With the second signing period over and done, it’s on to the class of 2021. But before we move ahead, I thought it would be a good idea to put a bow on the 2020 class and show where these Big 12 teams stand and who are the headliners of each class. I know most have signed or already on campus but with a few last-minute additions, I wanted to wait until all the dust was settled. On Thursday, I dropped the first five Big 12 teams in order and today, I’ll wrap up with the final five teams left.
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Iowa State (National Rank: 46th Big 12 Rank: 6th)
3-Star CB Michal Antoine
I could have gone with Cole Pederson, Latrell Bankston, TJ Tampa or even Xavier Hutchinson but as of right now, I think Michal is someone who could contribute sooner rather than later. Michal is a physical corner on the outside who isn’t afraid to get his hands dirty in the run game. He is a roll up his sleeves type of guy and in a conference loaded at wide out. As the only corner of the class, I put him as a premium player for the Cyclones.
4-Star QB Hunter Dekkers (Hawarden, IA)
If you live in the state of Iowa, you know exactly who this guy is. Hunter holds the Iowa State high school football record for passing yards and touchdowns. A member of the prestigious Elite 11, Hunter has the talent to be a good quarterback. He is athletic and is tough as nails when he runs with the football. You can see he is a little raw as a passer and I think he will only get better with time to develop by sitting at least a year.
3-Star QB Aidan Bouman (Buffalo, MN)
Aidan to me is a little bit of a tough read. He is a very tall kid at 6’6 and on top of that he is a leftie. Make no mistake, he is a pure pocket passer but again, I am not sure what to make of him just yet.
I know people will look at the class rank and worry but you must realize. Matt Campbell had to build a culture and turn around this program. There is going to be some bumps and bruises along the way. Iowa State is fresh off three straight bowl appearances and the momentum is building. Maybe not in the eyes of these recruiting services but he is grabbing guys who fit his culture and his program. I mentioned some names above when coming up with a class headliner. There are at least six to seven guys who I see getting playing time maybe not this fall but for sure when 2021 rolls around. If there was a knock, it would be the lack of corners and a running back after losing former commit Miyan Williams to Ohio State.
Texas Tech (National Rank: 49th Big 12 Rank: 7th)
4-Star WR Loic Fouonji (Midland, TX)
Even though he stands at 6’4 (Continuing my tall wide out trend) Loic has some serious speed. He excels on vertical routes as he will quickly blow by defenders at the line and run down the field wide open. It seems like it would be hard to overthrow him due to his speed. I am not sure how complete or sharp his route tree is because on film, he always seems to be down the field. He has a very high ceiling and is likely the next superstar wide out for the Red Raiders.
3-Star QB Donavan Smith (Wolfforth, TX)
Another local kid for the Red Raiders. Donavan Smith kind of reminds of another former Tech quarterback who is in a bit of trouble right now but probably a better passer at his age. Smith is a big guy and almost looks like a tight end, but he certainly has something with his arm that makes him a quarterback. He isn’t the most accurate quarterback, but he looks calm under pressure and can make plays with his legs as well. And with him being from Wolfforth, Texas (Right outside of Lubbock) I had to mention that is the home of one of my favorite BBQ spots in the state in Evie Mae’s. Now back to football.
As usual, Tech did a solid job on offense. I am not sure how Donavan Smith will pan out, but I really like what they did at wide out grabbing Loic Fouonji and Ja’Lynn Polk who are the top two players in their class. Not to mention, running back Tahj Brooks who was a solid grab as well. As far as the defense goes, there are one or two players who I think will be key players down the road, but I wasn’t crazy about their defensive players overall. Keep in mind, it was a very small class with just nineteen total.
Kansas State (National Rank: 51st Big 12 Rank: 8th)
3-Star WDE Nate Matlack (Olathe, KS)
Nate is ranked as the best player in this class and while he will need some time to grow into his body, his play speaks for itself. Standing at 6’4, he played linebacker in high school and was all over the field. He was rangy and could roam sideline to sideline and come hit someone with a purpose. Gave me an old school football vibe and I will be interested to see how he can add weight and play on the edge. I seriously like his upside though.
3-Star QB Will Howard (Downington, PA)
I was a bit surprised to see how well Will can toss the pigskin around. He has some solid accuracy on his passes and doesn’t seem fazed under pressure. Heck, he even moves around better than I though he would too. I couldn’t really find any major flaws with him and I think he could be next in line once Skylar Thompson is gone.
This is new territory for Kansas State. Being ranked in the low fifties is not common for the Wildcats. Usually they have fallen between the 60-70 range, so it is nice to see this staff pick up some of the slack there. There was a heavy focus on both lines in this class and that fits right into what Chris Klieman wants to do. This class fits the mold for this program except I think it will continue to get better talent in Manhattan if Klieman is running the show.
Baylor (National Rank: 54th Big 12 Rank: 9th)
4-Star WDE James Sylvester (Newton, TX)
He is the highest rated player of the class, but I would honesty maybe slide him down as the second or third best player in this Baylor class. Sylvester shows that burst on the edge and a lot of times plays with his in in the dirt. He will need to add some weight and will likely need a year or two of development. I think he is maybe more of a project at this point, but I see a high ceiling like many others think.
3-Star QB Blake Shapen (Shreveport, LA)
Not only is Blake a quarterback but he is a high touted shortstop as well who will play both for Baylor. On film, Blake doesn’t have that typical baseball throw and he throws a nice pass. However, I would like to see him put some more zing on the ball and his deep accuracy still needs a bit of a touch up. I will say that he is a gamer. If something isn’t there, he isn’t afraid to take a chance or take off to get that first down. I think a year of learning behind Charlie Brewer will be good for him and it will be interesting to see him balance between two sports.
Overall, I am not crazy about this small class but there are a few gems here. At the top cornerback Jahdae Barron I think could be an all-conference guy down the road. Not to mention, I like their running back with Taye McWilliams who is a top 400 player in the nation. There was also a heavy dosage of interior offensive lineman and if you have watched Baylor the last few years, that has been their biggest weakness so hopefully some of these players will pan out. Outside of that, I believe that OLB Will Garner could be a hidden gem as well as wide out Seth Jones. This is a small class that packs a punch.
Kansas (National Rank: 57th Big 12 Rank: 10th)
3-Star CB JaCobee Bryant (Evergreen, AL)
JaCobee is the only Kansas player ranked in the top 40 at his position. He is a little, but he seems to have good ball instincts and isn’t afraid to tackle which is always nice to see at corner. I don’t think he will be a year one guy who they just plug in but in a year or two I could easily see him on the field as a starter.
3-Star QB Jalon Daniels (Lawndale, CA)
Very athletic kid and can buy some time in the pocket with his feet. He also is more than capable of taking off and making a big play. He still needs a little work throwing the football although I was surprised with his arm strength as he easily pushed the ball downfield. Still needs to work on some of his accuracy and given the Kansas quarterback situation, he may be someone who will be competing for a starting job as a freshman.
It was obvious to see where Kansas was leaning on the trail for this cycle. Five of their top six prospects are defensive players and for those who don’t watch much Kansas football, they need a TON of help on defense. I feel like they addressed the need in this class, but the biggest question remains of finding a quarterback. A lot will ride on quarterback Jalon Daniels to pan out. If the Jayhawks can get some stability at quarterback that would help tremendously and cover up some of those other areas of weakness. All in all, at least Kansas finished in the top sixty.
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