As long as I have been covering recruiting I have never graded recruiting classes in any way other than with a letter grade. I have a formula that I used to use strictly and come up with a numerical representation, but over the years I learned it was impractical based on using the values established by various recruiting sites and their evaluations. My letter grades on each school in the Big 12 reflect several factors:
1. How good an overall class they signed based on talent.
2. How well they did addressing position needs in their program.
3. How well they recruited through circumstances such as terrible season, coaching change, extreme rumors, etc.
4. Whether they recruited above or below their typical performance over the past decade.
Give new head coach Matt Campbell credit as he came in late, assembled a staff and got out and actually pulled in some really solid talent. Sean Foster is a mammoth offensive tackle out of California that should help a lot. DeAndre Payne is a junior college corner out of Arizona Western that was a must get to help add speed and cover ability to the Cyclones secondary. On the scramble this is a solid class.
Texas grabbed up some players off other schools commitment lists late and moved way up in every website's recruiting rankings. They took Chris Daniels, a defensive tackle from Euless, who was pledged to OU, Erick Fowler out of Manor, Texas from LSU, and safety Brandon Jones out of Nacogdoches, Texas headed to Texas A&M. I interviewed Jones at the Nike Regional and was really impressed. In the end, the key is one of the recruits committed to Texas the longest and that is Arlington Lamar quarterback Shane Bueschele. Texas has to have a quarterback and until the Longhorns get one then they will struggle.
Lots of junior college guys and not as many Floridians as the Mountaineers went through coaching changes and rumor mill material, but they ended up with the top junior college prospect in the nation in Northwest Mississippi C.C. running back Justin Crawford, and they got him on the last weekend. Add to that Ohio linebacker standout Brendan Ferns and this was very solid. A lot of linemen in the class on both sides and that really addressed needs.
The Bears keep topping themselves. I agree with head coach Art Briles' statement that this class may have more overall talent than any of the others that he and his coaches have brought in. Sachse wide receiver Devin Duvernay may be the fastest prospect in Texas and Tren Davian Dickson of Navasota may be the most talented receiver in the state. Baylor got some new talent on both the offensive and the defensive lines which addressed needs.
OU had some defections late and they really seemed to want to steal one late from their rival in-state in the Cowboys. You know Bob Stoops is always looking to flex his muscles on OSU, but couldn't do it as offensive lineman Tyler Brown and hybrid Calvin Bundage held to O-State. OU did get tremendous late signee in linebacker Caleb Kelly out of California. I really like defensive end Amani Bledsoe and wide receiver Zach Farrar, who was another late pickup. Five offensive linemen in the class really takes care of a need.
Not quite as good as it has been the past few seasons but still a lot of talent for Gary Patterson and the Frogs in 2016. De Isaiah Chambers out of Houston is stout and so is speedy and strong Sewo Olonilua of Kingwood. Frogs did lose a quarterback late to OSU in Keondre Wudtee.
Start with the most critical need, the offensive line. The lack of a potent running game and the quarterback hits and sacks allowed against the better defenses in the league this past season were a major concern. Also, the lack of competition within the offensive line for starting positions and back up places on the depth chart all contributed to the issues. I see Larry Williams, the All-American from Hutchinson Community College being an immediate competitor for an offensive tackle position. Teven Jenkins, Tyler Brown, Dylan Galloway, Matt Kegel and Tramonda Moore are all high school linemen who are very promising. They have size, strength and attitude.
Look out as Texas Tech used 14 scholarship on defenders and seven of those on defensive linemen. Unbelievable! Still the most highly rated of the signees for Kliff Kingsbury and company are offensive players like Wichita Falls Rider receiver T.J. Vasher and Trinity Valley C.C. receiver Derrick Willies. Tech has continued to have to overcome less than stellar results on the field.
The Jayhawks dipped into Oklahoma for a really solid corner in Kyle Mayberry out of Tulsa Booker T. Washington. He may be one of the best signees as Kansas is constantly dealing with poor results on the field. The best Texas product for veteran Texas high school coach and now KU head coach David Beaty is Galena Park North Shore linebacker Maciah Long.
De-commitments left and right in the last two weeks hurt the K-State class massively. The Wildcats have to fight off the Bill Snyder rumors as he is coaching into his twilight years and opposing schools suggest he may not be head coach much longer. I really like the kid they got out of Oklahoma in Oologah linebacker Jimmy McKinney, who is a physical and very talented player at 6-0, 230 pounds.