The first day of the 2018 Early Signing Period for the 2019 football recruiting cycle has largely concluded. So now, 247Sports presents a conference-by-conference breakdown of superlatives to conclude Wednesday’s action.
Unless noted otherwise, all player rankings listed are from the industry-generated 247Sports Composite. That includes the 247Sports Composite team recruiting rankings.
Here’s a look at the Big 12 Conference superlatives (click here for the Big 12 team recruiting rankings):
BEST CLASS … After the first day of the 2018 Early Signing Period, the Oklahoma Sooners own the top recruiting class for the 2019 cycle in the Big 12 Conference. Oklahoma ranks No. 8 nationally in the industry-generated 247Sports Composite team recruiting rankings. That puts the Sooners one spot ahead of the rival Texas Longhorns.
OU assembled a strong effort recruiting the Lone Star State, resulting in eight signees, including three of the Sooners’ top four signees and four of their top six. Allen (Texas) High School receiver Theo Wease, a 247Sports Composite five-star, tops the Sooners’ list of signees. Five-star quarterback Spencer Rattler from Pinnacle High School in Phoenix is right at the top of the class along with Wease. Four-star tight end Austin Stogner and four-star receiver Trejan Bridges join Wease as the three Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex standouts in the top four of OU’s 2019 class. Oklahoma signed all 19 of the players who were committed to the Sooners entering the Early Signing Period.
SLEEPER CLASS … Baylor is ranked No. 4 in the Big 12 Conference and No. 36 nationally in the 247Sports Composite team recruiting rankings. The Bears made one of the biggest splashes in the conference Wednesday morning as they signed Odessa (Texas) Permian four-star athlete Peyton Powell, a former Texas pledge who had been reportedly leaning toward TCU entering Wednesday’s decision. Powell could get a shot at quarterback, but could also wind up at receiver or safety given his frame and athleticism. Baylor also signed longtime four-star quarterback pledge Jacob Zeno, as expected, to give the Bears two headliners at the top of the class.
Baylor has been stockpiling athleticism and position versatility, particularly on the defensive side of the ball. That theme continued Wednesday as the Bears signed prospects such as outside linebacker Tyrone Brown, edge defender Matt Jones, athlete Brandon White, defensive lineman Harrison White, outside linebacker Will Williams, safety Solomon Turner, and athlete Jonah White.
Oklahoma State is another intriguing class when considering the work the Cowboys did to bolster their numbers and depth on both lines. Oklahoma State signed 20 prospects Wednesday; 10 of those were linemen. The Cowboys inked six on the defensive side of the line of scrimmage and four on offense. End Trace Ford and tackle Jayden Jernigan are potential impact players on defense. And that total of 10 linemen does not even include four-star tight end Grayson Boomer.
BIG RECRUITING WIN … Oklahoma landed a Wednesday morning commitment from Santa Ana (Calif.) Mater Dei four-star safety Jeremiah Criddell, who chose the Sooners over Oregon. That commitment pushed OU one spot ahead of Texas for the top position in the Big 12 team recruiting rankings at one point, according to the 247Sports Composite. Criddell and four-star Texas defensive end Marcus Stripling’s Wednesday afternoon decision for the Sooners made Oklahoma 21-for-21 on signing its commitments.
TOP COMMITS WHO DIDN’T SIGN … Texas four-star offensive tackle commit Javonne Shepherd (247Sports Composite No. 30 OT); TCU four-star athlete commit Tamauzia Brown (No. 20 ATH), TCU three-star running back commit Darwin Barlow (No. 29 RB), Baylor three-star receiver commit Yusuf Terry (No. 91 WR), Texas Tech three-star athlete commit Velton Gardner (No. 50 athlete).
TOP INCOMING RECRUIT … As mentioned above, Allen (Texas) High School receiver standout Theo Wease is a five-star prospect and the highest-ranked incoming Big 12 Conference prospect at No. 21 nationally through Wednesday’s signings. The 6-foot-3, 202-pound Wease helped Allen to the Texas Class 6A Division I state championship as a junior before helping the Eagles to a 6A D-I state semifinal appearance this fall. Wease finished his senior season with 72 catches for 1,042 yards and 16 touchdowns on 14.4 yards per reception. In three varsity seasons for national power Allen, Wease caught 164 balls for 2,342 yards and 38 scores on 14.3 yards per catch.
