Despite the lack of success on the field for the last three seasons, the Texas Longhorns have remained the class of Big 12 recruiting, even with all the defections in the 2013 class. With a top-10 national class that sits atop the conference once again in 2014, the 'Horns are still going strong while trying to hold off a surging Baylor program that is trying to put itself among the conference's elite.
One way to demonstrate where each school stands in recruiting is to put together an all-conference recruiting team.
The format is simple. Using the 247 Sports Composite of the four major recruiting rankings (Scout, Rivals, ESPN and 247), we'll assemble the top QB, 2 RB, 3 WR, TE, 5 OL, 4 DL, 4 LB, 5 DB.
Note: Every effort was made to slot players at the positions they'll be playing in college. Analysis follows the table.
The list saw some changes from the July edition, with five new commitments making their way onto the list, one big decommiment opening up a spot on the defensive line, and another prospect moving up in the rankings.
Welcome to the team: WR KD Cannon (Baylor), WR Mark Andrews (Oklahoma), TE Carson Meier (Oklahoma), DL Jake McMillon (Texas), LB Jimmie Swaim (TCU), S John Bonney (Texas), CB Chris Hardeman (Oklahoma State).
So long: WR Armanti Foreman (Texas), WR Dallis Todd (Oklahoma), TE Jordan Feuerbacher (Baylor), DT Zaycoven Henderson (decommitted from TCU), LB James David (Baylor), CB Andre Maloney (Kansas), CB Nick Foster (TCU).
|Only Oklahoma commit Justice Hansen (composite 93 grade) could come close to matching that of the longtime Texas pledge.|
|Jerrod Heard||Denton (Texas) Guyer||****||Texas|
|Heard is a 6'3, 190-pound dual threat who led his team to a state championship last year as he gained more than 2,000 yards on the ground. An improving passer, Heard is a member of the Elite 11.|
|The top two running backs in the Big 12 stand out in a group with a handful of high three-star and four-star prospects.|
|Devon Thomas||Broken Arrow (Okla.)||****||Oklahoma State|
|The explosive Thomas is a former Oklahoma commit who is trying to work his way back from a disappointing junior season marred by injuries.|
|Donald Catalon||Houston (Texas) Eisenhower||****||Texas|
|An accomplished receiver, Catalon also battled health issues as a junior, and there are also some concerns that he's primarily a straight-line back, but he is a home-run threat with subtle moves.|
|There are a number of talented wide receivers committed to Big 12 schools, as well as several athletes who could have ended up on this list.|
|KD Cannon||Mount Pleasant (Texas)||*****||Baylor|
|The only consensus five-star player committed to a Big 12 program, Cannon is an elite deep threat who has a knack for getting open down the field, even though his speed is not elite.|
|Allen Lazard||Urbandale (Iowa)||****||Iowa State|
|Iowa State rarely lands elite prospects, but ties to Lazard's family should help keep him in the fold despite continued high-level pursuit from Notre Dame. The 6'5, 210-pounder was also a standout at The Opening.|
|Mark Andrews||Scottsdale (Ariz.) Desert Mountain||****||Oklahoma|
|At 6'6 and 230 pounds, Andrews could end up growing into a tight end, but wants to stay at the receiver position, where he projects as a possession receiver with the capability of making a difference in the redzone with his height and ability to high-point the football.|
|Carson Meier||Tulsa (Okla.) Union||***||Oklahoma|
|Meier has a nice mix of receiving and blocking ability for a high school tight end in an age when many are used almost exclusively at wide receiver, though he will have to add some mass to his 220-pound frame before he's ready to play with his hand in the dirt in college.|
|The five are the five highest-rated offensive linemen, regardless of position (tackle, guard or center). It's a down year for talent in the conference, in large part because the talent level is down in Texas.|
|Terrell Cuney||Jasper (Texas)||***||Texas|
|Ranked as one of the top centers in the country, Cuney is a mobile prospect who excels at the second level, but needs to add mass to compete in college.|
|Frank Kee||Tyler (Texas) Junior College||***||TCU|
|The 6'4, 335-pound mauler is an interior prospect all the way and is ranked as the top JUCO guard in the country.|
|Dalton Risner||Wiggins (Colo.)||***||Kansas State|
|One of the top centers in the West, Risner has the pure size at 6'5 to play tackle in college if necessary.|
