TCU

Top Big 12 recruiting classes seem to falter more often than not

Bryce Hager was a second-team all-Big 12 selection from 2012-14 but was part of a Baylor recruiting class in 2010 that was only ranked 39th nationally.
Bryce Hager was a second-team all-Big 12 selection from 2012-14 but was part of a Baylor recruiting class in 2010 that was only ranked 39th nationally. AP

The premature celebrations will reach critical mass next week when recruiting analysts offer knee-jerk opinions about which major college football programs “won” or “lost” on National Signing Day.

Grades will be assigned Wednesday to groups of incoming teenagers at schools. But the real issue in determining the success of a recruiting class rests in the development of those players during the five-year window set aside for most college careers.

For a fifth consecutive year, the Star-Telegram has revisited recruiting classes from five years ago at former Big 12 South Division schools and revised the pecking order to reflect the actual production from those groups.

And for a fifth consecutive year, the team thought to have the best class when recruits were judged in 2010 (Texas) slid toward the back of the six-school pack on our analysis based on performance. (TCU was not included because it was not a member of the Big 12 in 2010).

Texas’ 2010 class, ranked third nationally by Rivals.com on National Signing Day, finished fourth among the six local schools in terms of production points.

Texas A&M landed the most productive class, thanks to the NFL-bound offensive tackle tandem of Luke Joeckel and Jake Matthews. The Aggies’ class, ranked third among South Division teams in 2010, fared better than Oklahoma State, Oklahoma, Texas, Baylor and Texas Tech.

In the five-year history of the study, it is A&M’s only triumph. The Aggies join a list of single-season winners that includes Baylor (2009), Oklahoma State (2008) and Oklahoma (2006, 2007). Texas, the school rated with the best class by analysts in four of the five years of the survey, has yet to emerge with the most productive group when players’ performances was re-examined five years later.

On the flip side, Baylor has won or shared the past two Big 12 football titles despite classes pegged as sixth best among the six-team field on signing day in all five seasons. Baylor’s 2009 group, led by quarterback Bryce Petty and offensive guard Cyril Richardson, is the only class to go from worst-to-first over a five-year cycle when signing-day expectations were weighed against careers.

The biggest disappointments? Classes from Texas (2009) and Oklahoma (2008), judged the best of the bunch on signing day by recruiting analysts, were among the worst five years later when measured against peers.

Bottom line: Feel free to celebrate any signing-day “victory” your team may be awarded Wednesday by recruiting analysts. But realize those grades come with no guarantees. After examining five years worth of data involving local teams, it’s pretty clear that down-is-up, more often than not, when making knee-jerk assessments on National Signing Day.

Jimmy Burch, 817-390-7760

Twitter: @Jimmy_Burch

Regrading the class of 2010

Then

1. Texas

2. OU

3. A&M

4. OSU

5. Tech

6. Baylor

Now

1. A&M

2. OSU

3. OU

4. Texas

5. Baylor

6. Tech

Texas A&M

2010 class ranking: 3rd in Big 12 South by S-T; 17th nationally by Rivals.

Average Rivals star ranking per signee: 3.29. Five-star signees: None

Top players

Accomplishments

Luke Joeckel, OT

2012 Outland Trophy; 2011 all-Big 12 (second team)

Jake Matthews, OT

2013 consensus all-American; 2012 all-SEC (first team)

Damontre Moore, DE

2012 consensus all-American

Cedric Ogbuehi, OT

2014 all-SEC (second team)

Other notable class members: WR Malcolme Kennedy, RB Ben Malena, QB Jameill Showers, DT Ivan Robinson, DB Toney Hurd, Jr.

Oklahoma State

2010 class ranking: 4th in Big 12 South by S-T; 31st nationally by Rivals.

Average Rivals star ranking per signee: 3.19. Five-star signees: None.

Top players

Accomplishments

Joseph Randle, RB

2011-12 all-Big 12 (first team)

Justin Gilbert, DB/KR

2013 all-Big 12 (first team), 2011 all-Big 12 (second team)

Shaun Lewis, LB

2012-13 all-Big 12 (second team)

Caleb Lavey, LB

2013 all-Big 12 (first team)

Other notable class members: DB Devin Hedgepeth, DT Diamonte Wheeler, WR Montra Nelson, WR Chris Dinkins, DE Joe Okafor

Oklahoma

2010 class ranking: 2nd in Big 12 South by S-T; 7th nationally by Rivals.

