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October 5, 2005

Recruiting rivals

Two huge rivalry games highlight the Big 12 game slate and are a key battleground in the Midlands region recruiting wars.

This year's Red River rivalry game between Texas and Oklahoma is always a highly publicized game for good reason. With OU struggling and the Longhorns seemingly better than any team not named Southern California, most people are not expecting a tight game. And just like on the field, it appears that the Sooners and Longhorns are not butting heads in recruiting as much either.

UT loaded up on commitments early and currently has 24. If there hasn't been a big Sooner-Longhorn battle yet, there probably won't be one. History has always shown several top Lone Star prospects are almost always highly sought after by the two conference powers, but this year appears very, very different.

One of the biggest battles was with Arlington (Texas) Martin wide receiver Josh Marshall. After taking a trip to Norman, it was a last minute Texas offer and visit that eventually swayed the Lone Star State native to Austin.

Other Texas commits such as South Garland's receiver Phillip Payne, North Mesquite offensive tackle J'Marcus Webb, and five-stars Eddie Jones and Sergio Kindle held Oklahoma offers, but committed to Texas very early in the process before any real battles formed.

Is this a future trend?

In the Big 12 North, state rivals Kansas and Kansas State prepare to do serious battle for not only bragging rights, but the upper hand in recruiting. If KU were to beat the Wildcats for the second straight year, there could be a serious shift in control over major recruiting territories.

Thus far, the Jayhawks have landing three of the top four players in the state.

The Wildcats, however, have won some head-to-head battles with KU. Over offers from Kansas, K-State landed three prospects included Dallas (Texas) W.T. White athlete Leon Patton, Harrisonville (Mo.) defensive tackle Zach Kendall, and Kilgore, Texas rising defensive end prospect Wayne Daniels. Daniels could be one of the most underrated prospects in Texas this year and is a major grab for Bill Snyder and company.

Will this year's game push things in the Jayhawks direction?

Texas Tech hauls in huge visitor weekend

When you get the top rated prospect in the state of Missouri and a boatload of top Texas talent in for a game, things can look pretty good on the recruiting front.

That's what happened in Lubbock this past weekend. It all started with four-star rated Webster Groves (Mo.) defensive end Adrian Clayborn. He went into the visit with Nebraska as his clear leader, but things have changed after checking the Red Raiders out.

"I don't know, I came away from that visit and it now makes my decision a lot harder because I liked Tech a lot," Clayborn said. "I think I'm going to Michigan State on Oct. 29. I think I'll take the other two after the season, to Mizzou and Illinois."

Other top visitors such as Rajon Henely and Dwayne Bazile watched the game. Texas commit Deon Beasley also was a guest.

Beasley told Orangebloods.com after his trip to Lubbock that he is still committed to the Longhorns.

"I'll probably not take visits, but I'm human," Beasley said. "The main reason I went to Tech is because I was just trying to get away. I haven't been going to school because of Hurricane Rita. I've just been sitting around the house.

"I know where I'm going to school and that's Texas."

Longhorns making other running back plans?

With the constant rumors flying about Texas running back commit Emmanuel Moody and his wavering pledge, it appears that UT is not taking any chances and is looking around as well.

The newest name on the list is Mesquite Horn running back Mon Williams, who was receiving early interest from UT, but insiders say that though he dropped them in the beginning, he likes the fact that the in-state powerhouse is now looking at him as running back rather than as a linebacker.

Williams will be taking in the Texas-OU game this weekend.

Other Texas commits that could be looking around include North Shore cornerback Chykie Brown who is still planning on checking out Miami, USC, Florida, LSU, Colorado and Missouri. Running back Vondrell McGee has suffocated any rumors of his wavering commitment and says he is solid to UT.

Nebraska hosts JUCO pair for Tech game

One of the top junior college players in California will be in Lincoln to watch Nebraska take on Texas Tech this weekend in Fresno (Calif.) City College star cornerback Andre Jones.

Holding offers from not only NU but USC, Arkansas, Oregon, Oregon State, Utah, Washington, and Washington State, he has since had the Big 12 team in the lead. Insiders say that if the trip goes well, it could "one and done" for the highly touted JUCO prospect.

"I love Nebraska right now, you know," Jones said. "I have been keeping in contact with coach John Blake there. I call him just about every week to check up on things. I feel like I have known him for years."

His teammates at Fresno, Steve Allen is also ready to make his splash on the Division I level. Allen will be visiting Lincoln along with Jones this weekend making people wonder if there is could be a package deal for NU this weekend. Allen is originally from Florida and signed with Iowa State out of high school.

Fox maintains favorites after A&M trip

He's always appeared close to committing, but then again North Crowley (Texas) High school tight end/offensive tackle Jason Fox continues to maintain that he will wait on his decision.

Fox has A&M and Miami at the top. The Aggies certainly helped their cause when he took his third unofficial trip to College Station this past weekend and seemed to really like what he saw.

"I told them I really loved it down there," Fox said. "I really love A&M but I still love both schools (Miami and Texas A&M). Either school would be a great one."

One positive is that as for now, he has not other visits planned. Is this a sign that Fox is close to deciding or just a delay in scheduling until his season finishes?

More Recruiting Blitzes:
Big Ten: Irish keep rolling
SEC: Tide high for talent
Pac-10: One at a time for SC


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