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Tag:Kevin McReynolds
Posted on: June 24, 2011 1:16 pm
Edited on: June 24, 2011 3:33 pm
 

On the hot seat: How some coaches are recruiting

Posted by Bryan Fischer

CBSSports.com Senior Writer Dennis Dodd rolled out his annual Hot Seat Ratings, giving every FBS head coach a grade from 0 (can't be touched) to 5 (it's time to win now). Only one head coach is burning up on the seat with the maximum rating of 5 but there are plenty of others who begin the season feeling some heat. Being on the list puts a lot of the coaches in a tough position on the recruiting trail as they look to turn things around while battling the perception that they won't be there when the recruit steps on campus. Taking a look at several of the coaches on the list, here's how they're doing on the recruiting trail:

Dennis Erickson, Arizona State
Hot Seat Rating: 3.5
2012 Commitments:12
Top Recruit: Wide receiver Kenny Lawler

Erickson is in an interesting position. With a team featuring plenty of upperclassmen and what is expected to be a very good defense, the Sun Devils are likely the favorites for the first Pac-12 South title. Erickson has only had one really good season in Tempe and never has been able to break through and grab elite talent on the recruiting trail. He put together a class last year that mostly addressed needs and was solid but not spectacular. The 2012 class could be one of the better ones Arizona State has pulled in recently, getting off to a good start and leading the Pac-12 with 12 commitments. This is an offense-heavy class with plenty of skill players and he recently added quarterback T.J. Millweard, who was committed to Virginia Tech.

Mark Richt, Georgia
Hot Seat Rating: 3.5
2012 Commitments:10
Top Recruit: Defensive tackle Jonathan Taylor

Richt responded to critics and managed to put together what might have been his best recruiting class ever last year. It was a strong year for talent in Georgia and the Bulldogs took advantage, grabbing a "Dream Team" of recruits. The prize was running back Isaiah Crowell, who many think can come in and make an instant impact on offense after the in-state team fought off powers like Alabama and Florida State for his services. The 2012 class hasn't seemed to build off the momentum however, as Georgia has already lost out on some in-state commitments and are behind in others. There's plenty of time for the tide to turn, however, and as Richt proved last year, he can close down the stretch.

Ron Zook, Illinois
Hot Seat Rating: 4.0
2012 Commitments: 4
Top Recruit: Defensive back TaJarvis Fuller

Zook is known as a good recruiter and he put together a diverse class last year. It's not a great year for talent in the Midwest and Zook is using the southern ties he had while at Florida to make Illinois active in the South, especially in Georgia. He made a nice pickup with Fuller and with a bit of instability in the Big Ten, could nab a prospect or two that might have gone elsewhere. Zook will ultimately have to win to keep Illinois in the minds of the rising seniors but he's on pace to pull in another solid class this year.

Mike Locksley, New Mexico
Hot Seat Rating: 4.5
2012 Commitments: 0

New Mexico is New Mexico so it will always be tough to get recruits to come, especially in the midst of a 2-22 run under Locksley. But credit to the head coach and his staff, they were able to reach into California, Florida and Maryland among other places to get some talent. Known as a superb recruiter in the Maryland/Washington D.C. area, the fact that Locksley got five-star tackle Cyrus Kouandjio to make a visit to the school and keep the Lobos in his final five was quite the accomplishment. The school doesn't have any commitments in 2012 and it will be interesting to see how many wait to see if the hot seat gets too hot for Locksley to stay on it.

Luke Fickell, Ohio State
Hot Seat Rating: 3.5
2012 Commitments: 8
Top Recruit: Running back Warren Ball

Fickell had his fingerprints all over Ohio State's last recruiting class as co-defensive coordinator and was the lead recruiter for one of the Buckeyes' key linebacker commitments, Ryan Shazier from Florida. He is dropped into a very difficult situation however, first following a beloved and successful head coach in Jim Tressel and second, dealing with the looming threat of NCAA sanctions. While he managed to keep the prize of the 2012 class, top 100 offensive lineman Kyle Kalis, in the the fold for awhile, he ended up decommitting and now the Buckeyes are seeing the state of Ohio raided by other Big Ten programs like Michigan, Nebraska and Michigan State. Fickell is a tried and true Buckeye so he knows how to sell the school, the only question is if he'll be successful at it and that remains to be seen.

