By all accounts, the Class of 2023 has come to an end as National Signing Day has (mostly) come and gone. So, like every year at 247Sports, time to hand out a few conference superlatives.
Below, we dive into the Big 12 conference – looking at team rankings and top prospects, sleeper classes, incoming QBs, Instant Impact 2023 players and more. After that it will continue until 2024.
Keep in mind that four schools will soon join the Big 12: BYU, Cincinnati, Houston, and UCF. We’ve included these schools in this year’s Superlative Big 12, so don’t be surprised if you read these names. Here’s the 2023 Big 12 Recruitment Rundown, starting with the industry-generated 247Sports Composite Team Recruitment Rankings and then diving into our superlatives.
- texas tech
- State of Kansas
- State of Iowa
- West Virginia
- State of Oklahoma
BEST CLASS: TEXAS, BARELY
Hot on the heels of the Longhorns are the rival Sooners. The top two recruit classes in the Big 12 finished 3rd and 4th nationally. This is the first time since 2010 — the first year of the 247Sports era — that Texas and Oklahoma finished in the top five, when Texas and OU finished second and took fifth place.
Texas signed three Top247 five-star quarterbacks Arch Manning (No. 1 overall), linebacker Anthony Hill (No. 17) and runs back Cedric Baxter (No. 30), while Oklahoma inked a pair of top 10 five-stars in Edge Adepoju Adebawore (No. 9) and quarterback JacksonArnold (No. 10), the No. 1 in Texas for the Class of 2023.
Speaking of Lone Star State — always important to both programs in their quest for college football dominance — the Longhorns and Sooners have each signed four of TXHSFB’s top 13 senior league players. Only one other program — Texas A&M — signed at least two players in that Texas Top 13, while Alabama and TCU landed one each.
Elite skill players like receivers Johntay Cook (No. 38 in the Top247) and Ryan Nibblet (No. 93) have certainly delighted Texas fans, but equally fascinating are tall, athletic, versatile defenders Jelani McDonald (No. 51) and Derek Williams (No. 66), each of the top 70 national prospects who have immense development potential.
TOP PERSPECTIVES: ARCH TEAMQB, TEXAS REGISTER
New Orleans Isidore Newman and Texas early contender appear to embody the most controversial recruit in recent memory, given the general reaction from fans across the country to his projected spot as No. 1 overall prospect in the 2023 Top 247. Regardless of that reaction, the data points to it that Manning is a true elite quarterback for myriad reasons including size (6-4, 215), game tape, multiple live recordings, production and perhaps most importantly, an uncanny sense of position manifested in pocket presence and off-the-cuff improvisational talent Pocket.
No Top 247 quarterback threw more live passes (981) in high school competition than Manning, who capped a record-breaking Isidore Newman career with 115 touchdown throws, including a 34-2 TD-INT ratio in 2022. His yards per Try soared to double digits last fall while his INT rate plummeted to one INT every 114 throws, the best tally of any top 247 QB on available data. Manning’s 1-of-1 quarterback pedigree no doubt influences his pocket awareness and cerebral intangibles evident in his game.
Sleeper Class: State of Kansas
Led by hyper-athletic four-star quarterback Maize (Can.). AveryJohnson (No. 84 overall), the Wildcats in the 2023 signing class exemplify quality and quantity in abundance. A dynamic athlete on the basketball court and the gridiron, Johnson gives Kansas State a top-8 QB prospect and an obvious headliner of the class. Already established as a big-play machine and true dual-threat QB, Johnson took his game to another level last fall with noticeably improved passing skills.
But Olathe (Kan.) South four-star edge Jordan Allen is another high potential prospect in a class. A full-time two-way player with 60+ tackles and 600 receiving yards in 2022, Allen owns monster track numbers in the discus and shot put, including personal bests of 180 feet, 10 inches, and 55 feet, respectively. Allen’s combination of functional athletics, two-way snaps, and excellent multisport data points to long-term developmental benefits.
Kansas State signed numbers on receivers and defensive backs, always a good idea in the Big 12. Receivers, defensive backs, and athletes make up a dozen of the Wildcats’ high school recruits in this class.
However, Texas Tech should not be ignored in this category. The Red Raiders under the head coach sophomore Joey McGuire, continue to prioritize multisport athletes with athletics skills and combine athletics testing. Texas Tech’s intriguing class includes high-ceilinged athletes from across the position spectrum, from the four-star offensive lineman Nick Fatty to four-star defensive backs Jordan Sanford and Brenden Jordanalongside several others.
DIAMONDS IN THE RAW: JONAH WILSON, WR (HOUSTON) & ORYEND FISHERMANEDGE (WEST VIRGINIA)
Fans closely following Lone Star State recruiting may remember Spring (Texas Dekaney)’s Jonah Wilson as Texas’ longtime promise last year, but make no mistake, the Houston Cougars have signed their hometown standout taken and could very well put him on the field in a hurry. Recall that a year ago the Coogs signed Top247 four-star wideout Matthew Golden, who had nearly 600 receiving yards and seven touchdowns in his true freshman season. Wilson is similarly talented, thanks to his height, functional athletics, power and multisport (basketball) background, definitely a four-star prospect with a 91 rating on 247Sports. Wilson can stretch the field vertically and also win in traffic, as he consistently demonstrated during a Monster senior campaign in 2022: 77 catches, 1,341 yards and 13 TDs on 17.4 yards per reception, plus a 98-yard Kick return TD.
