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February 3, 2009

Rivals.com's Burton looks at Big 12/Southwest recruiting

Rivals.com editor and theoldcoach.com weekly high school game selector Bobby Burton doesn't give many solo interviews, but here's one we tapped into that he had Tuesday with The Dallas Morning News

Which schools have the best three classes and why?

Right now, the rankings show it to be Ohio State on top. They've dominated their home state and may have signed the top 3 players in Pennsylvania too. LSU would be No. 2. They've dominated the state of Louisiana and reached into Texas and Florida. Texas is at No. 3. The Longhorns have a really talented class. It may be their best in-state group of kids they've brought in the last 10 years.

How did the Big 12 stack up against the other conferences as a whole?

The SEC is clearly year-in and year-out, has the most talent. It's where the most talent resides. The state of Texas carries the entire Big 12. You have six or seven states in the Southeast that are huge for football. But the Big 12 always does well and they did again this year.

There was a lot of national talk about the Big 12 South and how well they did on the field in 2008. Did they dominate the Big 12 North on the recruiting trail this year?

Yes. The top 3 schools in the Big 12 were South schools. Nebraska was fourth, but behind Texas, Oklahoma and Texas A&M. Kansas, Oklahoma State, Missouri and Texas Tech are in the top 35.

So only Baylor from the Big 12 South isn't in the top 35. How did the Bears do?

They will end up higher than they've ever been in Rivals history. They had large numbers and good quality. They are 57th in the country right now. They've never finished that high since we've done rankings. I'm not that surprised, actually. They are a hot team. They've got a new coach and he's doing well. They made a play for some guys and beat out some other Big 12 South schools to get them. It's a staff of Texas folks and it makes sense they'd recruit well.

What do you like most about Texas A&M's class?

I really like their depth. In years past, they would get 10 to 15 guys and it would be kind of a guessing game on the rest. These are all solid players up and down the list. From a standpoint of when A&M was great, one thing they did was reach into Louisiana for a few guys and they did that this year. I think that's a good move. Two of their four highest-rated guys are from Louisiana.

I take it Texas and Oklahoma held their own again, as usual?

I don't think anybody's going to cry for them. I think they are the top dogs right now. There's no questions about it. They do a good job of staking out their territory. With Texas, this year was an up year in state and last year was a great year for Oklahoma in the state of Texas. That's why they flipped in the recruiting rankings this year. Last year, OU was 6th and Texas was 14th. This year, Texas is 3rd and OU is 13th. That's because Texas has done a better job in state. A couple of top guys went to Texas this year. They went to Oklahoma last year.

How do you think TCU did?

I thought they did really well. There were a couple of guys like Waymon James (RB) and Jurell Thompson (DB) that could have gone anywhere and went there. The quarterback Casey Pachall from Brownwood has a chance to be special.




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