Rick Neuheisel, UCLA
Hot Seat Rating: 4.0
2012 Commitments: 3
Top Recruit: Running back Steven Lakalaka

Just about everybody thought UCLA was on the right track when Neuheisel managed to pull in two top 20 classes in 2008 and 2009. Since then however, things have reversed course on the field and off. Last year's class did manage to get two big talents from out-of-state in defenisve tackle Kevin McReynolds and top 100 quarterback Brett Hundley but it was by no means a deep and talented class. While it was going to be small due to scholarship numbers, Neuheisel just didn't seem to be able to close with some players and the Bruins are barely on the map in California this year, taking a back seat to Arizona State, Washington, Oregon and their crosstown rival USC. It's getting close to a make or break year for UCLA and Neuheisel and he can only hope that Hundley is as advertised and can make a difference in the win column this season.

Paul Wulff, Washington State
Hot Seat Rating: 5.0
2012 Commitments:5
Top Recruit: Wide receiver Dalen Jones

It's not easy to recruit to the Palouse though Wulff has added some nice pieces over the years, but just can't seem to find enough of them. Wulff reached into Florida and California very well last year and even managed to grab highly regarded offensive lineman Alex Mitchell out of nearby Portland. That said, Wulff is on the hot seat (a very hot seat) and, because it's the hot seat at Washington State, that generally takes the school out of the running for any big time recruits. They've done well all things considered and have extended early scholarships to several California and Florida athletes in hopes of building up an early relationship. It will always be tough for Wulff to recruit and doing so while worried about job security is extra tough.
Posted on: February 20, 2011 11:13 am
 

Class comparison: USC vs. UCLA

Posted by Bryan Fischer

We're still digesting the class of 2011 and what better way to look at it than through the lens of two rivals. USC and UCLA have a bitter rivalry but it's been a bit one-sided on the recruiting trail for the last decade. Rick Neuheisel didn't have as many scholarships to hand out for the class of 2011 but in the end, that didn't matter that much.

USC vs. UCLA
Quarterback

Cody Kessler and Max Wittek vs. Brett Hundley. USC has always been able to pluck the best quarterback from Southern California and this year they grabbed not one, but two of them (and got them to enroll early to boot). That said, Hundley is an exciting quarterback and it would shock no one if the early enrollee was the starter coming out of fall camp. He should fit in the Pistol offense better than any other UCLA quarterback under Neuheisel.

Running Back
 

Javorius Allen and Amir Carlisle vs. Steven Manfro. Allen is a bigger back that should vie for playing time after a redshirt year as USC’s backfield thins out. Carlisle is a very versatile guy and is a steal (literally, from Stanford) in this class.

Wide Receiver
 

George Farmer, Victor Blackwell, Junior Pomee and Marqise Lee vs. Devin Lucien. Not only does USC beat UCLA four-to-one in terms of numbers, Lucien might not be as talented as any of the four wide outs the Trojans bring in. Farmer is the top wide out in the country and would have been enough to tilt this category in favor of USC alone.

Tight end

 

Raymond Nelson and Connor McDermott. USC didn’t sign a tight end in this class, though Pomee could add weight and slide inside. McDermott’s height might make him an offensive tackle at the next level but he’s very athletic. Nelson is a solid fit and could see early playing time.

Offensive Line
 

Jeremy Galten, David Garness, Cyrus Hobbi, Marcus Martin and Aundrey Walker vs. Jake Brendel, Will Oliver, Torian White and Ben Wysocki. Both teams were thin at the offensive line and they both addressed their needs. USC grabbed two of the top interior lineman in the country in Hobbi and Walker and also grabbed some junior college players to help with the numbers. Brendel could be a sleeper and White was one of the better lineman from Southern California.

Defensive Line
 

Charles Burks, Greg Townsend Jr., J.R. Tavai, DeVante Wilson, Christian Heyward, Cody Temple, Antwaun Woods and Steve Dillon vs. Sam Tai, Kevin McReynolds and Brandon Tuliaupupu. Townsend, Woods and Heyward are three players with all-league potential and there’s no telling with the rest of the group once Ed Orgeron gets his hands on them. McReynolds should see early playing time and also has the tools of an all-conference performer.

Linebacker
 

Lamar Dawson, Dallas Kelley, Tre Madden and Anthony Sarao vs. Ryan Hofmeister, Mike Orloff and Aaron Wallace Jr. UCLA picks up several players with high upside, especially the physically impressive Wallace. USC grabs players who will be expected to help out right away and talented out-of-staters Dawson and Sarao are two very good gets for linebackers coach Joe Barry.

Secondary

Ryan Henderson and Isiah Wiley. UCLA didn’t sign a single defensive back in 2012, which is hard to believe. Henderson is very nice prospect and Wiley should be able to get into the rotation right away.