Average Rivals star ranking per signee: 3.55. Five-star signees: None.

Top players

Accomplishments

Aaron Colvin, DB

2012-13 all-Big 12 (first team)

Tony Jefferson, DB

2012 all-Big 12 (first team)

Daryl Williams, OL

2014 all-Big 12 (first team)

Tyrus Thompson, OL

2014 all-Big 12 (second team)

Trey Millard, TE/H

2012 all-Big 12 (second team)

Other notable class members: QB/TE Blake Bell, RB Brennan Clay, DL Geneo Grissom, LB Rashod Favors, LB Corey Nelson

Texas

2010 class ranking: 1st in Big 12 South by S-T; 3rd nationally by Rivals

Average Rivals star ranking per signee: 3.92. Five-star signees: Jordan Hicks, Jackson Jeffcoat

Top player

Accomplishments

Jackson Jeffcoat, DE

2013 Big 12 defensive player of year; 2011 all-Big 12 (second team)

Trey Hopkins, OL

2013 all-Big 12 (first team)

Mike Davis, WR

2013 all-Big 12 (second team)

John Harris, WR

2014 all-Big 12 (second team)

Jordan Hicks, LB

2014 all-Big 12 (second team)

Other notable class members: CB Carrington Byndom, QB Case McCoy, RB Traylon Shead, WR Darius White, DL Reggie Wilson

Baylor

2010 class ranking: 6th in Big 12 South by S-T; 39th nationally by Rivals.

Average Rivals star ranking per signee: 3.09. Five-star signees: None.

Top player

Accomplishments

Bryce Hager, LB

2012-14 all-Big 12 (second team)

Antwan Goodley, WR

2013 all-Big 12 (first team)

Ahmad Dixon, S

2013 all-Big 12 (second team)

Other notable class members: OT Troy Baker, DB Sam Holl, OL “Big” Robert Griffin, DE Kendrick Dial, DT Dominique Jones

Texas Tech

2010 class ranking: 5th in Big 12 South by S-T; 41st nationally by Rivals.

Average Rivals star ranking per signee: 3.00. Five-star signees: None.

Top player

Accomplishments

Dartwan Bush, DE

2012 all-Big 12 (second team)

Other notable class members: QB Scotty Young, DE Jackson Richards, WR Shawn Corker, DE Scott Smith, LB Zach Winbush

TCU’s class topped expectations

Because TCU was not a member of the Big 12 when players from the 2010 recruiting class signed national letters of intent, the Horned Frogs’ haul was not compared against league peers at that time in a top-to-bottom analysis of Big 12 schools’ signing classes. But several members of that class wound up playing notable roles on the TCU team that shared the 2014 Big 12 title and finished No. 3 in the postseason college football polls with a 12-1 record. The Horned Frogs’ 2010 class was ranked No. 46 by Rivals, placing it behind all six classes signed by former Big 12 South Division schools that season.

2010 class ranking: 46th nationally by Rivals.

Average Rivals star ranking per signee: 3.11. Five-star signees: None.

Top player

Accomplishments

Sam Carter, DB

2012-13 all-Big 12 (second team), 2014 all-Big 12 (first team).

Other notable class members: LB Marcus Mallet, DB Elisha Olabode, CB Kevin White, RB Ethan Grant, TB/WR Curtis Carter

How the classes were rated

Players received points for their highest post-season accolade. The scale:

1: Leaving early for NFL (without all-conference accolades) and remains on an active NFL roster or second-team recognition on all-conference team. 2: First-team recognition on all-conference team. 3: Conference player of the year. 4: Consensus all-American. 5: National award. 8: Heisman Trophy winner.

5-year point totals

The Star-Telegram has used its production points system to grade recruiting classes the past five seasons.

School

Combined points

Oklahoma

79

Oklahoma State

67

Baylor

42

Texas

34

Texas A&M

33

Texas Tech

31

Falling short

In all five years of this survey, the school with the highest-rated recruiting class on National Signing Day failed to meet expectations.

Year

Top-ranked class

Top-producing group (Signing Day rank)

2010

Texas

Texas A&M (3)

2009

Texas

Baylor (6)

2008

Oklahoma

Oklahoma State (4)

2007

Texas

Oklahoma (2)

2006

Texas

Oklahoma (2)

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