Big 12 Football Signing Day Power Rankings
National signing day is all but officially in the books.
Coaches aren't done recruiting yet, though. Rather, all the excitement and insanity of Wednesday's action was more of a snapshot of where teams stand with their 2014 recruiting classes.
Now it's time to assess those snapshots.
How did each Big 12 team do? Who were signing day "winners" and "losers"? Who really filled their needs?
Of course, the real success of these classes won't be known for another three or four years when they pan out. In the meantime, though, be prepared for endless coachspeak about how every class may be the best ever.
Remember, every coach got every player he wanted, and every kid is a good athlete but an even better student and person. Expect all programs to finish undefeated next year with unparalleled depth at every position.
Obviously, that's not reality. In fact, the Big 12 as a whole had an underwhelming signing day. The state of Texas, long a pipeline for Big 12 recruits, saw its top 50 players sign with 20 different schools from six different conferences. Seven of the state's top 10 players signed outside the Big 12.
Recruiting success ebbs and flows, but 2014 was definitely a down year for the conference.
With that said, here's how every Big 12 team did on national signing day in power rankings form.
(All rankings used reflect 247Sports' composite rankings unless noted otherwise.)
10. Kansas State
National Ranking: 49
Total Commits: 24
3-Stars or Lower: 23
Analysis: Recruiting at Kansas State is an anomaly.
The Wildcats had the No. 93-rated class in 2009, according to Rivals.com. Yet members of that class helped K-State to a Cotton Bowl appearance in 2011-12 and a Big 12 championship the following season.
Head coach Bill Snyder is a magician. There's no other way to put it.
With that in mind, it shouldn't be a shock, or all that concerning, that Kansas State flew under the radar on signing day. However, Snyder did sign his highest-rated class since returning to the school in 2009. That should inspire some excitement.
K-State has immediate holes to fill on defense, especially at linebacker and in the secondary, after losing five seniors. Snyder landed three prospects from Blue Springs High School in Missouri, two of whom will play defense: linebacker Elijah Lee and safety Kaleb Prewett.
The class is also heavy on offensive linemen and wide receivers. Two of the linemen, A.J. Allen and early enrollee Luke Hayes, are JUCO transfers. Since K-State's line was senior-heavy in 2013, Allen and Hayes will have an opportunity to compete for playing time right away.
The class is nothing flashy, but it's the best Snyder and his assistants have put together in a long time.
9. Iowa State
National Ranking: 56
Total Commits: 25
3-Stars or Lower: 24
Analysis: The 2014 class is all about Lazard.
The 4-star wideout verbally committed to the Cyclones in late 2012, though he was pursued by a number of schools. In the end, Iowa State was able to hold on to him despite a late push by Notre Dame.
Iowa State's passing attack has been lacking, so Lazard is truly a recruit who could contribute right away and serve as a nice complement to Quenton Bundrage.
Head coach Paul Rhoads also put an emphasis on offensive line, a spot marred by injuries in 2013. Given how poor Iowa State was against the run last season, defensive line was a need too. The Cyclones signed three defensive ends, but no interior linemen.
Rather, Rhoads and his staff were able to get six defensive backs. With three seniors departing from the secondary, there should be plenty of competition at cornerback and safety heading into next season.
National Ranking: 54
Total Commits: 23
3-Stars or Lower: 22
Analysis: Kansas' JUCO-heavy recruiting experiment of 2013 yielded minimal results. The Jayhawks finished the season 3-9, a modest improvement over the 1-11 campaign of head coach Charlie Weis' first season.
Now in year three, Weis has to show he can recruit and develop players out of high school, not just got for the quick fix.
Kansas' 2014 class still has some JUCO flair, but it's predominantly filled with high school players. It also has a heavy focus on offense. Wrench, a 4-star running back, and 3-star athlete Corey Avery highlight potential replacements for James Sims in the backfield. The Jayhawks also signed four wide receivers, a position that desperately needs help.
Bragg, from Nacogdoches, Texas (Nacogdoches), anchors an offensive line group that that mixes future contributors with immediate JUCO help. Shoring up the O-line has been a constant chore for Weis. Perhaps he finally got the right combination.
