Season 20 BIG XII Recruiting Recap

LightningDragon · April 9, 2024


By: Cole Mantell (@lightningdragon)

National Signing Day has passed, teams have restructured, and we have a good idea of what each roster will look like in the CFSL heading into Season 20. There’s a lot to talk about with each team revamping in different ways. Some teams are either expansion teams who needed 26 scholarship players, or teams with very few graduations and only need a few scholarship players. Thus, we will not be grading each team on the same scale. Instead, we’ll simply go through each conference, recap each team’s strengths and weaknesses in recruiting, and point out some underrated signings for the talent coming in.

The BIG XII is the next conference up for review. Texas dominated the conference last season, but with an AD change there and elsewhere in the conference, there is a bunch of room for teams to move up and down the standings. With no clear juggernaut, chaos might reign in Season 20 in the BIG XII. Teams are listed in alphabetical order, and signings are current as of April 8, 2024. “Total Signings” refer to both transfer and freshman recruits.

Baylor Bears

Total Signings: 6

Biggest Signing: 5-star DT Myles Andrew

Underrated Signing: 5-star OLB Smoke Vazquez

Baylor had a few key signings in a class that is small so far, but heavy in 5 stars. Myles Andrews is so far the only transfer signed, coming over after a productive freshman season at Penn State. Baylor jumped above expectations in their first season, and Andrews will be key in keeping momentum up on defense. Helping him out are a few freshmen signees, including OLB Smoke Vazquez. Vazquez is from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and Baylor did a good job taking a quality player out of the shadow of Death Valley to play in Texas. Vazquez will project to start Week 1 too.

Cincinnati Bearcats

Total Signings: 12

Biggest Signing: 5-star WR Ahmad Williams

Underrated Signing: 5-star FS Ziggy Zelinski

In almost any case, if a team signs a QB during recruiting, that is their biggest signing. But to Cincinnati’s credit, they’ve done extremely well in this cycle, including signing a GT transfer. One of the first GT transfers ever, Ahmad Williams comes over from Boise State and is an instant game-changing weapon for freshman QB Saint Major. As for some underrated signings, Cincinnati had a few on defense I could choose. I went with the guy they got just down the road. FS Ziggy Zelinski immediately is a top-tier name to type, and being from Louisville, he’s familiar with the Bearcats. He should be a huge piece for the pass defense in Week 1 in Cincinnati.

Colorado Buffaloes

Total Signings: 8

Biggest Signing: 5-star WR Daniel Blackmon

Underrated Signing: 5-star TE Bill Budde

Colorado had eight signings total this cycle, all mostly centered around supporting sophomore QB Sky Sanders. While the defense wasn’t forgotten, the second season in Boulder seems to be around reinforcing the offensive firepower. Colorado’s leading offensive signee is WR Daniel Blackmon. The freshman from Grand Rapids, Michigan, will provide a new dimension for the offense and be able to stretch the field in Week 1. Supporting the offense as well as freshman Bill Budde. While TEs often don’t get enough love, Budde was a hot commodity in this cycle for his abilities. Budde is out of Grand Island, Nebraska, and was one of that state’s top recruits. He should also be an impact guy from day one.

Oklahoma State Cowboys

Total Signings: 1*

Biggest Signing: 5-star TE Benny May

Underrated Signing: N/A

Call this one a work in progress. At the time of writing, it appears Oklahoma State has verbal commitments from multiple guys. Unfortunately for this article, I cannot comment on these signings until they are officially entered into the record and the players sign their official LOIs. As for the one signee officially on board, Benny May is the younger family member of Zaveon May, an All-American last season from Pittsburgh. May is from Memphis, Tennessee, and is hoping to be as impactful as Zaveon was in his career. Oklahoma State we know will have more guys on board, but stay tuned for more details on that class.

Texas Longhorns

Total Signings: 12

Biggest Signing: 5-star QB Kolten Powell

Underrated Signing: 5-star MLB Joey Dellamano

Yeah, Texas had some change on the roster with the AD leaving and new AD Ryan Moreland coming in. However, it doesn’t seem to have stopped any momentum from last season. Texas kept pace with Cincinnati and only had fewer signees in the BIG XII than expansion team Texas A&M. The Longhorns’ class is headlined by transfer Kolton Powell via USC. The transfer-heavy class is extremely deep in terms of playmakers on both sides of the ball. MLB Joey Dellamano joins Moreland coming over from Oklahoma State and will be the center of the Texas defense this season.

Texas A&M Aggies

Total Signings: 15

Biggest Signing: 5-star WR Buck Stackhouse

Underrated Signing: 5-star FS Jeremy Schultz

Texas A&M already has 12 5-stars signed and has room to grow still as an expansion team. Buck Stackhouse is a Generational Talent and should be the early leader on offense along with transfer QB Owen Dart. On offense, this team is built well and should be immediately competitive in the rough and tumble BIG XII. But on defense, the talent already might even be greater. Led by Jeremy Schultz, there are multiple playmakers on each level of the defense, which is a huge start for the expansion team. Schultz is another transfer, coming over from Washington. All six of the transfers so far for Texas A&M are 5 stars.

West Virginia Mountaineers

Total Signings: 3

Biggest Signing: 5-star FS Brent Dale

Underrated Signing: 5-star WR Hunter Dowell

West Virginia could also be classified as a work in progress with only three official signees so far this cycle. But the Mountaineers aren’t done yet and should sign a few more guys before Week 1. Brent Dale is a local guy from Grundy, Virginia. He comes over to be the signature guy in the WVU class as of now. Hunter Dowell hails from Waco, Texas, a bit longer of a trip to Morgantown. WVU has some returning talent as well, but both Dale and Dowell are going to make impacts immediately for the roster.


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