Overall
 

Call it a knockout in favor of the Trojans, this one wasn’t even close. UCLA was limited in the number of scholarships they were able to give out but then again, USC was supposed to be too. In the end, the Trojans signed double the number of players, which is quite amazing and a credit to how good a recruiter Lane Kiffin is. Given the sanctions, one would have expected UCLA to take advantage with this class but it appears they took advantage of no one in the class of 2011.

Posted on: February 2, 2011 11:38 pm
 

Pac-12 Signing Day: Winners and Losers

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Taking stock of the day in the Pac-12:

WINNERS

USC
: Maybe you can't explain it, but you can't deny it, either: Lane Kiffin is a phenomenon on the recruiting trail. Whether it was pulling linebacker Lamar Dawson out of Kentucky, Ohio tackle Aundrey Walker (pictured) out of the clutches of Ohio State, or defensive lineman Christian Heyward from down the road in San Diego, the Trojans were every bit as everywhere on Signing Day as they were in their Pete Carroll heyday. Recruits like athlete Marqise Lee (likely the next USC stud safety) and Jan 28. guard commitment Cyrus Hobbi should be cornerstones for Kiffin for years to come ... not to mention longtime Trojan commitments like receiver George Farmer (the nation's No. 20 player) who signed on the dotted line as expected. Losing De'anthony Thomas to the current Pac-12 overlords in Eugene stings, no doubt, but it doesn't change the fact that no team in the country helped themselves more on Signing Day than Kiffin's. NCAA sanctions, schmenCAA schmanctions.

Oregon: The Ducks struck both early and late on Signing Day. They started at just after 8 a.m. EST by plucking Traverse City offensive lineman Jake Fisher out of northern Michigan, a player Chip Kelly would later say compares to any lineman in the country. Things got even better some 14 hours later when Thomas -- the nation's No. 15 player and a beyond-perfect fit for Kelly's light-speed offense and the open spaces it creates -- became the highest-profile Signing Day switch in the country. Inbetween those two highs the Ducks missed out on a handful of California prospects (like Heyward and Lee), but after signing what's likely the strongest class in school history and gleefully robbing Kiffin of his highest-ranked recruit, no one's going to complain.

Washington: As nice as the Duck haul was, before the Thomas news our Maxpreps team rankings still had the Huskies as the No. 2 class in the Pac-12 and the No. 15 class nationally. Steve Sarkisian didn't bring in any surprise last-minute signings -- in fact, their Signing Day might have been a net negative with tailback Kameron Jackson's flip to Cal balancing the addition of Ventura (Ca.) JUCO quarterback Antavius Sims -- but it was a day of celebration all the same after U-Dub dominated the state of Washington. Following last week's conversion of Washington State- committed tailback Bishop Sankey of Spokane, all five of the Seattle Times "Blue Chip" selections for the state wound up Huskies. They'll likely have to cast their net a little wider in the future, but locking down top-notch in-state talent like five-star tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins (Maxpreps' No. 27 player overall) is a excellent way to build on the momentum of the Huskies' Holiday Bowl win.

LOSERS

Utah:
We mentioned in our Pac-12 Signing Day preview that the Utes would likely need to sign both Moreno Valley (Calif.) teammates Ryan Anderson -- a defensive back and Ute commit -- and Junior Pomee, a coveted wide receiver, to make a splash in their new conference digs. Instead, Kiffin and USC stole away both players. The Utes still signed several nice players (most notably running back Harvey Langi), but on paper this isn't the sort of class that announces the Utes as a major West Coast player.

Arizona State: When you lose a blue-chip hometown prospect on Signing Day because he just so happened to see a license plate from the state representing your competition , it has officially been a bad day. At least the Sun Devils kept quarterback Michael Eubanks from deserting to Utah ... but then again, they couldn't do the same with Chino (Calif.) athlete Quinton Pedroza, who flipped to the Utes. With only 13 players, the Sun Devil class appears to have neither quantity nor a particularly high level of quality.

UCLA: Signing Day wasn't actually all that bad for the Bruins; landing Washington D.C. defensive tackle Kevin McReynolds was arguably the biggest pickup of Rick Neuheisel's entire class, and the Bruins avoided any high-profile decommitments from players like California lineman Torian White (who'd had a serious flirtation with USC) or top receiving recruit Devin Lucien. But the glaring contrast between the hole UCLA had already dug for themselves on the recruiting trail and Kiffin's smashing Signing Day successes meant that the Bruins were going to end up looking like L.A. losers no matter what they did Wednesday.

