HD'S TAYLOR ESTES 1-ON-1 WITH MARVIN WILSON
I caught up with five-star DT Marvin Wilson at The Opening. The nation's No. 1 defensive tackle has plans to visit USC and Texas this summer, and he currently plans to take his official visits to out-of-state schools.
"I'm going to USC in two weeks and I will probably go to the Under the Lights camp, and that will be my summer," Wilson said. "I'll probably hit out-of-state schools (for official visits). I'll most likely (take unofficial visits) to Texas and Texas A&M this season."
Vance Bedford has been leading the charge for Wilson's recruitment. He has been in constant talks with Bedford throughout the process, and currently feels Texas could be a good fit for him.
"Coach Bedford has been recruiting me the hardest. Him and Coach Strong have been DMing (direct messaging) me a lot, but Coach Bedford has been the one hitting me real hard," Wilson said.
"They've told me they can see me playing early. I know they will take care of me if I go there, so it is a good fit for me right now."
Texas signed five defensive tackles to its 2016 recruiting class. Wilson believes the inexperience of the tackles on the roster will help his chances to get early playing time if he chooses the Longhorns.
"I feel like I could go in there and play early. None of those guys have been developed all that much yet, so there's a fighting chance for me to come in and get early playing time."
Texas and Texas A&M are the only in-state schools to make Wilson's Top 10. If he chooses to stay close to home, the Aggies and Longhorns will have to battle it out to secure his commitment.
"Texas is really high on my Top 10 right now. Texas A&M is up there too. They may have to duke it out for me if I stay in Texas."
CHIP BROWN'S HIGHLY ANTICIPATED BIG 12 PREDICTIONS FOR 2016
Every year, college football fans eagerly await the Big 12 predictions of Chip Brown - whether it's to take to Vegas or to post as joke material for comic relief is up for debate.
But without further adieu, here they are ....
#1 … TCU
PREDICTED 2016 FINISH: 11-1 overall, 8-1 Big 12
LOSSES: Iowa State
STRENGTHS: If QB Kenny Hill has his head on straight or QB Foster Sawyer beats Hill out, TCU should be fine at QB under Doug Meacham and Sonny Cumbie. … RB Kyle Hicks … WR Kuvontae Turpin … LSU transfer WR John Diarse … Seven starters back on defense, and no one game plans for opponents on D better than Gary Patterson. … TCU gets OU and Oklahoma State in Fort Worth in 2016.
WEAKNESSES: If neither Hill nor Sawyer emerges at the QB position. … Four starters on OL need to be replaced. … Losing production of QB Trevone Boykin and WR Josh Doctson is a lot to overcome.
BOTTOM LINE: TCU, which picked up some much-needed momentum going into the off-season by erasing a 31-0 deficit in a 3OT 47-41 over Oregon in the Alamo Bowl, gets Arkansas, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State at home. I’m picking TCU to lose to Iowa State, because I think ISU is going to be improved under Matt Campbell, and because this is THE first Big 12 game (Sept. 17), it could catch TCU napping. And because the game falls between Arkansas and rival SMU. … TCU has to play Texas in Austin, but the toads have beaten UT 98-17 the past two years.
#2 … OKLAHOMA
PREDICTED 2016 FINISH: 10-2, 8-1
LOSSES: Ohio State, at TCU
STRENGTHS: QB Baker Mayfield … RBs Samaje Perine and Joe Mixon … The offense’s second year under Lincoln Riley. … MLB Jordan Evans and S Ahmad Thomas are legit. … K/P Austin Siebert
WEAKNESSES: Who replaces OLB Eric Striker (7.5 sacks in 2015), DE Charles Tapper (7 sacks in 2015) and CB Zack Sanchez (7 INTs in 2015)? … Losing WR Sterling Shepard’s production (86 catches, 1,288 yards, 11 TDs in 2015) is a blow. … OU needs more than Dede Westbrook at WR. … OU struggled to run the ball against Tenn, Texas, WVU and Clemson last season. … CB Jordan Thomas was arrested for the second time in his OU career in June.
