Big 12 Football Early Enrollees You Need to Know More About
The 2013 college football season is over, but it's never too early to start looking at spring practices.
Each team gets a first start, and many of them will be adding some new faces to their rosters.
Early enrollees, whether from junior college or high school, will make their way onto campus and try to get a head start on learning playbooks. Here is a list of names that fans should keep their eyes on as football starts up again this spring.
Note: All star ratings reflect 247Sports Composite Rankings.
Jarell Broxton, Offensive Lineman, Baylor
With All-American offensive guard Cyril Richardson moving onto the NFL, Baylor is trying to fill a hole along its offensive line.
Enter Jarrell Broxton, a mammoth 6'5, 325-pound guard from Lackawanna College in Pennsylvania.
He played two seasons at Lackawanna. He has spent much of his career on the defensive side of the ball, but he projects as an offensive lineman and is rated the fourth-best JUCO offensive guard for 2014.
Though the Bears have the best depth they've had in years, next season will see a lot of turnover along the offensive line. In addition to Richardson, left tackle Kelvin Palmer and center Stefan Huber are departing.
It wouldn't be surprising to see Baylor put Broxton into Richardson's slot.
Tyreek Hill, Running Back, Oklahoma State
Hill committed to the Cowboys back in September, and the speedster from Garden City Community College becomes the next weapon for head coach Mike Gundy. Among the other schools to offer Hill were Alabama, Florida State and Texas.
Hill, who is also a standout track and field star, is listed as a 4-star all-purpose back, but there is a good possibility he'll move to wide receiver. He's 5'8" and 175 pounds, so putting him out in space where he can make plays would be a smart move.
At Garden City, he rushed for 389 yards and recorded 713 yards as a running back/receiver.
Oklahoma Receiver Josh Stewart announced earlier this week that he would be going pro a year early, so the Cowboys are in need of a speedy receiver who can also double as a contributor in the return game.
Given his speed, Hill is likely to see the field for the Cowboys in 2014.
Skyler Howard, Quarterback, West Virginia
Clint Trickett was the best quarterback option—and at times, the only quarterback option—for West Virginia in 2013. Despite lacking arm strength, he did an admirable job of leading the Mountaineers offense.
However, that doesn't mean the job is his next season. Expect there to be an open competition with Trickett, Paul Millard, Ford Childress and newcomer Skyler Howard in the spring. Incoming freshman William Crest may eventually join the mix as well.
Howard is listed as a 3-star dual-threat quarterback. At what is likely a generous listing of 6' and 205 pounds, he is undersized but led Riverside City College (CA.) to a 10-2 record in 2013. He threw for 3,151 yards and 33 touchdowns to just six interceptions.
He has some loose connections to the West Virginia staff. He's a Fort Worth, Texas native and originally walked on at Stephen F. Austin, where Mountaineers offensive coordinator Shannon Dawson used to coach.
Getting onto campus early should help Howard. Since no quarterback has a firm grasp on the starting job, he will be in the mix for playing time.
Isaac Ijalana, Tight End, Oklahoma
The Sooners haven't had a real tight end option in the passing game for some time. Senior Brannon Green caught a couple of passes for 29 yards this season, but that's about it.
It remains to be seen if Isaac Ijalana from Pierce College (CA) can change that anytime soon, or if he will move around to another position. He initially had some issues enrolling at Oklahoma because a science class credit wouldn't transfer, but that has been sorted out.
He has excellent size—Oklahoma lists him at 6’5 and 255 pounds—and was listed as the No. 6 JUCO tight end for the class. The Sooners have another freshman tight end verbally committed: Carson Meier, a 3-star recruit from Tulsa, Okla.
Tight end is an area of need for Oklahoma's offense, so expect those two to battle for playing time.
Frank Kee, Offensive Lineman, TCU
TCU's struggles on offense were primarily linked to the constant rotation along the offensive line. The Frogs hope to be a bit more settled in the trenches next season, and head coach Gary Patterson is bringing in some additional help.
In addition to 3-star lineman recruit Ty Barrett, TCU is bringing in Tyler College lineman Frank Kee.
He is rated as the third-best JUCO offensive guard. TCU's official release from December says Kee chose the Frogs over offers from Baylor, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Texas Tech.
At 6'4" and 345 pounds, he has the size that coaches are looking for. He should be able to step in right away and compete for playing time since two offensive guards—Eric Tausch and John Wooldridge—were seniors in 2013.
Marcus Smith, Defensive Tackle, Texas Tech
As the 2013 season wore on, it was clear Texas Tech needed to beef up its defensive front, as opposing offenses were running the ball at will.
Tech signed two defensive tackles to enroll in the spring semester: Keland McElrath and Marcus Smith. The expectation is that both will help plug up some holes and occupy linemen in the trenches.
McElrath and Smith rate similarly, according to 247Sports. McElrath is the No. 25 JUCO defensive tackle, while Smith is No. 24 JUCO. As a sophomore at Highland Community College, Smith recorded 49 tackles, 4.5 sacks, 3.5 tackles for loss and one pass breakup.
He didn't garner a ton of offers, but he has the size (6'3", 315 pounds) that Tech's defensive line lacks.