VIDEO

CBS College Sports' Aaron Taylor breaks down the state of Pac-12 recruiting:

Posted on: February 2, 2011 11:09 pm
 

Video: The Pac-12 Surprises On Signing Day

Posted by Bryan Fischer

CBS College Sports analyst Tom Lemming breaks down signing day results from the Pac-12.

  More Recruiting Coverage can be found here at CBSSports.com
Posted on: February 2, 2011 5:50 pm
Edited on: February 6, 2011 1:44 pm
 

SEC Signing Day: Winners and Losers

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Taking stock of the day in the SEC:

WINNERS:

Alabama:
No surprise that Nick Saban's crew put together yet another huge Signing Day, with the No. 1 spot in the Maxpreps team rankings wrapped up after adding No. 1 offensive tackle Cyrus Kouandjio to what had already been a massive haul. The Tide pulled in a perfect 3-4 defensive end in Jeoffrey Pagan (pictured) and flipped supremely athletic outside linebacker Brent Calloway back from Auburn (after he'd committed to the Tigers at the U.S. Army All-American game), two major missions accomplished. Top those off with the rest of the Tide's commitments -- including five-star teammates RB Dee Hart and S Hasean Clinton-Dix -- staying securely in the fold, and missing out on Isaiah Crowell (and likely No. 1 overall recruit Jadeveon Clowney ) barely even stings.

Video: Jeoffrey Pagan highlights

Georgia: Linebacker Kent Turene was an awfully nice pickup. But landing Crowell was a seismic development, the one member of the much-ballyhooed "Dream Team" the tailback-starved Bulldogs absolutely had to have. He alone was enough to push Mark Richt into the winner's column, but add in Turene and the successful fending off of challenges for commits like defensive back Corey Moore, and even missing out on Pagan won't be enough to wipe the smile off of the faces of Bulldog fans.

Video: Todd Grantham talks Signing Day  

Auburn: Losing Calloway to the hated Tide stung, and the euphoria of watching Kouandjio announce for the Tigers dissipated quickly as he elected not to sign his LOI on Signing Day, eventually joining Calloway and his older brother in Tuscaloosa. But Chizik got a ton of help for his occasionally-porous defense anyway, inking one of the nation's best safeties in Erique Florence and a rock-solid defensive tackle prospect in Crowell teammate Gabe Wright. The Tigers also wasted no time replacing cornerback decommitment Marcus Roberson with coveted Mississippi athlete Jermaine Whitehead, a Mississippi State commitment. Even without Kouandjio, the Tigers landed a top-10 class that proved their program-changing 2010 haul was no fluke. Still, Tiger fans have to wonder: if they weren't coming to Auburn, couldn't Calloway and Koundjio have gone somewhere other than Alabama?

Video: Gene Chizik talks Signing Day at CBS College Sports , Kiehl Frazier commits , Coaches react to Erique Florence decision

Ole Miss: Mississippi State coach Dan Mullen enjoys pointing out the raw numbers of his team's players and recruits come from the state they share with the Rebels, but it was Houston Nutt who ran away with nearly all of the state's top-ranked talent. Having already secured the signatures of former Bulldog commitment five-star linebacker C.J. Johnson and highly-regarded receiver Tobias Singleton, the Rebels added to their in-state haul by keeping top-100 wideout Nickolas Brassell out of the clutches of the Tide. The battle between Nutt and Mullen on the recruiting trail was more-or-less a draw in 2010, but there's little question who had the upper hand this season.

LSU: The day was unusually quiet by the usually madcap Bayou Bengals' Signing Day standards, but that happens when you have your state on virtual lockdown and that state provides enough talent for one of the nation's best classes all on its own. Simply making sure their commitments (most notably offensive tackle La'El Collins and defensive counterpart Anthony Johnson) made it across the dotted line would have guaranteed Les Miles a successful Signing Day. But keeping Shreveport's Jermauria Rasco (pictured) -- one of the nation's most highly sought-after defensive ends -- at home (and away from Texas) more than made up for missing out on Florida defensive tackle Tim Jernigan.

Vanderbilt:
The Commodores won't finish anywhere near the top of the league's recruiting rankings, of course. But given the limited time James Franklin had to work with, the results were quite impressive. Franklin flipped Virginia Tech quarterback commitment Lafonte Thourogood first thing Signing Day morning and brought in several other candidates for immediate playing time, like Ohio tight end Dorien Bryant.