BOTTOM LINE: OU’s toughest games all come before Oct. 8 (Houston, Ohio State, TCU and Texas). … Bob Stoops deserves the benefit of the doubt after winning his ninth Big 12 title in 17 years at OU in 2015. But he’s lost two of the last three vs Texas and was lucky to escape Norman with a 30-29 win over TCU last year as both teams finished the game without their starting QBs. … OU lost some firepower on defense, and Sterling Shepard’s loss seems to loom large. … If Mayfield can improve on last year’s staggering season (36 TDs, 7 INTs), then OU may have enough to take down TCU in Fort Worth. … But it’s become personal between Gary Patterson and Mayfield after Baker said publicly that TCU left him out to dry on a scholarship offer out of Lake Travis.
#3 … OKLAHOMA STATE
PREDICTED 2016 FINISH: 10-2, 7-2
LOSSES: at TCU, at OU
STRENGTHS: QB Mason Rudolph … WRs James Washington (53 catches, 1,087 yards, 10 TDs in 2015) and Marcell Ateman (45 catches, 766 yds, 5 TDs) … Offensive line returns in tact. … S Jordan Sterns is a hard-hitting star - this year’s Karl Joseph. … LB Jordan Burton makes plays all over the field. … DT Vincent Taylor (48 tackles, 5 sacks in 2015) is disruptive. … Senior K Ben Grogan has been streaky but has made 49 FGs in three seasons. … P Zach Sinor is an excellent directional punter.
WEAKNESSES: Even with DEs Emmanuel Ogbah (13 sacks in 2015) and Jimmy Bean (5.5 sacks in 2015) last year, the defense gave up 30.5 ypg. … OSU didn’t run the ball well last season (3.6 ypc) but adds Stanford transfer RB Barry Sanders Jr. … Losing QB J.W. Walsh, who ran for 13 TDs in 2015, hurts.
BOTTOM LINE: Ok State had a lot of things go right last season in last-minute wins over Texas, Kansas State, West Virginia and Iowa State. But the Cowboys found a way to win those games and go 10-3. With 10 starters back on offense and 7 back on defense, OSU should be better.
#4 … TEXAS
PREDICTED 2016 FINISH: 8-4, 6-3
LOSSES: Notre Dame, at Oklahoma State, OU (in Dallas), TCU
STRENGTHS: Sterlin Gilbert’s new offense has a focus and direction, unlike last year’s Shoot-Ready-Aim offense, and freshman QB Shane Buechele appears to be a good fit. … RBs D’Onta Foreman (7.2 ypc) and Chris Warren III (6.6 ypc) … OT Connor Williams, OG Patrick Vahe and OL Kent Perkins … Texas averaged 5.1 ypc in 2015. … CBs Davante Davis and Holton Hill … LB Malik Jefferson (although he disappeared over the second half of the season in 2015).
WEAKNESSES: Offense in 2015 (26.4 pgg) was better than 2014 (21.4 ppg), but was still anemic in high-powered Big 12. … In need of a kicker and improved special teams in general. … Defense gave up 219 yards per game on the ground in 2015 - among the worst in the nation - and lost veteran DTs Hassan Ridgeway and Tank Jackson. … D also gave up 30.3 points per game last year.
BOTTOM LINE: Texas had no proven passing game in 2015, although Buechele throwing to WRs John Burt, Collin Johnson, Devin Duvernay and TE Caleb Bluiett appears to be a big upgrade. … LB Anthony Wheeler is poised for a breakout season at MLB. … Depth on the DL will have to grow up quickly. … If those things happen, Texas could get hot by the time Big 12 play starts and shock everyone with a win at Ok State and against OU in Dallas. … Charlie Strong can’t afford any more losses of 18 points or more after 8 such losses in the first two years, including shutout losses at K-State in 2014 and at Iowa State in 2015. … Eight wins with a chance to win nine in a bowl game would probably secure Strong’s return as coach in 2017.
#5 … TEXAS TECH
PREDICTED 2016 FINISH: 8-4, 5-4
LOSSES: OU, at TCU, Texas, at Ok State
STRENGTHS: QB Patrick Mahomes … RB Justin Stockton … 6-foot-3 WRs Derrick Willies and Dylan Cantrell could surprise. … DT Breiden Fehoko
WEAKNESSES: Tech lost incredibly productive RB Deandre Washington and WR Jakeem Grant. … TT needs DL transfers Ondre Pipkins (Michigan) and Kolin Hill (Notre Dame) to come up big.
BOTTOM LINE: Tech plays at Arizona State on Sept. 10. ASU ended up being horrible last year (6-7), so Tech needs to win that game and get off to a 6-0 start.
