Okay, it’s hard to prove the premise of the article precisely correct considering recruiting information wasn’t readily available (and archived) when the league founded in the mid 1990’s. But, still, it’s hard to imagine the Big 12 having a worse Signing Day than this. Or any major conference, for that matter.
The conference signed only four of the nation’s top 100 players as ranked by the 247Sports Composite rankings — No. 76-ranked guard Jack Anderson (Texas Tech), No. 79-ranked defensive back Justin Broiles (Oklahoma), No. 91-ranked wide receiver Jalen Reagor (TCU) and No. 97-ranked defensive back Robert Barnes (Oklahoma).
By comparison, Alabama signed five of the nation’s top 26 players and Ohio State inked five of the top 24.
The bloodletting started in Texas, the “home” recruiting area to over half the league and the main talent base for the conference. Anderson was the only Texan among 247‘s top dozen players, and only six of the state’s top 20 players elected to stay in the Big 12.
On the team front, Oklahoma pulled its weight, ranking No. 8 in the national ranking. But the next Big 12 team was Texas, all the way down at No. 26. TCU followed at No. 30, with Oklahoma State at No. 38 and Baylor at No. 39.
There are a number of factors for this, of course. Texas has been down for seven years running and just endured a coaching change. Baylor had a bomb go off in its football facility, essentially. But TCU and Oklahoma State are recruiting about as well as one could expect given their respective limitations, and that’s become a theme for this conference in the post-realignment area. The Big 12 is limited not only in total number, but in the number of marquee programs.
It’s also limited in the areas in which it can reliably pull players from. The Lone Star State is open for business now to suitors far and wide, obviously. Oklahoma, Kansas, Iowa and West Virginia offer next to nothing in terms of recruiting. Beyond that, Big 12 teams have to convince California players to leave the coast or kids from the Deep South to bypass the SEC.
That process isn’t going well, obviously, at least among the top-rated players. And until that changes, the chicken-egg scenario of the only conference to miss the College Football Playoff two times in three years will also be the only conference to place one team in the recruiting top 25.