Last week took a look at both the SEC and Big Ten recruiting landscape, specifically looking at the 2014 needs for each team in those conferences. Moving along in our "2014 Recruiting Needs" series, today we arrive in the heartland of the country, Big 12 country that is.
Some say the conference isn't as strong as it used to be, but Oklahoma and Texas both remain national powerhouses. Let's take this chance here and quickly look at a few needs each Big 12 program should use this 2014 recruiting cycle to fill.
The Big 12 has gone through some recent changes and turnover, but it's still one of the prominent conferences in college football. Here's a few needs each team in the conference should hit on this year to keep its program and the overall conference strong.
Checking out the roster for Art Briles and projecting how it'll look after this year leads me to list RB and DL as two initial needs for the Bears.
Landing a talented RB prospect to team with 2013 signees QB Chris Johnson and WR Robbie Rhodes for the future would be a nice look. Baylor loves to score a lot of points, so it must keep getting skill position talent.
The Bears will need to add depth on the DL, especially in the interior. I'll also add that getting a young stud pass-rusher would be a good need to fill too.
Paul Rhoads is a solid coach and a need that ISU should look to fill is the need for speed. The Cyclones need players who can run on the perimeter, and also how about a talented change-of-pace/scatback?
On defense, Rhoads may need to add another DB or two while continuing to strengthen up the DL unit. Iowa State isn't a sexy recruiting school, so evaluation of talent is key here.
Charlie Weis makes his hay as a football coach on the offensive side of the ball. The Dayne Crist experiment was a complete bust and up next probably is Jake Heaps.
Weis needs to find a QB, and if I were him, I'd go big-game hunting in 2013. I'd show all of the top signal-callers the rings he won in New England, Tom Brady highlights and a little Jimmy Clausen film at Notre Dame too.
Running back is also a position Kansas needs to sign multiple players at this year too.
I'm a big believer in stocking up on OL and DL prospects every recruiting year. Kansas State needs to do that this 2014 cycle because it needs depth on both fronts.
Bill Snyder may go the quick-fix route to re-tool his trench depth by adding more JUCO talent. But this 2014 class may also see Snyder put more emphasis on high school recruiting.
Any route he goes, Snyder needs to add several OL and DL recruits, especially on the edges on his offensive line.
The Sooners probably need to sign a couple solid LBs in 2014. Guys who are thumpers and stout against the run but who have good speed and range would be ideal types.
Signing perhaps two or three DTs could be a focus as well as bringing in several OL recruits. OU usually recruits the best players possible and lets the chips fall where they may because the Sooners recruit at a high clip.
Yet the needs mentioned, along with maybe another DB or two, should be ones to hit on.
Mike Gundy is an offensive-minded coach and his program is known for putting up points, so it may be hard for the Pokes to hear this:
This 2014 recruiting class should be heavy on defensive recruits.
Oklahoma State needs to add talent and depth at all three levels of its defensive unit. From adding more linebackers, to signing a DT or two plus several back end defenders, Gundy's needs for 2014 are mainly on the defensive side of the ball.
Gary Patterson, one of the best coaches in the country if you ask me, runs a 3-3-5/4-2-5 type of defense. The Horned Frogs do a good job of evaluating and developing recruits.
Patterson needs a couple more guys who fit his defensive scheme, especially the hybrid SS/OLB/Rover types. Nowadays the term "drop end" is being thrown around in regards this type of position on the field.
TCU could also bring in some DL recruits this year too.
It's pretty obvious that Mack Brown's staff needs to sign several defensive linemen in 2014. Texas needs two stud pass-rushers and a few bulls in the middle of the DL too.
Don't be shocked if the Longhorns sign multiple defensive backs either. A trend that I've noticed with Texas lately is that it brings in multiple OL recruits routinely, so look for that to continue on defense.
Kliff Kingsbury is a young and bright offensive mind, so he'll make sand into gold if he has to in regards to the skill position talent in Lubbock.
What Kingsbury probably needs to do is bring in some good offensive linemen, however. He needs to make sure his OL unit has both talent and depth.
Adding all the talent he can on defense should also be a priority, especially along the DL.
The Moutaineers' fans will probably demand a QB in this class, but Dana Holgorsen needs to focus on signing good talent at the positions of OL, DB and DL.
The defense in Morgantown can be a pretty easy unit to score on, so more speed and playmaking overall is needed. A hybrid SS/OLB type who can make plays in the box and on the back end would be a huge get for WVU.
Holgorsen could elect to sign several DL prospects and a couple OLs, while bringing in a RB or two, too.
Edwin Weathersby is the College Football Recruiting Analyst for Bleacher Report. He has worked in scouting/player personnel departments for three professional football teams, including the New York Giants, Cleveland Browns and the Las Vegas Gladiators of the Arena League. He spent a year evaluating prep prospects and writing specific recruiting and scouting content articles for Student Sports Football (formerly ESPN Rise-HS). A syndicated scout and writer, he's also contributed to WeAreSC.com, GatorBait.net and Diamonds in the Rough Inc., a College Football and NFL Draft magazine.