With Early Signing Day coming up on Wednesday, there are several key recruiting battles to watch in the Big 12 Conference.
Recruiting is the lifeblood of each and every team in college football, and the players that sign in this 2023 class will be the leaders of conference and national championship teams in the years to come. That is why, each and every year, the drama and emphasis on recruiting is ramped up in the months of December, January, and February.
On December 21, the vast majority of recruiting battles will end as most of the 2023 class will sign with their respective schools, but there are those that will wait it out and sign in February. However, there are five battles that people in Big 12 country need to pay attention to this week.
On3 Consensus Rating: Four-Star (93.44), No. 117 Overall, No. 10 Quarterback
Committed to Baylor (12/16/2021)
Team to Watch: Oregon
The Baylor Bears have held the commitment of Austin Novosad for over a year now, but holding onto the commitment might be the toughest it’s been in the final hours of this recruitment. The Oregon Ducks lost the commitment of Dante Moore, the No. 9 overall player and No. 4 quarterback in the 2023 class, on Monday after he flipped to UCLA. The Ducks’ backup plan? Austin Novosad. New Oregon offensive coordinator Will Stein had an in-home visit with Novosad this past Monday, but his relationship with Novosad goes back much further than that. On June 17, 2021, Stein offered Novosad a scholarship at UTSA after the Dripping Springs product was a standout at one of the Roadrunners’ camps. This one could get very interesting down the stretch, but Novosad has sounded locked-in with the Bears since this summer. In the recruiting world though, nothing is certain until ink hits paper.
On3 Consensus Rating: Five-Star (98.10), No. 13 Overall, No. 2 Safety
Committed to Notre Dame (1/1/2022)
Team to Watch: Oklahoma
Another longtime commitment on flip watch this week is five-star Notre Dame safety commit Peyton Bowen. Since New Year’s Day of 2022, Bowen has been committed to the Irish, but he has spent many weekends in Norman, Oklahoma. As one of the top players in this class, Bowen is going to garner a lot of attention when he is spending his time somewhere other than where he is committed, but this recruitment seems to be trending away from Notre Dame in the twelfth hour. Several “crystal ball” projections have been flipped for the five-star in favor of Oklahoma and there is confidence in Norman that they’ve landed a massive cornerstone piece in this class to go along side five-star quarterback Jackson Arnold and EDGE PJ Adeboware. An interesting side note about this recruitment: Bowen and Arnold are very close friends and Bowen’s girlfriend is enrolled and part of the Sooners’ women’s soccer team. In the recruiting world, girlfriends are undefeated. That adage will be put to test on Wednesday.
On3 Consensus Rating: Four-Star (93.94), No. 101 Overall, No. 17 Wide Reciever
Committed to Louisville (5/31/2022)
Team to Watch: Texas
DeAndre Moore’s recruitment has been something of a whirlwind as the former Oklahoma commit, and now Louisville commit seems to be looking around for a landing spot as we come down to the final hours. Moore committed to the Cardinals on May 31, after decommiting from the Sooners following Lincoln Riley’s exit from the program. Now, it appears that he might be headed to the other side of the Red River as the Texas Longhorns have become the team to watch in this recruitment. Texas is making a strong push to land the talented receiver out of St. John Bosco (HS) and hosted Moore over the weekend in Austin. If the Longhorns can land a pledge from Moore, they would likely have the top class of wideouts in the country with five-star Johntay Cook and and high four-star Ryan Niblett already in tow. Watch this one closely Longhorns fans, because there’s a good chance this one swings your way.
On3 Consensus Rating: Four-Star (93.91), No. 102 Overall, No. 17 EDGE
Team(s) to Watch: Oklahoma, Texas
As one of the few remaining uncommitted players in 2023, Kahuka (HI) native and four-star EDGE Tausili Akana has become a player to watch on Early Signing Day. This has become a classic Red River recruiting battle with both sides confident that they will be the pick on Wednesday. Akana is one of the most versatile defensive players in this class and is coveted by many programs across the nation. 247Sports has the 6-4, 230-pound athlete listed as the No. 34 overall player in this class, placing him just two spots out of five-star status in their rankings. Oklahoma head coach Brent Venables has led Akana’s recruitment from the beginning as he was one of the first targets that the first-year head coach had in mind. That alone has the Sooners feeling good about their chances. Meanwhile, there are reports out of Austin that Akana will shock folks in Norman and do the unthinkable by signing with the bad guys. Stay tuned, as there can be only one winner in this battle and the loser appears to be headed for a big surprise.
On3 Consensus Rating: Four-Star (93.73), No. 107 Overall, No. 11 Cornerback
Committed to Texas A&M (4/13/2022)
Team to Watch: TCU
While four-star cornerback Jayvon Thomas has been committed to Texas A&M since April, the TCU Horned Frogs have been giving the big-time CB a lot of attention and it has certainly been reciprocated. The Horned Frogs are turning up the heat too, as the freshly-crowned state champion was seen wearing TCU gloves during his state title game this past weekend. The TCU staff reportedly has a ton of confidence in this recruitment and feels like they will be the pick when pen hits paper, but there has yet to be any sort of confirmation of that confidence just yet. Thomas did show up in Fort Worth this past weekend for an unofficial visit on Sunday. This one feels like a true 50/50 battle between the Aggies and Horned Frogs with both sides having confidence in landing one of the nation’s top defensive back prospects. This one is too close to call down the stretch, but we won’t have to wait long to find out what Thomas’ decision is.