February 1, 2006

Big 12 Breakdown

With two Big 12 teams ranked in the top five and four in the top 25 last year, the expectations were high for the conference to once again stamp their name all over the national rankings as numerous teams look for much better results on the field. However, with the Texas Longhorns taking home the National Championship, the nation's No. 1 ranked team had no problems putting together the top class in the conference followed by last year's top classes, the Sooners and the Huskers.

Breaking down the Big 12
1. Texas National Rank: 5th
Texas came in with the top class in the Big 12 by quite a margin thanks to an undefeated season, a National Championship, but domination of the Lone Star state picking up six of the top 10 players in the state.
Biggest recruit: Biggest recruits: Listed as the No. 5 player in the country, the Longhorns grabbed five-star Sergio Kindle and he should see early time. Four-star quarterback Jevan Snead arrived in December and will compete for the starting job.
Sleeper: Tight end Britt Mitchell's frame and talent alone should give him a shot to contribute with the returning players at his position. Mitchell says he is expecting to surprise people on day one.
2. Oklahoma National Rank: 9th
Oklahoma's class, though behind the Longhorns, definitely was a good mix of both junior college and high school talent to fill needs. A talented running back, defensive back, and offensive line class was highlighted by nine four-star prospects.
Biggest recruit: Hands down one of the best players to ever come out of the Sooner State, Gerald McCoy is one very talented five-star prospect for OU. The Sooners should expect big things early from McCoy.
Sleeper: Going virtually unnoticed in small town Oklahoma, athlete Daniel Tabon brings tons of talent and makes big plays on defense from the first whistle.
3. Nebraska National Rank: 20th
Being talked about as one of the top junior college hauls in the country, Nebraska came in third for the Big 12 classes with some instant impact guys on board. California was recruited well by coach Bill Busch along with star recruiter John Blake, making the difference.
Biggest recruit: Five-star juco cornerback Andre Jones will bring blazing speed and much needed talent to the defensive backfield for the Huskers. He could add some big play ability to special teams as a possible returner.
Sleeper: Though there are many prospects to choose from, three-star junior college linebacker Steve Allen will make a big impact on defense for the Huskers. His big hitting mentality should earn him a spot come fall.
4. Oklahoma State National Rank: 22nd
Oklahoma State under coach Mike Gundy made the state of Texas a priority and the 2006 class is being talked about as one of the best in recent memory. Led by ace recruiter Joe DeForest, this class already has high expectations going into spring.
Biggest recruit: It's definitely a toss-up between four-star junior college running back Dantrell Savage, who is expected to shine right away, and highly rated in-state target Derek Burton. Both are expected to make quick impacts and compete early.
Sleeper: Being on campus for spring ball, two-star wide receiver Anthony Parks could make a big splash coming from the junior college ranks into Gundy's system. Parks excelled in the tough Jayhawk juco conference.
5. Texas A&M National Rank: 25th
Though not as glamorous as many Aggies' fans expected, Texas A&M may have put together one of their more complete classes. Making another big haul from in-state, coach Dennis Franchione made Texas a priority with a few blue-chips on the board.
Biggest recruit: Both in magnitude and priority, four-star running back Michael Goodson was the top target this year for Texas A&M. Goodson has that outside speed that can fly away from the defense and be used early in the system being run in College Station.
Sleeper: Terrence McCoy came on the scene after his teammates Trent Hines and Leslie Ray joined the Aggies class. McCoy brings another strong piece to the receiver corps at College Station.
6. Texas Tech National Rank: 26th
Known as one of the top evaluators of talent, coach Mike Leach assembled probably his best class to date since arriving in Lubbock. Both top ranked players and special sleepers fill this class and bring into the top 30 range against the rest of the nation.
Biggest recruit: The flashy Michael Crabtree will have to compete for a spot at wide receiver, but his quick feet and solid speed should lend him a role somewhere on the field come fall.
Sleeper: Though not the biggest defensive tackle in the country, Richard Jones was named the Greater Houston player of the year and should bring some special talent to the position.
7. Kansas National Rank: 38th
The 2006 Jayhawk class is full of fulfilled needs especially at the skill positions with two quarterbacks, running backs, and wide receivers making their names present. However, defensive backs are definitely a plus for KU's future.
Biggest recruit: Four-star defensive back Anthony Webb is the type of explosive player that can make a big instant impact on defense for the Jayhawks. His big attitude and big talent should make for an easy transition.
Sleeper: There are many hidden gems on the list, speedy in-state pickup Jake Sharp should fill a need somewhere with his quickness.
8. Kansas State National Rank: 41st
With a new coaching staff starting late the process new coach Ron Prince and his assistants worked diligently to put together a class that help the transition.
Biggest recruit: Just before his December graduation, Prince came in and got the switch from longtime Nebraska commit Josh Freeman. The big framed quarterback should add some big competition in the spring as the scheme will change to a West Coast attack.
Sleeper: Florida cornerback Josh Moore comes from the speed state and he will bring a lot of that to the K-State defensive backfield. He put together an eye-popping 10 interceptions in the Sunshine State during his junior year.
9. Missouri National Rank: 47th
After a big bowl win, the Tigers wanted to take that momentum into the final months of recruiting. With some big time commitments late and success in big states like Texas and California, the class was definitely a solid one.
Biggest recruit: Four-star wide receiver Jeremy Maclin should bring some speed to the Missouri offense as they continue to open things up. A legitimate 4.4-second 40-yard dash runner, Maclin comes with tons of ability to beat the defense deep.
Sleeper: His stock continued to rise during the recruiting process and that will continue for corner Del Howard in his career at Missouri. The 5-foot-10, 175-pound prospect is an attacking corner with 89 tackles and three interceptions as a senior.
10. Colorado National Rank: 48th
Considering the coaching change smack in the middle of recruiting, the new staff had to hit the ground running to finish out the 2006 class and did well with the shortened timeframe.
Biggest recruit: A late defection from Washington State gave the Buffs a boost to their 2006 class with a new commitment from three-star athlete Jimmy Smith who should give a spark to the wide open offense. Smith had a boat load of offers and should compete immediately.
Sleeper: His process started slow, but Florida wide receiver Sherman Lang is a solid contributor and should see time in an offense that uses several wide receivers.
11. Iowa State National Rank: 63rd
Known for finding diamonds in the rough, the Cyclones continued it's streak of finding sleepers to turn into solid contributors by dominating in-state and making appearances in Texas and Florida. Coach Dan McCarney continues his remarkable job at ISU.
Biggest recruit: The job that ISU has done with quarterbacks should continue with the mobile gunslinger Austen Arnaud, the state of Iowa's top prospect. His quick feet and solid throwing ability should make for great competition in the future at QB.
Sleeper: Truly a specimen of an athlete, the three-star Oklahoma future defensive end Rashawn Parker should be one to watch over the coming years. He should only get bigger, faster, and stronger and will excel on defense in the Big 12.
12. Baylor National Rank: 68th
The offense should get a huge boost after the 2006 class is enrolled considering the Bears will welcome five wide receivers, several quarterbacks, and a pair of running backs. Baylor coach Guy Morriss continues to recruit well in-state and it showed.
Biggest recruit: After Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans transfer Ernest Smith exploded on the scene at John Tyler and will no doubt do so for Baylor. His big frame, speed, and leaping ability should have him making early noise.
Sleeper: Florida offensive guard Jeremy Michael was discovered late in the process but his growth potential is through the roof. After transferring to a Florida school as a junior, he literally blew up overnight.

More Breakdowns:
Pac-10 | ACC | Big Ten | Big East | SEC

Photo Gallery: Signing Day 2006




 

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