SLEEPER RECRUIT … San Antonio Reagan three-star tight end and Kansas State signee Konner Fox is a very intriguing pickup for the Wildcats. Fox owns an outstanding frame at 6-foot-5, 225 pounds and has played a ton of snaps outside as a true receiver. His frame suggests he will be able to add the bulk and strength to play in-line tight if asked. But he will arrive with the tools necessary to play a hybrid flex role and eventually provide red-zone weaponry for K-State. Surprisingly, K-State, Duke, and Purdue are Fox’ only Power Five offers. He is a top 140 prospect in Texas, per the 247Sports Composite, but is a top 100 prospect ranked No. 93 overall in the Lone Star State, per 247Sports.
ARMS RACE – A look at the incoming quarterbacks in the Big 12
Baylor: Jacob Zeno, San Antonio Jay — No. 13 pro-style QB
Iowa State: Easton Dean, Altamont (Kan.) Labette County — No. 17 dual-threat QB
Kansas: Thomas MacVittie, Mesa (Ariz.) Community College — No. 3 JUCO pro-style QB
Kansas State: Chris Herron, Houston Langham Creek — No. 29 athlete
Oklahoma: Spencer Rattler, Phoenix Pinnacle — No. 1 pro-style QB
Oklahoma State: Brendan Costello, San Clemente (Calif.) — No. 16 dual-threat QB
TCU: Max Duggan, Council Bluffs (Iowa) Lewis Central — No. 10 dual-threat QB
Texas: Roschon Johnson, Port Neches-Groves (Texas) — No. 4 dual-threat QB
Texas Tech: Maverick McIvor, San Angelo (Texas) Central — No. 18 dual-threat QB
West Virginia: None
NOTABLE STORYLINES … Texas signed 21 recruits Wednesday. Surprisingly, 11 of those were out-of-state recruits. Coach Tom Herman and his staff have emphasized recruiting nationally, and Wednesday’s results are a direct reflection of that approach. Texas pulled several big-time prospects — including four-star linebacker De’Gabriel Floyd, four-star receiver Jake Smith, four-star tight end Brayden Liebrock, and four-star safety Chris Adimora — out of Pac-12 territory, while snagging four-star cornerback Kenyatta Watson II and three more recruits from within the SEC footprint. Oklahoma owns the top-ranked class in the Big 12, but it’s worth noting that the Sooners’ lead over Texas is slim on the 247Sports Composite team recruiting rankings.
One major Big 12 target that remains on the board after the first day of the Early Signing Period is Fort Bend (Texas) Dulles four-star offensive tackle Isaiah Hookfin. His recruitment down the stretch has been a Baylor vs. Texas battle, with each side seemingly riding momentum at different times this week and even in the past 24 hours. Hookfin announced via Twitter on Wednesday afternoon that he is postponing his decision for now.
The out-of-state trend in Texas is not only reserved for the Longhorns. TCU signed 20 prospects Wednesday and nine of them were from outside the Lone Star State (10 if you include Millard Bradford, though he is a prep school prospect who is originally from Texas). Baylor is another school that has gone outside state borders more under Matt Rhule. The Bears were virtually exclusive to recruiting Texas during the Art Briles era. Baylor signed five out-of-state recruits Wednesday and has two more out-of-state pledges — Philadelphia Imhotep Institue three-star receiver Yusuf Terry and Fort Lauderdale (Fla.) Piper three-star safety Cecil Powell — who have yet to sign. TCU and Baylor are well-known for recruiting in-state as much as just about any schools in the nation, so Wednesday’s developments are interesting to consider moving forward.
TCU made headlines when it landed commitments earlier in the cycle from three talented small-town teammates in four-star athlete Tamauzia Brown, three-star running back Darwin Barlow, and three-star athlete Josh Foster. However, the only one to sign Wednesday was Foster. Barlow may take more visits before February. Brown is even more of a question mark. He tweeted earlier in the week indicating that his high school career is over, despite Newton (Texas) playing for its second consecutive Class 3A Division II state championship at 3 p.m. Thursday. There has been a lot of uncertainty around Brown this fall and this is the latest indication to fall under that category. Nevertheless, TCU has the No. 3 class in the Big 12 and the No. 30 class nationally, according to the 247Sports Composite team recruiting rankings.