Posted by Bryan Fischer
Ranking the Big 12 recruiting classes and breaking them down at the same time.
Overview: Mack Brown earned the title of Mr. February once again, turning a losing season and six new coaches into another top 10 class. Once again, the top talent in Texas is headed to Austin in a class that fills a lot of needs on both sides of the ball.
Hidden gem: Wide receiver Jaxon Shipley may have a familiar last name but he has the skills to easily pickup where his brother left off.
Pencil in for the fall: Running back Malcolm Brown, one of the best running backs to commit to the Longhorns out of high school in years.
Just missed on: Offensive tackle Christian Westerman to Auburn.
Overview: The Sooners have a ton of talent returning for 2011 and a likely top three team in the country but that didn’t stop them from bringing a talented recruiting class. It wasn’t a big class but the talent in it should hit the field sooner rather than later (pun very much intended).
Hidden gem: Cornerback Bennett Okotcha, a former Notre Dame commit, has continued to get better and could be a steal after a redshirt year.
Pencil in for the fall: Wide receiver Trey Metoyer, who should be the next freshman wide receiver to put up numbers in the Oklahoma offense.
Just missed on: Athlete Brandon Carter to TCU.
3. Texas Tech
Overview: Tommy Tuberville has certainly made his mark on the recruiting trail for the Red Raiders this year. Pulling prospects from Florida, Wisconsin, Alabama and Pennsylvania show that Tech is no longer just grabbing the players passed over by Texas and Oklahoma. In fact, this may be the most talented class to ever head to Lubbock.
Hidden gem: Defensive end/linebacker Branden Jackson, who could be a terrific hybrid player with his speed and athleticism.
Pencil in for the fall: Running back Kenny Williams has the size and power to add to the Tech ground game from day one.
Just missed on: Cornerback Marcus Roberson to Florida.
4. Oklahoma State
Overview: Credit to Mike Gundy for signing an impressive class, especially on offense, despite experiencing a lot of staff turnover. The Cowboys filled needs and brought in some great skill position talent in 2011.
Hidden gem: Athlete Desmond Roland is very versatile and could play all over for Oklahoma State.
Pencil in for the fall: Running back Herschel Sims should slot into the running back rotation from the get go.
Just missed on: Possibly Jon Jenkins, a former commit at defensive tackle who still hasn’t made his choice.
5. Texas A&M
Overview: The Aggies might not have taken advantage of Texas’ down year quite as much as they might have liked but they did put together a very solid class. Grabbing a few linebackers filled a big need.
Hidden gem: Kicker Taylor Bertolet, one of the best kickers in the country and even kicked the game-winning field goal in the Under Armour All-America game.
Pencil in for the fall: Outside linebacker Shaun Ward should come in and compete for playing time right away.
6. Kansas State
Overview: Junior college heavy to no one’s surprise, the Wildcats grabbed talented players from different parts of the country.
Hidden gem: Former top recruits Arthur and Bryce Brown are part of this class as transfers and are still very talented despite most glossing over them because they transferred awhile back.
Pencil in for the fall: Defensive end Ian Seau may have a familiar name (he’s Junior Seau’s nephew) but he will have no problem getting Wildcat fans to think of Ian whenever they hear of Seau.
Overview: Turner Gill’s first full class as head coach doesn’t have a ton of impact players but it is a deep and versatile class.
Hidden gem: Wide receiver JaCorey Shepherd is a very explosive athlete who could end up being a steal.
Pencil in for the fall: Running back Darrian Miller is an early enrollee so he will already be going through spring drills to learn the system. One of the best backs from the Midwest, he should step in right away at Kansas.
Overview: Solid if not spectacular is the best way to describe Baylor’s class. There’s a ton of talent that should benefit from a redshirt year and good coaching from Art Briles.
Hidden gem: Wide receiver Jonathan Lee has the size and speed to quickly become a factor in the passing game.
Pencil in for the fall: Defensive tackle Trevor Valdez has a terrific motor and great quickness inside.
Overview: Not the typical class we’ve seen from Missouri over the past couple of years but nevertheless a solid class to build around.
Hidden gem: Quarterback Corbin Berkstresser should be a dependable backup early in career before being tapped to put up some big numbers for the Tigers.
Pencil in for the fall: Defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson has been waiting for a few years to play for Mizzou and should step in right away in the middle of the defense.
10. Iowa State
Overview: A very surprising class given some of the talents the Cyclones brought in. Although they’re ranked at the bottom of the Big 12 classes, there’s still a talent upgrade headed to Ames.
Hidden gem: Wide receiver Quenton Bundrage is a very speedy kid who could be very productive in just about any offense.
Pencil in for the fall: Running back DeVondrick Nealy is a great get for Iowa State out of Florida.