|Alex Dalton||Troy (Ohio)||***||Oklahoma|
|A high school right tackle who is on the short side for his position (6'4), the Sooners are likely to play Dalton inside at center in college.|
|Josh Krok||Niles (Ohio) McKinley||***||West Virginia|
|A massive prospect at 6'8, Krok is remarkably light on his feet for someone his size.|
|These are the four highest-rated defensive linemen, be they ends or tackles.|
|Derick Roberson||San Antonio (Texas) Brennan||****||Texas|
|The defensive end has a freakish combination of athleticism and advanced technical ability for his age.|
|Trey Lealaimatafao||San Antonio (Texas) Warren||***||Texas|
|A highly-coveted defensive tackle, the San Antonio product possesses exceptional quickness off the ball and a squatty build that makes it difficult for opponents to win the leverage battle.|
|Sione Teuhema||Keller (Texas)||***||Texas|
|A 3-4 defensive end last season, Teuhema will have a chance to show off his edge speed and coverage ability as a rush linebacker this fall, which could help him earn his fourth star.|
|Jake McMillon||Abilene (Texas)||****||Texas|
|A possible swing player in college, McMillon makes up for his lack of high-level athleticism with a motor that runs hot.|
|The Bears are hoping their two linebackers on this list can help elevated their defense.|
|Otaro Alaka||Houston (Texas) Cypress Falls||****||Texas|
|A rangy 'backer who is a perfect fit in the Big 12 because of his instincts in coverage and willingness to get physical close to the line of scrimmage.|
|Gyasi Akem||Broken Arrow (Okla.)||****||Oklahoma State|
|The physical tackler with sideline-to-sideline range will join his high school teammate Thomas in Stillwater.|
|T'Kevian Rockwell||Wylie (Texas)||****||Baylor|
|At 6'0 and 202 pounds, Rockwell is undersized for a linebacker, but could play a hybrid nickel position like current Baylor star Ahmad Dixon. Rockwell hits like a linebacker and moves like a safety.|
|Jimmie Swaim||Olathe (Kansas) North||***||TCU|
|An excellent athlete, Swaim has an impressive combination of range, short-area quickness, and functional playing strength.|
|Against the spread teams in the Big 12, having versatile defensive backs is a requirement.|
|Davion Hall||Texarkana (Texas) Liberty-Eylau||****||Baylor|
|A near five-star prospect, Hall could play wide receiver at Baylor, but his greatest upside probably lies at safety. His girlfriend is set to play basketball in Waco, but he's also seriously considering Alabama, so the Bears will have to fight to hold on to their highest-rated recruit.|
|John Bonney||Houston (Texas) Lamar||****||Texas|
|A versatile prospect who plays cornerback and safety for Lamar, Bonney has strong ball skills and instincts, though his lack of speed will probably force him to play safety in college.|
|Jermaine Roberts||New Orleans (La.) St. Augustine||***||Texas|
|At 5'9, Roberts doesn't have ideal size, but his other skills are worthy of a five-star prospect, especially his speed and playmaking ability. As a junior, he found the endzone at least five times despite the fact he doesn't play at all on offense for St. Augustine.|
|Chris Hardeman||Houston (Texas) Alief Taylor||****||Oklahoma State|
|The former LSU pledge will join his high school teammate Keenen Brown in Stillwater. Undersized at 5'8, Hardeman is physical and looks like a strong candidate to play nickel back in college.|
|Jaylon Myers||Hutchinson (Kansas) Community College||***||West Virginia|
|Another tall cornerback (6'1), Myers doesn't do anything exceptionally well, but he is good in virtually every facet.|
The Big 12 has long been a conference dominated in recruiting by Texas and Oklahoma, but how do those two schools fare in the 2014 recruiting class in terms of representatives on this list?
Despite the late start in the 2014 class, the Longhorns are still dominating the Big 12 recruiting landscape, which is noticeably short on star power at this time (only one five-star prospect committed in the conference). The Bears are surging in their attempt to recruit with Texas and Oklahoma, while the Sooners are now battling schools like Baylor and Oklahoma State for prospects as they lose their foothold in Texas.
Is that a good thing? Will that trend continue? Can Texas Tech land the splash prospect to define their solid but unspectacular class, even as their class is nearly full? Let us know in the comments section, and stay tuned, as this team will be updated monthly until National Signing Day 2014.