LOSERS:

Florida:
The Gators, as always, can still boast one of the nation's best classes, and no one anywhere signed a better QB-RB combo than Jeff Driskel and the underrated Mike Blakely. Roberson's arrival was a nice Signing Day surprise, and Will Muschamp and Co. turned away a serious Ohio State challenge for receiver JaJuan Story. But particularly looking at the way their rivals at Georgia and Florida State finished, Gator fans won't be happy about being unable to make up any ground with prospects like Jernigan, Curtis Grant, or Stephone Anthony. Roberson wound up the only new addition on Signing Day, and even he somewhat fell into the Gators' laps after his wild commitments and decommitments to Texas Tech and Auburn. Muschamp will be cut plenty of slack this season after his late arrival in Gainesville, but another class that so completely cedes the limelight to the Dawgs and 'Noles won't be as easily forgiven.


Mississippi State:
How thin was the Bulldogs' final class after seeing the likes of Johnson, Singleton and -- most painfully -- Whitehead decommit? Not one of their 23 commitments ranked among the top 25 at their position, according to Tom Lemming. The Bulldogs struggled going head-to-head with Ole Miss within Mississippi, and came up empty when going abroad for players like Washington D.C.-based Kevin McReynolds, who signed with UCLA. Players like receiver Joe Morrow and defensive tackle P.J. Jones are unquestionably SEC-grade talents, but after such a productive, promising year on the field, the lack of recruiting punch is puzzling.

Arkansas: There's nothing particularly disappointing about the Razorbacks' 2011 class (though watching tight end commitment Chris Barnett sign with Michigan wasn't fun), and keeping home-grown talent like quarterback Brandon Allen and tackle Brey Cook in Arkansas was a bright spot. But when you share a division with Alabama, LSU, and Auburn, "nothing particularly disappointing" may not be good enough to stay in the mix for a division title.






Posted on: February 2, 2011 12:49 pm
Edited on: February 2, 2011 12:50 pm
 

Good news for UCLA as McReynolds picks Bruins

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

If you were watching CBS College Sports a few minutes ago -- and if you weren't, why not? -- you saw Rick Neuheisel get what had to be the best news he's gotten in a while: defensive tackle Kevin McReynolds announced for our CBSCS viewers that he'll be attending UCLA.

The 6'3", 304-pound sparkplug selected the Bruins over heavy interest from programs as diverse as Kansas State, Mississippi State and Syracuse. Tom Lemming rates McReynolds as the nation's No. 5 defensive tackle thanks to his leverage skills and run-stopping ability, with McReynolds showing off his talents at the Under Armour All-American game.

It's been something of a rocky recruiting season for Neuheisel as he worked to overhaul his coaching staff and deal with the fallout from the Bruins' disappointing season, and his failures on the trail have only been magnified by the work done by Lane Kiffin. But McReynolds represents a huge pickup, and shows that the Trojans don't have a monopoly on good Signing Day news out of Los Angeles today.

More Signing Day coverage   is here  at CBS.
Posted on: January 29, 2011 9:31 pm
Edited on: January 29, 2011 11:12 pm
 

Big East needs, commits and hopes

Posted by Bryan Fischer

Cincinnati

Biggest need: Offensive line. Two starters are already gone due to graduation and next season could feature seniors across the board. This is not only an area of need for the future but one that needs bodies heading into next season as well.

Best verbal commit: Running back Jameel Poteat.

Hope to get: Linebacker Dexter Moody.

Connecticut

Biggest need: Receiver. The new staff will likely see a big hole at a lot of positions with several seniors gone from the Big East champion. Finding a dynamic wide receiver to help take pressure off the running game will likely be at or near the top of the recruiting board.

Best verbal commit: Linebacker Jefferson Ashiru.

Hope to get: Defensive back Adrian Amos.

Louisville

Biggest need: Offensive linemen. The Cardinals take a huge hit on the offensive line due to graduation so it’s important to find players to fill out the depth chart and be ready to step in if there’s injuries.

Best verbal commit: Quarterback Teddy Bridgewater.

Hope to get: Tight end Jon Davis.

Pitt

Biggest need: Defensive end. Brandon Lindsey returns to a unit that should be solid next year but will be a senior so new head coach Todd Graham will have to replace him shortly. It’s tough to recruit when you’re the third coach since the end of the season but Graham will have to make adding an end a priority.

Best commit: Defensive tackle Khaynin Mosley-Smith.

Hope to get: Quarterback Michael Eubank.

