September 21, 2005

Big 12 Blitz: Horns win early

Mack Brown doesn't like to lose.

So when the Texas Longhorns limped to an uncharacteristic finish at No. 20 in the class of 2005 recruiting rankings and lost the nation's top quarterback, Ryan Perrilloux, to LSU on signing day, Brown made a decision that has left the rest of college football in an burnt orange wake ever since.

Brown, known as one of the top recruiters in the game, told his assistant coaches to step on the gas early and secure commitments from the top players in Texas. The early push paid off big time as the Longhorns racked up 22 commits before the dog days of summer arrived. The Horns now have 24 commitments, including 14 players ranked four-stars or higher.

The cream of the crop has to be five-star studs Sergio Kindle of Dallas Woodrow Wilson and Eddie Jones of Kilgore, Texas. Kindle, the nation's No. 1 inside linebacker and No. 8 player overall, is being called by many as the top inner-city player in Dallas in the last 10 years. Jones, the No. 1 weakside defensive end and No. 27 player overall, has been the top prospect in East Texas the past two years.

The message Brown sent was loud and clear.

Don't mess with Texas when it comes to recruiting.

Uncharted territory for OU?

Bob Stoops and company have had an amazing recruiting tool that they've been able to use the past few years - winning. But with the Sooners sitting with a 1-2 record, some people are asking if that's going to change the Sooners' perception with many top recruits.

The early returns seem to indicate that many recruits understand that Oklahoma is playing with a younger than normal team.

"When you look at what they have at Oklahoma, you know that they're a young team, and that's not such a bad thing," four-star offensive tackle Curtis Bailey said. "They have a lot of talent that will be there for a while, but they're still learning about what playing big-time football is about. I wouldn't mind going and being part of that and being with those guys for three or four years."

Also keep in mind that Oklahoma has a good foundation in place. The Sooners signed the nation's No. 3 class last year, and this year's group already features five four-star prospects.

It's all about the D

There is no argument that Texas A&M has one of the most explosive offenses in the nation with Reggie McNeal leading the way at quarterback. But seasoned A&M fans know to win in College Station, the Wrecking Crew has to be dominant.

The good news is that the Aggies are piecing together an impressive defensive class full of solid recruits.

Midland (Texas) Lee defensive tackle and Aggie commit Leslie Ray is a Rivals250 prospect and arguably the top tackle in the state this season. Four-star cornerback Jordan Pugh of Plano (Texas) West was heavily recruited before he pledged to the Aggies and he has had a great senior season so far.

In all, the Aggies have landed pledges from seven players that are projected on the defensive side of the ball. That's more than half of its class.

Impressive O-line

Texas Tech is known for its skill players, highlighted by quarterbacks that throw for 500 yards a game and receivers that put up some ungodly stats.

But the key to running Tech's fast-break offense is on the offensive line and the Red Raiders have already reeled in an impressive group for the class of 2006.

Tech has snagged six offensive linemen and the best in the bunch are Dimitri Lott out of Houston and Chris Olson and Buddy Brummit from the Dallas Metroplex. Lott is a physical force that has good footwork and is known as a good run blocker. Olson blocks for the nation's top quarterback, Georgia commit Matthew Stafford, so you know he's adept at pass blocking. Brummit also is one of the top versatile blockers in the Lone Star State.

The Red Raiders are also hoping to develop sleepers Ben Davis and Tyler Duggins, who both stand more than 6-foot-6.

The Goodson watch

Everybody assumed it was over. When Michael Goodson went on Houston television and announced that he was heading to Oklahoma State, it was national news. Now that he's having second thoughts about his commitment and talking about visiting Texas A&M and USC, he's in the national spotlight once again.

"I'm taking another look around," Goodson, the nation's No. 6 running back, said. "I've set up visits to Texas A&M and USC for November and December. I've got to check out USC. They are the best in the country right now.

"Coach Fran has been here also. He's been really cool when I've talked with him. They have a lot of big backs there. I think I could fit in."

OSU fans will quickly find out how talented of a recruiter new Oklahoma State running back coach Curtis Luper is. He is the one that landed Goodson in the first place, and now if he can keep him it might be the recruiting job of the year.

The Huskers best recruiter?

Grandview, Mo., quarterback Josh Freeman has been called a lot of things over the past few months. While some coaches projected him as a blue-chip tight end prospect, the Huskers zeroed in on him as their quarterback recruit in the 2006 class. Freeman decided NU was the perfect fit for him, and now he's taken on a new role as one of the Huskers best recruiters.

Freeman has been burning up the phone lines making calls to prospects that are interested in the Huskers and answering any questions that they might have and talking to him about the future of the NU program.

He also did a masterful job on his official visit a few weeks ago, spending a lot of time with blue-chip prospects David Ausberry, Carl Johnson and Quintin Hancock.

Baylor has done a good job of defending its backyard the past few years and the addition of Dan'Tay Ward, a three-star defensive tackle from Waco High was another solid commitment. Keep in mind that Waco High will always have talented recruits… Colorado's class might not be as California heavy as in the past. The Buffs have six commitments so far and four are from in state and the other two are from Texas… Iowa State might have landed one of the best sleepers in Texas with linebacker Austin Alburtis. The 6-foot-3, 225-pounder was one of the best players at Oklahoma's summer camp and he dominates private school football in Dallas… Kansas recruiting coordinator Dave Doren continues to do a masterful job with the 2006 class. Doren helped snag three-star running back Donte Bean last week… Kansas State running back commitment Leon Patton has blown up as a senior. Through three games, Patton has rushed for 547 yards and also had 178 yards receiving… Missouri coaches fell in love with Cypress (Texas) Cy Falls quarterback J.P. Tillman and offered him early in the process. He didn't have a lot of offers before he committed, but the last time MU took a kid that wasn't highly recruited at quarterback that guy ended up being quite the player. That guy was Brad Smith.

More Recruiting Blitzes:
Big East: Pitt holding on
ACC: Tigers on the rise
SEC: Big weekend for Gators
Pac-10: Bruins rolling along
Big Ten: Irish stockpiling talent is your source for: College Football | Football Recruiting | College Basketball | Basketball Recruiting | College Baseball | High School | College Merchandise
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