At defensive end, Anthony Olobia from Yuma, Ariz., is a JUCO transfer who can come in right away and compete. Olobia was the last player to send in his letter of intent, but Jayhawks coaches are undoubtedly happy he signed. He is ranked as the No. 3 defensive end for the JUCO ranks.
All in all, this was a decent recruiting class for Kansas. The question is whether it and Weis can produce results quickly enough.
7. Texas Tech
National Ranking: 41
Total Commits: 26
3-Stars or Lower: 27
Analysis: Texas Tech's recruiting class is pretty straight-forward. Filled with all 3-star players, the Red Raiders' class doesn't jump off the page, nor is it disappointing.
That said, few Big 12 programs have addressed their biggest need like Tech did.
The Red Raiders were horribly undersized at defensive line in 2013 and the results showed. They couldn't stop the run and went on a five-game losing streak. Tech's three D-line commits weigh, on average, 318 pounds. How those recruits pan out remains to be seen, but you can't say the coaching staff didn't make a key adjustment.
Where Tech still needs help is at quarterback—maybe. The transfers of Baker Mayfield and Michael Brewer have left the team dangerously thin at that spot. Patrick Mahomes is a 3-star pro-style quarterback who has been committed to the Red Raiders for the better part of a year. However, there's a lot of uncertainty whether he'll pursue football or baseball.
If Mahomes sticks with football, he'll be second-string right away behind Davis Webb. If he goes with baseball, Tech will have to find someone else just to have a warm body available.
The other player getting a lot of signing day buzz is Bethel, who has been committed to Tech for the better part of a month. He held offers from Miami and West Virginia, among many others.
The quarterback situation aside, Tech subtly did some nice things on signing day. Namely, the Red Raiders beefed up on both sides of the trenches at offensive and defensive line.
6. West Virginia
National Ranking: 36
Total Commits: 22
3-Stars or Lower: 20
Analysis: West Virginia's needs are myriad as the Mountaineers try to build up the depth necessary to produce more wins against Big 12 competition.
Nowhere was that more evident than on defense in 2013.
West Virginia signed four players, either as defensive backs or athletes, who will add more depth to the secondary to help out guys like safety Karl Joseph. Myers, a 3-star JUCO transfer, should be able to provide immediate assistance.
On offense, head coach Dana Holgorsen signed six offensive linemen, two of which hail fro the JUCO ranks. The Mountaineers will be fairly young at O-line in 2014, so there's room for immediate contribution. The other O-line recruits in the 2014 class could be contributors two or three years down the road—which is more ideal anyway. The Mountaineers have had all kinds of struggles along the O-line in recent years, so they need major help there.
The question mark at quarterback appears to be answered by Crest and early enrollee Skyler Howard, a JUCO transfer. Whether either of those players takes the starting job next fall remains to be seen, but West Virginia desperately needs to upgrade that position as well.
The biggest surprise was the addition of Durham, N.C. (Hillside), running back Donte Thomas-Williams. The 4-star gives West Virginia another player in what will already be a crowded backfield.
National Ranking: 42
Total Commits: 24
3-Stars or Lower: 23
Analysis: TCU has done as good a job as any program in the conference at finishing strong on the recruiting trail. The Frogs secured 12 commitments over the last month, a handful of which came over the last week.
One of the biggest recruiting victories came Tuesday when Nixon, a 4-star running back, flipped from Texas A&M. Nixon is the highest-rated recruit in the class and gives the offense another weapon besides B.J. Catalon.
In that vein, TCU has been loading up on skill players, especially on offense. Another name to watch is wide receiver Emanuel Porter, who had interest from Texas and LSU. Given how poor the Frogs looked on that side of the ball in 2013, this was an area where head coach Gary Patterson had to upgrade.
The '14 TCU class won't blow many people away, but Patterson has quietly gained a lot of momentum. The class is offense-heavy with two quarterbacks, five linemen and three wide receivers. The biggest blow was losing out on offensive lineman Braden Smith, who ultimately chose Auburn over the Horned Frogs.
It won't get much national attention, but TCU ended signing day as one of the bigger winners in the Big 12.