But he’s not the only one in that category…we have to mention at least one tall, tall, lean, and athletic playmaker who’s a pass rusher in West Virginia Orend Fischer (high three-star rating of 88, #44 Edge Prospect), who enjoyed an excellent senior season at Georgetown, Ky.’s Great Crossing. Fisher amassed 76 tackles, 13 sacks and three forced fumbles in 2022 as the 6-foot-6, 205-pounder regularly flashed his athleticism. It’s going to take Fisher time to add size and strength in a collegiate weight program, but turn on the tape and the pass-rushing juice is evident. Fisher’s combination of physical tools and first-step burst combines with chasing-down athleticism and frame capacity to give him a true NFL advantage when all the ingredients come together over the next few years.
IMMEDIATE IMPACT: JOHN WALKER, DL, UCF NOTIFIER
Big 12 offensives better prepare for Walker’s point-of-attack power and fury (No. 98 overall). The Kissimmee, Fla., Osceola product is a phone booth bully with concussive strength and detonating qualities for running games. A breakthrough force with a ground-breaking size (6-3, 310), Walker’s performance over a four-year, 48-game collegiate career looks like that of a leaner, more athletic edge-rusher: 250+ tackles, 57 tackles for loss, and 40 sacks in these last four falls.
Walker also possesses an encouraging length, with an arm measurement of 33 inches and a wingspan of 6ft 10. These levers further enhance his rushing action, which stems in large part from his close quarters violence and surprisingly quick dismount.
BEST RECRUITMENT WIN: PEYTON BOWENS, OKLAHOMA SIGNERS
A longtime Notre Dame pledge that announced Dec. 21 for Oregon but flipped and signed with Oklahoma the next day, Bowen (No. 57 overall) gives Oklahoma a potential early-impact player in the secondary school as well as a surefire one Option for special teams whether to cover or return kicks. He’s one of the top security contenders in the nation thanks to what he’s shown on the field and the multifaceted athletic profile and combined testing data we’ve seen over the past several years.
Another Sooner signee that should be considered a big win is Makari Vickers (No. 101), which we think represents a seismic victory for OU to pull the versatile, athletic defensive end out of Tallahassee (Fla.) Munroe and away from all statewide programs visiting the Sunshine State. Vickers impressed with his man-covering ability during All-American Bowl week and, like Bowen, could become a personal chameleon in Norman. Heaping defensive prospects like Bowen, Vickers, large-bodied in-state corner Jacob Johnson (No. 115) and Florida Linebacker Lewis Carter (No. 123) there Brent Venables and his staff exceptional talent for their stopping unit.
NEXT BROCK PURDY? ZANE FLORESQB, SIGNER OF THE STATE OF OKLAHOMA
Flores, a 6-foot-3 1/2, 190-pounder from Gretna (Neb.) High School, represents one of the highest three-star quarterbacks in the class and a top-30 player at that position – no different as Purdy, a three-star high success himself from high school. Flores could certainly become an NFL draft candidate given his size and what he’s got on tape. Flores is a good functional athlete who has also posted some encouraging test numbers, particularly in regards to his tall physique.
Flores is extremely experienced with more than 1,000 throws in the game against high school competitions and threw for a career-high 3,117 yards and 31 touchdowns against seven interceptions in 2022 when he added 10 rushing TDs for the second straight season. Flores’ physical attributes give him a lot of long-term potential and his participation in athletics (long jump, triple jump, 400 meters) only reinforces that.
INCOMING HIGH SCHOOL / JUCO QUARTERBACKS
NOTE: Baylor, TCU and Kansas have opted not to take no-transfer portal quarterbacks this cycle
- BYU (2): Ryder BurtonSpringville (Utah) – Three Star Hotel 85, No. 61 QB; Jake RetzlaffRiverside Community College – Three Star Hotel 84, #1 JUCO QB
- Cincinnati: Brady DrogoshWarren (Mich.) De La Salle – high three-star rating of 89, No. 27 QB
- Houston: Caleb McMickleRoswell (Ga.) Fellowship Christian – Three Star Rating 85, No. 59 QB
- State of Iowa: JJ KohlAnkeny (Iowa) – Four-star rating out of 90, No. 18 QB
- State of Kansas: AveryJohnsonCorn (Can.) — #84 overall (four-star 95 rating), #8 QB
- Oklahoma: JacksonArnoldDenton (Texas) Guyer – No. 10 overall (five-star 99 rating), No. 4 QB
- State of Oklahoma: Zane FloresGretna (Okla.) – High three-star rating of 89, No. 26 QB
- Texas: Arch ManningNew Orleans Isidore Newman – #1 overall (five-star 100 rating), #1 QB
- Texas Technology: Jake StarkJustin (Texas) Northwest – high three-star rating of 87, No. 35 QB
- UCF: Dylan RizkFort Lauderdale (Fla.) Cardinal Gibbons — Three-Star 84, No. 72 QB
- West Virginia: Sean BoyleCatholic Charlotte (NC) — Three Star Rating 86, No. 54 QB
— Chris Singletary of 247Sports contributed to this report.