Big 12 Football: 2015 Recruiting Needs for Each Team
The Big 12 is a conference known for its high-scoring games. That means coaches attack the recruiting trail looking for skilled players who can either help them score more points or stop opposing teams from getting in the end zone.
However, recruiting offensive linemen is also an annual priority in this league. Each team has needs to fill in 2015, and this piece will quickly touch on each recruiting priority for every program in the Big 12.
Oklahoma needs to continue stocking blockers, while Texas will focus on defense. Baylor may indeed need multiple quarterbacks, plus Texas Tech needs to get another stud tight end.
Baylor signed one of its best classes in school history in 2014, finishing 26th in the 247Sports recruiting rankings.
This year, the Bears have needs to fill at quarterback, offensive tackle and hybrid strong safety/linebacker. Head coach Art Briles didn't take a passer in 2014, and many of the six blockers who signed with Briles are expected to play inside.
Adding a big safety/small outside linebacker to make sure his defensive scheme continues to work well should be another objective for Briles in 2015 recruiting.
Signing 4-star receiver Allen Lazard was a huge coup for Iowa State, who now must continue adding recruits of Lazard's quality to build more momentum on the recruiting trail.
The Cyclones signed three defensive linemen in 2014, but all of them are defensive ends. Defensive tackle is a position of need at ISU, and adding another pass-rusher off the edge isn't a terrible idea.
Signing an inside/middle linebacker is another defensive need. Offensively, more interior offensive linemen are needed by the Cyclones.
Head coach Charlie Weis did not sign a quarterback in 2014, so you can bet good money he's going to go hard after a passer in the 2015 cycle. The same can be said for tight end.
Weis signed four offensive linemen last year, but none are listed as offensive tackles. Expect that to be a priority.
Finally, Kansas only brought in one safety and one linebacker, so those two spots are the two biggest needs on defense.
Kansas State signed two defensive linemen in its last class, so the defensive front is a position of need for depth purposes. The focus needs to specifically be on the edges, as an explosive pass-rusher is needed at KSU.
Next, the Wildcats didn't sign a tight end, plus they only hauled in one running back in 2014. Both of those positions are important to their offense.
Although head coach Bill Snyder signed two cornerbacks in February, both cover men are JUCO prospects. That means they will likely not be at Kansas State in two seasons, so Snyder needs to sign some high school cornerbacks to develop for the future.
Oklahoma is set to lose more than five offensive linemen after this season, so the Sooners are going to have to re-stock their offensive trenches. They signed six blockers in 2014, but more are needed in Norman.
OU's biggest need on defense also happens to be in the trenches. Head coach Bob Stoops signed just one defensive tackle in his latest class, and he also needs to continue making sure the Sooners have quick and athletic personnel on the edges.
Only three offensive linemen were signed last year by Oklahoma State, and that will not cut it in the Big 12. With the Cowboys running a high-octane spread offense, they need to make sure they have more than enough depth in the offensive trenches.
Adding another tight end would be nice, as head coach Mike Gundy saw just one player at that position join his program in February.
Defensively, defensive line will likely be the primary focus.
The receiver position was increased by three on TCU's roster in February, but more depth is needed. Plus, TCU could stand to add more speed and playmaking ability on the offensive perimeter.
The Horned Frogs would also be smart to add a true center prospect to man the pivot in Ft. Worth. Gary Patterson is a defensive-minded head coach, so he will also look to boast his favorite unit.
He signed 11 defenders in 2014, but six of them were defensive backs. Look for the front seven of the defense to be the focus of Patterson's defensive recruiting efforts.
New head coach Charlie Strong is going to have to make a big impression on many people during his first full recruiting year at Texas.
Strong is a defensive-minded coach, and he's almost certain to spend most of the 2015 cycle recruiting players who fit his defensive scheme. That includes going after explosive edge-defenders, as well as linebackers.
Offensively, Strong signed just a pair of offensive linemen in 2014. It's easy to see blockers are needed in Austin.
Jeff Kubiszyn of RantSports.com said on Feb. 15:
Strong’s predecessor rebuilt relationships with the high school coaches and this allowed the program to prosper from 2000-09. The new head coach would be wise to develop these relationships if he hopes to continue to have a pipeline to the best talent in the state.
Texas Tech has a commitment from 5-star quarterback Jarrett Stidham, so its class will be built around him.
However, that doesn't mean head coach Kliff Kingsbury should bypass filling his needs. The Red Raiders are not exactly known for playing smothering defense, so Kingsbury must continue loading up on linebackers and pass-rushing defensive ends.
Also, with Jace Amaro preparing to be drafted in May, getting another receiving tight end would be a good idea.
Only two defensive linemen were signed by West Virginia in February. The Mountaineers specifically need to focus on weak-side, pass-rushing defensive ends.
Next, 4-star running back Donte Thomas-Williams is a powerful running back with good strength. However, he will need to be paired with a quick and speedy runner who can provide lightning to Thomas-Williams' thunder. That needs to be addressed during this recruiting cycle.
Finally, with the offense WVU runs, it can never have enough receivers. Plus, its defense normally faces a ton of passing plays due to opposing offenses wanting to keep pace with the Mountaineers' ability to score, so WVU also can never have enough defensive backs.
All recruiting ratings and rankings are from 247Sports.
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 and Cleveland Browns.