4. Oklahoma State
National Ranking: 28
Total Commits: 29
3-Stars or Lower: 24
Analysis: Oklahoma State's defense was excellent in 2013, and a big reason was because of the large number of veteran starters. However, several of those starters, along with their backups, are gone. There are losses at every level of the defense.
Not surprisingly, roughly half of the '14 class is made up of defensive players. Linebacker was a chief concern, but the Cowboys got 4-star Gyasi Akem, one of the best players in the state of Oklahoma.
On the offensive side of the ball, the Pokes needed help at wide receiver and quarterback. The receiving unit lost three of its top four receivers: Tracy Moore, Charlie Moore and Josh Stewart.
At quarterback, there's a lot of depth but practically no experience behind J.W. Walsh. 4-star Keenan Brown from Houston, Texas (Alief Taylor), highlights the incoming receiving group. Early enrollee Mason Rudolph should push Walsh at the quarterback spot.
When it comes to moving the excitement needle, Hill, a JUCO transfer, has perhaps the best chance to see the field immediately.
National Ranking: 26
Total Commits: 28
3-Stars or Lower: 25
Analysis: Baylor has improved tremendously on the recruiting trail since head coach Art Briles took over six years ago. The '14 class is another example of just how far the Bears have come as they build a Big 12 championship-caliber program.
Baylor signed six of the state's top 50 players, the top four of whom are skill players. Cannon, a 5-star prospect, is the highest-ranked player in the group.
The Bears are quickly becoming known as the new "Wide Receiver U," but the incoming group of receivers in 2014 may actually be the scariest yet. Don't expect the team to slow down on the field, or in recruiting, anytime soon.
With so many athletes in the '14 class, Briles will have a ton of options when it comes to moving players around. Considering how many key contributors departed from the 2013 team, Baylor needed help all across the board. Briles got that help and got it early. Seven recruits enrolled early, and every commit gave his verbal before the start of 2014.
Point being, this class has been set for a while. That's remarkable.
National Ranking: 17
Total Commits: 23
3-Stars or Lower: 15
Analysis: Recruiting is all about gains and losses. Texas' gains and losses just feel magnified.
As with any new coach, the Longhorns have had plenty of peaks and valleys over the past month or so.
New head coach Charlie Strong's first priority was keeping the class as fully intact as possible. With the exception of a handful of major departures, such as linebacker Otaro Alaka and defensive lineman Courtney Garnett, he has done just that.
He also pulled in some much-needed late additions, starting with the defensive line. That position was decimated by the decommitments last month. Joining Texas are D-linemen Poona Ford and Chris Nelson.
Offensive line was a huge need too. Earlier this week, 3-star offensive lineman Elijah Rodriguez flipped from Colorado to the Longhorns. Prior to Rodriguez's commitment, Texas had just two linemen in the class: Terrell Cuney and early enrollee Alex Anderson.
The important thing here is that Texas got a few more bodies in the trenches.
It was a decent rebound, all things considered. Signing day wasn't as good as it could have been for Texas, but Strong will be more closely judged on how he does on the recruiting trail in the future.
National Ranking: 14
Total Commits: 27
3-Stars or Lower: 19
Analysis: Oklahoma started 2014 with a huge Sugar Bowl win over Alabama. If that game, along with national signing day, is any indication, the Sooners are headed for a big year.
The Sooners already had a good-looking class a few weeks ago, but head coach Bob Stoops and Co. made a late surge for some big-name talents like Jenks, Okla. (Jenks), safety Steven Parker. The 4-star prospect committed to Oklahoma on Tuesday.
Oklahoma will be young at the offensive skill positions in 2014, but it did a good job of filling the class with players who could compete right away. The crown jewel of the class is Mixon, but 4-star Samaje Perine is not to be overlooked. Three wide receivers to commit to Oklahoma—Mark Andrews, Dallis Todd and Jeffery Mead—measure at least 6'5", so there's a lot of size at that position.
Between signing highly touted skill players and building up depth in the trenches, Oklahoma exits signing day as the biggest winner in the Big 12.
Top Five Overall Classes
With national signing day wrapping up, Bleacher Report's recruiting experts give their choices for the five best recruiting classes from Wednesday.
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