California running back Joe Mixon headlines this year's top recruiting class in the Big 12. (Photo courtesy: USA Today Sports)
The story in the Big 12 on national signing day wasn't much different than the year before (and the year before that).
Oklahoma and Texas, aka death and taxes, set the pace once again. Baylor and Oklahoma State landed in the league's second tier. Bill Snyder signed a bunch of role players who could probably give the Cleveland Browns a run for their money. Paul Rhoads got all fired up.
On the whole, the league somehow managed to hold steady as its neighbors to the south and east sucked up top talent. According to Dave Bartoo of CFBMatrix.com, the Big 12's 2014 average class ranking of 35 was in line with its three-, five- and 10-year averages. Similarly, per the 247 Sports Composite 2014 Football Recruiting Team Rankings, the league's average class ranked 36.4, essentially the same as 2013 (37.3).
*If anything stood out about the 2014 recruiting cycle in the Big 12, it was the finish the Sooners put together down the stretch. In the middle of the season, OU's class was languishing somewhere in the 30s of the various team recruiting rankings. In the weeks between the end of the season and signing day, Bob Stoops and his staff locked up the best all-purpose running back in the country, a slot receiver who will see the field immediately, an elite safety and a potential cornerstone at offensive tackle – among a slew of others.
*Things didn't exactly get off to a rousing start for Charlie Strong. The Longhorns lost a number of recruits who had committed to the program when Mack Brown was still running the show. That included stud linebacker Otaro Alaka, who flipped to Texas A&M in the final weeks of the cycle. UT did get a minor victory on signing day in the form of a pledge from defensive lineman Poona "Big Poon" Ford, who had committed to Strong at Louisville. All in all, the 'Horns probably made out alright.
*Would it shock you to hear that Baylor signed a monster group of receivers? That unit includes the aptly named K.D. Cannon, an explosive pass catcher who's the odds-on favorite to make the biggest impact of any freshman on the offensive side of the ball in the conference.
*Charlie Weis continues to win friends and influence people. The coach who last summer described his team as a piece of crap reeled in a class that ranked 55th nationally, next to last in the league. Oh, and his staff didn't exactly get any rave reviews from some of the high-school coaches they encountered on the recruiting trail.