#6 … IOWA STATE
PREDICTED 2016 FINISH: 7-5, 5-4
LOSSES: at Iowa, at Ok State, at Texas, OU, Texas Tech
STRENGTHS: QB Joel Lanning … RB Mike Warren … WR Allen Lazard … New HC Matthew Campbell is a power spread innovator, and his teams at Toledo averaged 5.1, 5.8, 6.0 and 4.8 ypc each of the past four years, respectively. … 8 starters return on defense.
WEAKNESSES: Four starters on the OL need to be replaced. … ISU plays four of its first seven games on the road at Iowa, TCU, Oklahoma State and Texas.
BOTTOM LINE: I think Iowa State is going to rise up and get at least one of the top teams in the conference (TCU on Sept. 17) and maybe two (OU is on upset alert in Ames on Thursday, Nov. 3).
#7 … WEST VIRGINIA
PREDICTED 2016 FINISH: 6-6, 3-6
LOSSES: at Texas Tech, TCU, at Ok State, at Texas, OU, at Iowa State
STRENGTHS: The offense … QB Skyler Howard is back from a 26 TD, 14 INT season in 2015. … RB Rushel Shell and JUCO All-American Justin Crawford step in for highly productive Wendell Smallwood. … Top two WRs - Shelton Gibson and Kalkiel Shorts are back. … Four starters on the OL return. … Kicker Josh Lambert (17 of 23 FGs) returns.
WEAKNESSES: NFL first-round draft pick S Karl Joseph is gone. … So are four of the top five tacklers from last year. … WVU is starting over at linebacker after losing all three starters, including leading tackler Nick Kwiatkoski. … WVU lost NFL talent in the secondary with the departures of Joseph, Daryl Worley and K.J. Dillon.
BOTTOM LINE: WVU gets beatable Missouri and BYU teams in the non-conference, and I expect the Mountaineers to start 4-0. But then things get rough.
#8 … BAYLOR
PREDICTED 2016 FINISH: 4-8, 2-7
WINS: Northwestern State, at Rice, KU, K-State
STRENGTHS: QB Seth Russell … RBs Shock Linwood and Johnny Jefferson … WRs K.D. Cannon
WEAKNESSES: Coaching upheaval/scandal … The BU defensive line has been decimated by the losses of Andrew Billings, Shawn Oakman, Beau Blackshear, JUCO DT Jeremy Faulk and DE Brian Nance.
BOTTOM LINE: The commitment of the remaining assistant coaches is in serious question. This situation reminds me of Arkansas in 2012, when John L. Smith took over an 11-2 team after Bobby Petrino’s disgraced exit.
#9 … KANSAS STATE
PREDICTED 2016 FINISH: 3-9, 1-8
WINS: Florida Atlantic, Missouri State, Kansas
STRENGTHS: QB Jesse Ertz is seen as an upgrade from Joe Hubener. … JUCO transfer WR Byron Pringle is seen as a rising star. … RB Charles Jones … LB Elijah Lee (led KSU in tackles with 80 in 2015) … SS Dante Barnett (had started 27 straight games before a season-ending injury in Game 1 of 2015). … Defense returns 7 starters.
WEAKNESSES: Replacing four starters on the OL. … The defense gave up 31.5 points per game in 2015 (93rd nationally) as well as 285.5 ypg through the air (121st nationally). … QB Joe Hubener completed just 47.6 percent of his passes in 2015. … KSU’s leading receiver caught just 38 passes (Deante Burton). … Baby Gronk (Glenn Gronkowski) is gone!
BOTTOM LINE: KSU usually has rock solid QB play with a star RB and a WR with blazing speed on the outside. Think of QBs Josh Freeman and Jake Waters, RBs Jon Hubert and Daniel Thomas as well as WRs Tyler Lockett, Jordy Nelson and Yamon Figurs. K-State doesn’t have that anymore, and I’m not sure the Purple Wizard Bill Snyder can come up with the magic this season.
#10 … KANSAS
PREDICTED 2016 FINISH: 2-10, 0-9
WINS: Rhode Island, Ohio
STRENGTHS: Not much.
WEAKNESSES: A lot.
BOTTOM LINE: David Beaty is still trying to recruit talent to replace the junior college gambles/misses suffered under Charlie Weis. … Beaty has put even more pressure on himself by demoting OC Rob Likens and taking over the offense. … KU’s defense gave up 46.1 points per game last season. It’s a long haul to respectability.