Oklahoma’s roster rises to the top of the Big 12 after signing Bob Stoops’ best recruiting class in years
Since the University of Oklahoma hired Bob Stoops as head football coach in 1999, the Sooners have ruled the Big 12 on the field. However, their rivals south of the Red River have dominated February. Year in and year out, Texas fielded the most talented roster in the Big 12, thanks to the Longhorns’ annual recruiting bonanzas.
That changed in 2017. OU’s class finished eighth nationally, according to the 247Sports Team Composite rankings. Combined with Texas’ slide from 11th overall in 2016 to No. 26 this year, the Sooners vaulted to the top of the conference.
Below are the national recruiting ranking averages for Big 12 schools over the last five classes according to 247Sports Team Composite rankings and each team's record over the last five seasons. Obviously, this doesn't take into account attrition but, over time, this should be considered relatively even across the conference.
Ranking the Big 12's College Football's Rosters in 2017:
Not-So-Big Talent in the Big 12
A constellation of factors have contributed to the ongoing talent drain in the Big 12, and it showed little evidence of abating in 2017. The top of the conference continues to lag behind the other Power Five leagues. Once you get past the upper crust, though, the middle and bottom tiers actually compare favorably with the ACC, Big Ten and Pac-12. (The SEC remains in its own stratosphere, of course.)
The reviews weren’t pretty for new Texas head coach Tom Herman’s first class in Austin. Circumstances suggest, however, that we’re talking about a bridge year for the ‘Horns. It’s not as though Charlie Strong left the new regime with a bare cupboard, either.
New Rhule at Baylor
In light of everything that has come to light at Baylor in the last 18 months, Matt Rhule did a solid job by just assembling a functional recruiting class on the shortest of notices. Even so, the direction of the Bears’ signing classes did a clear U-turn this year. Baylor finished 39th nationally in the 247 Composite in ‘17, down precipitously from 17th a year ago. Putting an end to this decline will require a gargantuan effort from Rhule and his staff out on the trail.
Trouble Brewing in Morgantown and Lubbock?
Lackluster classes for West Virginia and Texas Tech will do little to quell talk of hot seats beneath Kliff Kingsbury and Dana Holgorsen. WVU’s recruiting, in particular, seemed to nosedive this year. The Mountaineers fell from No. 39 in ‘16 to 57th overall.
Realignment Winner: TCU
As shown by TCU’s No. 31 ranking, the Horned Frogs might be the biggest winners from the conference realignment shake-ups of the last decade. Gary Patterson and his assistants now have a Power Five program to sell that is smack dab in the middle of a legitimate hotbed of high school stars.
— Written by Allen Kenney, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. Kenney is founder and editor of BlatantHomerism.com and host of the Blatant Homerism Podcast. Follow him on Twitter @BlatantHomerism.