Matthew Bain, Des Moines Register Published 4:08 p.m. CT Dec. 18, 2019 | Updated 5:29 p.m. CT Dec. 18, 2019
Matt Campbell talks about what it means to face Notre Dame Des Moines Register
It’s the first day of the early signing period and, as usual, Texas and Oklahoma sit at the top of the Big 12 Conference in terms of recruiting rankings.
But the rest of the pack isn’t as far behind as it’s been in previous years.
TCU has five four-star signees, including two top-100 players. West Virginia is still recruiting strong, despite an iffy season. The Iowa State revival continues under Matt Campbell. And Les Miles is starting to get his feet under him down in Lawrence, Kansas.
Iowa State Head Football Coach Matt Campbell talks to the press after learning the Cyclones will play in the Camping World Bowl, on Sunday Dec. 8, 2019, on the Iowa State campus in Ames. (Photo: Kelsey Kremer/The Register)
Here’s a breakdown of early signing day around the Big 12:
Oklahoma’s offensive line is stacked
This is about as loaded an offensive line recruiting class as you can get. The Sooners signed five offensive linemen on Wednesday. That includes the 247Sports Composite’s No. 1 and 2 offensive guards in four-star Texas product Nate Anderson and four-star Oklahoma product Andrew Raym. Joining those two are four-star, top-200 Maryland offensive guard Aaryn Parks — No. 6 at his position — and four-star Washington, D.C. offensive tackle Anton Harrison. The Sooners also added three-star Arizona offensive tackle Noah Nelson. To run behind that group, Oklahoma signed four-star Texas running back Seth McGowan. That’ll do just fine.
Oklahoma head coach Lincoln Riley holds up the Big 12 championship trophy after the Sooners beat the Baylor Bears in the Big 12 title game. (Photo: Tim Heitman, USA TODAY Sports)
Gary Patterson, TCU reload
Gary Patterson and his staff signed five four-star recruits on Wednesday, despite a lackluster 5-7 season. Translation: The Gary Patterson brand remains alive and well. He has brought in at least three four-star signees in the past five recruiting classes. Five is the most since TCU landed eight in its 2016 class. This year’s crop of talent is spread across the field, too. You’ve got 6-foot-4 receiver Quentin Johnson (a top-100 prospect), offensive tackle Garrett Hayes (also a top-100 prospect), defensive tackle Patrick Jenkins, cornerback Keontae Jenkins and safety Bud Clark. That’s a group that can help a team win in a lot of ways down the line.
TCU Horned Frogs head coach Gary Patterson watches his team take on the Iowa State Cyclones during the first half at Amon G. Carter Stadium. (Photo: Jerome Miron/USA TODAY Sports)
Campbell’s Cyclones continue climb
Matt Campbell just keeps inching Iowa State further and further up the Big 12 ladder, gradually building his program into a stronger recruiting force. According to the 247Sports Composite, the Cyclones’ 2020 class ranks 43rd in the country. That’s better than 46th in 2019, 55th in 2018 and 52nd in 2017. The 2020 class is headlined by a duo of top-tier Midwest quarterbacks in four-star Iowa product Hunter Dekkers, the state’s top prep passer in history, and three-star Minnesota product Aidan Bouman, whose stock could have risen further had he not committed to the Cyclones 19 months ago.
West Sioux, Hawarden’s Hunter Dekkers (8) runs in for a touchdown to make the score 51-38 during their class 1A state championship football game on Friday, Nov. 16, 2018, in Cedar Falls. West Sioux, Hawarden would go on to beat Dike-New Hartford 52-38. (Photo: Brian Powers/The Register)
1. Oklahoma — Yes, Texas has the only five-star recruit signed to a Big 12 team. But football games are so often won and lost in the trenches, and the Sooners recruited the best group of offensive linemen in the conference — by a decent margin, too.
- Texas — Five-star running back signee Bijan Robinson, a top-20 national prospect, is going to be special. So, too, you figure, will be Texas’ 2020 quarterback recruit: four-star, top-100 prospect Hudson Card, the latest in a long line of star signal-callers from Lake Travis High.
TCU — Bringing in five four-star signees is an impressive feat. Offensive lineman Brandon Coleman, a product of Trinity Valley Community College in Texas, could have an immediate impact. He also held offers from Florida State, Houston, Iowa State and Missouri.
West Virginia — In addition to a strong crop of high-three-star signees to go along with four-star cornerback David Vincent-Okoli, the Mountaineers did well in the juco market, adding four transfers who held other offers from places such as Tennessee, Maryland, Boise State, Florida State, Iowa State and Nebraska.
Iowa State — The Cyclones also did well with juco transfers on top of their high school signees, landing two immediate-impact pieces in defensive tackle Latrell Bankston and receiver Xavier Hutchinson, who drew an Oklahoma offer in November but stuck with Iowa State.
Oklahoma State — The Cowboys signed a promising quarterback in four-star, top-200 prospect Shane Illingworth, a California product who picked Oklahoma State over the likes of Louisville, Arizona State and Arkansas. They could jump into the top five if four-star all-purpose back Daniyel Ngata picks them when he commits Jan. 2.
Texas Tech — The Red Raiders did well at the offensive skill positions, bringing in four-star receiver Loic Fouonji, high-three-star receiver Ja’Lynn Polk, three-star running back Tahj Brooks and three-star athlete Myles Price — all top-700 prospects from Texas.
Baylor — The Bears signed two four-star prospects in defensive end James Sylvester and cornerback Jahdae Barron, both Texas products. Baylor still has work to do in this class, but those two are too talented to have Baylor any lower than eighth.
Kansas State — The Wildcats went deep into the juco market, signing five transfers that include three from in-state powerhouses Hutchinson (one) and Butler (two). Three-star Texas linebacker Jeremiah Harris headlines their high school signees.
Kansas — We’ll see if the Jayhawks sign all 24 of their pledges they had entering Wednesday; they had already signed 15 as of the late afternoon. No matter what, this will be the best class Kansas has had in years. Miles deserves credit for that.
Matthew Bain covers recruiting, Iowa/Iowa State athletics and Drake basketball for the Des Moines Register and USA TODAY Network. Contact him at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter @MatthewBain_.
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