Who will get the upper hand when it comes to recruiting?
The bad blood between the Oklahoma Sooners and the Texas Longhorns never ends.
Sure, the annual Red River Rivalry matchup at the Cotton Bowl is the pinnacle of the rivalry. However, the hatred and competition continues long after the final whistle of the football season.
This week—with national signing day only a couple days away—the focus falls on recruiting.
Year in and year out, Oklahoma and Texas are the class of the Big 12 as far as recruiting is concerned. It’s a rare feat to see another conference foe involved.
But who will have the upper hand as the 2014 recruiting period draws to a close?
Join B/R as we break down both recruiting classes and make a prediction as to who will finish on top.
The Stoops' brothers have enjoyed success on the recruiting trail thus far.
The Sooners continue to reap the rewards of knocking off mighty Alabama in the Sugar Bowl.
Thus far, the school currently has 23 commitments, led by one 5-star recruit and five 4-stars. Head coach Bob Stoops and his staff have made an effort to go outside the comforts of the Big 12 and scooped up prospects from California, Florida, Arizona and Louisiana.
Out of those pledges, 13 are on the offensive side of the ball while 10 are on the defensive side.
According to 247Sports football recruiting team rankings, Oklahoma is ranked No. 18 in the nation and No. 2 in the Big 12.
Strong has his work cut out for him.
Losing five games is never a good characteristic to take into the recruiting period. Neither is replacing a long-time head coach.
That’s the battle the Longhorns and new head coach Charlie Strong have been fighting in recent weeks.
Even amid several decommitments, the school is standing strong with 21 pledges. That’s a list that is headlined by seven 4-star recruits from states such as Arizona, Florida and Louisiana.
Out of those commitments, 12 will provide help to Texas’ offense and nine will join the defense.
The team’s class currently ranks No. 12 in the nation and No. 1 in the Big 12, via 247Sports football recruiting team rankings.
The best player of the Sooners’ class is easily 5-star running back Joe Mixon.
Not only will the Oakley, Calif., native provide an immediate replenishment to the team’s rushing attack, but he’ll also make an impact in the passing game. His explosiveness paired with his hands made Mixon an easy choice for the No. 1 all-purpose back in the nation.
Oklahoma also did well with bringing in new talented receivers. The team is set to welcome in three 4-star prospects in Mark Andrews, Dallis Todd and Jeffery Mead. Watch out for 3-star tight end Carson Meier to also make a name for himself.
The Sooners definitely aren’t short on talent in this group.
Roberson was a big grab for Texas.
There is no doubt that the Longhorns' biggest question mark in 2013 was at quarterback.
So it came as no surprise that one of the team’s top pickups in its class of 2014 was under center in 4-star Jerrod Heard.
The Denton, Texas, native has a strong chance to jump in with David Ash and Tyrone Swoopes in the quarterback competition over the summer. Although he might not be much of a pocket passer, Heard has the arm strength and speed—he runs a 4.59 40—that makes him dangerous.
Other than that, Texas’ other big-name commitments come on the defensive side of the ball.
For the Sooners, the top remaining targets are a pair of 4-star targets in athlete Michiah Quick and safety Steven Parker.
Parker would be a huge boost to the team’s secondary after losing two starters from the unit. Conversely, Quick’s athleticism and explosiveness would give quarterback Trevor Knight a dangerous target in the passing attack.
Oklahoma is also strong pursuing 4-star defensive end and LSU commit Deondre Clark. The Oklahoma City, Okla., native is currently the No. 3-ranked prospect in the state.
Offensive tackle Kenyon Frison is also a target the team hopes to snag.
Strong will hope to get Ford to commit to the Longhorns.
For head coach Strong, he hopes his Louisville ties can aid him in closing out a strong class for 2014.
More specifically, he hopes that a pair of recent Cardinals decommittments—4-star defensive tackle Poona Ford and 3-star defensive tackle Chris Nelson—will seek refuge in Austin. Especially given that Strong helped recruit both.
The Longhorns will also have their fingers crossed on the long shot of landing safety Steven Parker.
Oklahoma will get the edge over Texas heading into the season.
These two programs are literally neck and neck down the stretch. In fact, the two are only separated by 11.54 points, per 247Sports Big-12 football recruiting team rankings.
With the Sooners virtually a lock to land the services of 4-stars Quick and Parker, the team’s class ranking is sure to take a boost. Conversely, the Longhorns are in danger of seeing some of their commits flip.
In the end, the high of Oklahoma’s Sugar Bowl victory paired with the rubble of Texas’ head-coaching change will leave the boys from Norman coming out on top.
It won’t be by much, but it will be enough to earn the Sooners bragging rights.