Rutgers

Biggest need: Defensive line. Rutgers was dead last in the Big East in sacks by a mile. They need at least one player in the current class to step in and help out.

Best verbal commit: Running back Savon Huggins.

Hope to get: Defensive tackle Marquise Wright.

South Florida 

Biggest need: Skill players. The Bulls have someone to build around in quarterback B.J. Daniels but the key is finding some playmakers to put around him. There are a few on the roster but adding to the current group can give USF a chance in the Big East.

Best verbal commit: Wide receiver Andre Davis.

Hope to get: Defensive tackle Elkino Watson.

Syracuse

Biggest need: Secondary. Syracuse had a lot of youth on the team last year but can still improve in several areas. The Orangemen will pencil in three seniors at the backend so there’s at least one position group that needs some added depth.

Best verbal commit: Wide receiver Dyshawn Davis.

Hope to get: Defensive tackle Kevin McReynolds.

West Virginia

Biggest need: Defensive line. The Mountaineers had a very good defense last year (third in the country in total defense) but will need to add a player or two to the defensive line with an eye for 2012 with a senior-laden bunch already in Morgantown.

Best verbal commit: Defensive back Terrell Chestnut.

Hope to get: Safety Roderick Ryles.

Posted on: January 29, 2011 5:44 pm
 

Big 12 needs, commits and hopes

Posted by Bryan Fischer

Baylor

Biggest need: Defensive linemen. Baylor has struggled over the years to get a decent pass rush and the Bears lose their best defensive tackle in Phillip Taylor to the NFL Draft. Getting quality and quantity at this position will be key to continue the momentum from their first bowl season in over a decade.

Best verbal commit: Offensive lineman Spencer Drango.

Hope to get: Running back Jermichael Selders.

Iowa State

Biggest need: Receiver. Iowa State loses their two leading scorers in the passing game and saw Sedrick Johnson transfer. There’s playing time available right away but the Cyclones need someone to break out and not just fill out the depth chart.

Best verbal commit: Running back Devondrick Nealy.

Hope to get: Wide receiver Cedric Gilbert.

Kansas

Biggest need: Defensive line. The Jayhawks lose three of the four starters off of the line and will need to bring in some players to bolster a unit that was 105th in the country in sacks and 107th in rush defense.

Best verbal commit: Athlete Anthony Pierson.

Hope to get: Defensive tackle Terry Redden.

Kansas State 

Biggest need: Offensive line. All three interior linemen are gone from a unit that paved the way for running back Daniel Thomas. While head coach Bill Snyder will typically get some help from the junior college ranks, the Wildcats need some bodies to build around on the O-line.

Best verbal commit: Defensive end Meshak Williams.

Hope to get: Defensive tackle Kevin McReynolds.

Missouri

Biggest need: Defensive line. Missouri has been hit by graduation and impact player Aldon Smith leaving for the NFL. Finding players who can play right away will be key if they are to re-tool on defense.

Best verbal commit: Defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson.

Hope to get: Defensive tackle Christopher Cormier.

Oklahoma

Biggest need: Secondary. Two starters have graduated and their two replacements should both be upper classmen. The fact that they play in a pass-happy league also means it’s never a bad thing to have several defensive backs.

Best verbal commit: Running back Brandon Williams.

Hope to get: Class is pretty much set for 2011.

Oklahoma State

Biggest need: Linemen. Three starters depart from the defensive line and there will be four seniors on the offensive line. The Cowboys are looking for depth as much as they are players who can compete early.

Best verbal commit: Running back Herschel Sims.

Hope to get: Defensive end Brandon Alexander.

Texas

Biggest need: Secondary. Aaron Williams, as expected, left early for the NFL draft and the departures of several seniors leave this group thin. If they’re going to compete against some prolific offenses, Texas needs to grab a few players who can play immediately.

Best verbal commit: Running back Malcolm Brown.

Hope to get: Defensive end Brandon Alexander.

Texas A&M

Biggest need: Linebacker. The loss of Von Miller and Michael Hodges are huge for a defense that was starting to turn the corner under defensive coordinator Tim DeRuyter. In the 3-4 scheme, the Aggies need depth as well as playmakers.

Best verbal commit: Quarterback Johnny Manziel.

Hope to get: Linebacker and soft verbal commit Shaun Ward.

Texas Tech

Biggest need: Receiver. All-everything receiver Lyle Leong is gone and the depth at the position looks thin after 2011.

Best verbal commit: Running back Kenny Williams.

Hope to get: Cornerback Marcus Roberson.

 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com