New Big 12 coaches busy on signing day; OU, Texas all set
By STEPHEN HAWKINS, AP Sports Writer
FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — Oklahoma and Texas each had only one spot to fill in their top-10 recruiting classes. The four Big 12 schools with new coaches were a bit busier Wednesday.
New Kansas coach Les Miles added nine players in the second signing period, including running back and former Michigan commitment Amauri Pesek-Hickson, for an initial Jayhawks class of 19 signees.
“There’s a rare combination here between strong and thick and physical and athletic and with speed,” said Miles, the former LSU and Oklahoma State coach.
Kansas State coach Chris Klieman, who didn’t start full-time with the Wildcats until after North Dakota State’s latest FCS national championship in early January, got their class to 23 with seven more players.
Matt Wells also added seven more signees at Texas Tech, after 11 before Christmas soon after he left Utah State for the Big 12.
“All these kids want to be in Lubbock and help us take this program from good to great,” Wells said. “We’re excited to coach the ones who want to be here.”
New West Virginia coach Neal Brown signed three defensive players, even as the former Troy coach is still in the process of delegating recruiting responsibilities for his staff.
Brown said none of the 16 players from the December signing class sought to get out of their national letter of intent after Dana Holgorsen left for Houston right after the new year. Brown said his staff spent the past month “making sure they felt comfortable with the situation here.”
Some things to know about signing day in the Big 12:
FROM USC TO TEXAS
While highly touted receiver Bru McCoy wasn’t part of the initial Texas signees in December, he is one of 10 early enrollees who will take part in spring practice with the Longhorns after he transferred from Southern California.
“I applaud Bru on his courageousness for saying, ‘This is not where his heart is, and I’m going to do something to change that,'” said Longhorns coach Tom Herman, who still is unsure if McCoy will be eligible for the 2019 season.
The 6-foot-2, 205-pound McCoy had 78 catches for 1,428 yards and 18 touchdowns last season for Mater Dei (Calif.) High School. McCoy signed with USC in December and enrolled in classes there for the spring semester, but opted to leave after former Trojans offensive coordinator Kliff Kingsbury left for the NFL’s Arizona Cardinals after just a few weeks on the job.
Top running back recruit Derrian Brown, who signed with Texas in December, is still hospitalized in Georgia after being struck last week with an undisclosed medical condition.
Herman said Brown still has a battery of tests to go through to determine what the ailment is, but that the player is breathing on his own after a ventilator was taken out Wednesday.
“The family does want everyone to know that he is getting better every day. He is moving all of his extremities,” Herman said. “He is alert.”
SUNFLOWER STATE SHOWDOWN
It didn’t take long for Miles and Klieman to run into each other on the recruiting trail.
After the Wildcats nabbed a pair of commitments from under the Jayhawks’ noses during the early signing period, Miles and Co. swiped longtime Kansas State commitment Gavin Potter during the late period.
The linebacker from Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, also had interest from Texas Tech. But he ultimately decided to join Miles and the Jayhawks, hoping to help lay the foundation for what could be a remarkable turnaround in Lawrence.
“That was certainly a very competitive recruiting process,” Miles said. “Sometimes in recruiting it becomes important certain guys come, and it was important to Kansas that guy came.”
One of the new signees for TCU is a very familiar name to Horned Frogs fans.
Yes, defensive back Tre’Vius Hodges-Tomlinson from Waco is related to LaDainian Tomlinson. TCU’s career rushing leader, who went on to become a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, is the signee’s uncle.
Miles took a subtle swipe at Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh about the recruitment of Kansas City-area running back standout Pesek-Hickson.
The longtime commitment to the Wolverines was encouraged by Harbaugh late in the recruiting process to spend a year in prep school rather than signing with this year’s class. Pesek-Hickson instead backed out of his commitment and signed with the Jayhawks, giving them a physical runner with good hands out of the backfield.
“Michigan didn’t quite handle it in a way that the prospect would have enjoyed,” Miles said, “so we had an opportunity to sneak in there.”
AP Sports Writers John Raby, Dave Skretta and Jim Vertuno contributed to this report.
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