrible football, Baylor’s clas this year is surprisng. They landed 4-star QB from nearby Copperas Cove in Robert Griffin, a kid who picked Baylor over Tennessee and Stanford. New coach Art Briles is no stranger to putting up points, as his last job in Houston made them one of those non-BCS schools you really don’t want to play. That mentality is hoped to carry over to Baylor, where Briles will bring his high-powered, fast offense. This class, although not steeped in touted recruits, reflects his needs for the system. This is a ‘disrupter’ offense that will give people problems in the same sense that Texas Tech does. Two fast 3-star ATH’s and 2 fast 3-star WR’s, along with Griffin, make this class deceptively interesting.
COLORADO: Dan Hawkins’ rebuilding job in Baylor is really starting to come together. After inheriting virtually nothing (except terrance Wheatley) from the now-infamous Gary Barnett tenure, Hawkins has relaly put the fire back into the Buffalo program. That is nowhere more evident than in this recruiting class, where the Buffs were able to lure the nation’s top rated RB, 5-star Darrell Scott from CA, to Boulder over every other program in the nation. With a class of 21, besides Scott, 7 kids are 4-star prospects, including 2 gigantic OL, and very good LB depth. At some point we all kind-of knew that the Big 12 north was going to head through Boulder every season, and that theory is coming to fruition.
IOWA STATE: Iowa State seems to still be Iowa State, but the big news here is that they somehow managed to get 4-star WR Sedrick Johnson from Texas to decommit from Texas A&M and sign with the Cyclones. What’s even more baffling, is that this kid had offers from LSU, UF, Nebraska, ASU, A&M and Oklahoma State. Why you pick Ames over any of those other locations is beyond me. Other than Johnson, this is a class of 23 others who aren’t worth mentioning.
KANSAS: Kansas had a great season, a dream season even, and virtually came out of nowhere. The thing that gets me is how well this staff is doing at sucking talent out of Texas. They aren’t getting 5-star players, but this class is very stout. 20 commuts total, 2 4-stars in a RB (from Texas) and an OL (California). All of the rest are all 3-star prospects, and Kansas might be one of those schools that has the magic eye for 3-star potential. One of them is a 3-star K from Miami, and a K rated that highly is actually a big deal. What sticks out is that the staff is able to go to homes in Kentucky, Miami, Ohio, Texas, and Illinois and talk mid-range recruits into signing with them over teams like TCU, Northwestern, and South Florida. That might not seem like a big deal, but it really is.
KANSAS STATE: Is Ron Prince on the hotseat and grasping for straws? This guy is a very good coach who has had an up and down tenure at K-State, however did beat Texas twice. This recruiting class is full of mercenaries. Of 32 total commitments, 20 of them are junior college players. Well, that’s one fast way to get your players in place, I guess. 4 4-star prospects in a class that is very California heavy, and pretty much covers every position on the field. Did they hire a whole new team?
MISSOURI: 24 total commits for the Tigers this year on the heels of a BCS season. The big story in this class was the retainment of in-stare 5-star QB product Blaine Gabbert, one of the kids who committed to Nebraska and then high-tailed it out of there in The Great 2008 Nebraska Recruiting Exodus. Only 2 4-stars compliment Gabbert, and there’s not much here to really mention.
NEBRASKA: A big class of 28 for new head coach Bo Pelini, who comes back to Nebraska from the defensive coordinator’s job at LSU, upon Bill Callahan’s exit. Pelini is the new guy in charge of restoring the Nebraska tradition, and they can have a good time with that. When a program as prestigious as Nebraska hires a new coach and the recruiting class is this non-stellar, that’s a bad sign. Of those 28 signees, 2 of them are 4-star players, and they did retain in-state 5-star OL Blake Steinkuhler, the first ever 5-star player in the state of Nebraska. The rest are mostly 3-star players, which is great for younglings like Kansas, but a downer for Nebraska. I think this thing in Lincoln is going to take awhile, and hopefully for Pelini, the powers that be will have the patience to wait. Never should have fired Frank Solich.
OKLAHOMA: Very strong class for Stoops this year. 21 commits and 3 5-star players, all from Texas. That’s great for OU and very bad for UT. Of those 5-stars is RB Jermie Calhoun, DE R.J. Washington, and OL Stephen Good. 12 4-stars go along with them, including a QB from New Mexico. New Mexico? Who finds quarterbacks in New Mexican high schools? OU is no stranger to the JUCO ranks either, with 3 this year.
OKLAHOMA STATE: Pretty nice class this year for the now infamous Mike Gundy, who just signed a contract extension. 6 of those kids are 4-star recruits, which makes this a very exciting class for Oklahoma State. Another team here with a lot of JUCO’s, landing 8 of them. What’s with the Big 12 and junior colleges?
TEXAS: It happens for another year, where this coaching staff fails to leave the confines of it’s own state. Yes, Texas produces an enormous amount of players, but is it really a good policy to recruit in Texas only? Of the 20 commits this year, 1 is from out of state, 4-star DB from Colorado. Last year, all kinds but one was from Texas. In ’06 they branched out: 2 kids were from out of state. I know it’s all fun to have a whole team of good, strong Texas stock, but come on now. This program’s success versus their potential is lopsided. They should win the national title every season, or be in the top 3. Outside the state of Texas, UT is looked at as underachievers. I realize you can’t get them all, but UT lost the top 3 players in the state to OU this year. 20 total signess, 12 are 4-star players. That’s a very solid class, nonetheless.
TEXAS A&M: 24 commits for new head coach Mike Sherman, who comes back to A&M after being an assistant there years ago. 7 4-star commits is decent for Sherman’s first class, but like UT, this program still underachieves in their recruiting and field success. Sherman will get this thing right. He’s nothing like Francione, and he’ll soothe the aching souls down there in College Station. Sherman has a well documented relationship with Brett Favre, and that’ll only help when Sherman lands his own QB project down there next season.
TEXAS TECH: Leach has had some heartache in his life this offseason, having to replace 2 coaches and losing a commit to Arkansas on Letter of Intent Day. Only 16 commits for the Red Raiders this season, including 3 4-star players. Curiously absent from this class is a WR, but they did sign 3 ATH’s. The big news here is that they landed a QB who fits the exact Texas Tech ssytem, 3-star Seth Doege who flew under everyone’s radar, probably because he’s a typical Texas Tech quarterback. Anyone who loves this system and has followed the beauty from Kingsbury to Harrell will be happy when Doege becomes the new signal-caller in a few years.