Big 12 Football: 5 Signees Who Will Make the Biggest Impact in 2014
Don’t underestimate the impact of recruits in the drive towards winning college football conference titles.
With a talented incoming group of freshman, that will become evident in the Big 12 during the 2014 season.
For some of these players, they simply fill a hole on their respective teams and are guaranteed playing time. For others, their talent is too much to ignore and they will put up numbers regardless.
Although the conference only boasts two 5-star recruits combined from all 10 teams, keep your eyes peeled for some impressive performances from the freshman class.
Join B/R as we pinpoint five of these players.
DT Terrell Clinkscales (Kansas State)
247Sports Composite: 4-star (90.63)
The Wildcats closed out the 2013 on fire, winning six of their last seven games.
A strong late-season surge from the defense can be credited for that. However, Kansas State will lose seven starters from that unit next season.
Expect junior college transfer Terrell Clinkscales to make up for most of those losses.
At 6’4” and 310 pounds, the Dodge City, Kan., native has the size and strength to make an immediate impact in the Big 12. He also has a quick first step and explosiveness to drive into the backfield.
With standout defensive end Ryan Mueller—18.5 tackles for loss, 11.5 sacks and four fumbles forced—demanding all the attention, look for Clinkscales to benefit.
By season’s end, the Wildcats could very well boast one of the top defensive lines in the conference.
WR Allen Lazard (Iowa State)
247Sports Composite: 4-star (96.16)
Don’t look now, but the Cyclones offense could pose some threats to opposing defenses in 2014.
With the signing of Allen Lazard, the team will bring in a very good No. 2 alongside stud receiver Quenton Bundrage. Not to mention, Iowa State is set to bring 10 starters back on offense.
Sure, the team only ranked No. 97 in total offense last season. However, another year of experience will do the Cyclones good.
At 6’4” and 207 pounds, Lazard’s biggest asset is his size. He can outmuscle defenders and has the explosiveness and athleticism to make difficult catches.
An Iowa State commit since December of 2012, Lazard is determined to help the school turn its fortunes around.
That’s the kind of attitude that typically produces results on the field.
QB Jerrod Heard (Texas)
247Sports Composite: 4-star (96.53)
It’s no secret that the Longhorns need help under center.
That help could come in the form of quarterback Jerrod Heard.
Last season, the team finished No. 81 in passing offense (212.5 YPG). Texas quarterbacks threw for a total of 2,762 yards, 18 touchdowns and 15 interceptions on 57.1 percent passing.
Soon-to-be senior David Ash will be healthy in 2014, but it’s likely new head coach Charlie Strong will look to throw a fresh face into the fire.
Tyrone Swoopes is a front-runner to win the position. However, with his mix of arm strength and speed—he runs a 4.59 40—Heard stands a good chance of emerging victorious.
He’s no Vince Young, but Heard’s dual-threat ability will have him causing fits for opposing defenses.
Texas is getting just the kind of quarterback they need.
WR KD Cannon (Baylor)
247Sports Composite: 5-star (98.53)
The Bears will struggle with the loss of Tevin Reese.
Not only was the senior the team’s second-leading receiver, but he was also arguably the most explosive player on the offense. His presence will certainly be missed by returning quarterback Bryce Petty.
Bringing in the No. 4-ranked receiver in the nation in KD Cannon will certainly help.
The Mount Pleasant, Texas, native put his talents on display during the 2014 Army All-American game. He racked up a game-high 65 yards of receiving on just three catches.
Cannon has great hands and has the agility to change direction on a dime.
If Baylor hopes to keep up its offensive prowess, look for Cannon to get a lot of looks in the passing attack.
RB Joe Mixon (Oklahoma)
247Sports Composite: 5-star (98.98)
With each of their top three rushers from 2013 leaving, the Sooners could use all the help they can get in the backfield.
Picking up running back Joe Mixon certainly helps.
The lone 5-star in Oklahoma’s class of 2014, expect the Oakley, Calif., native to step in and compete immediately. Although he will share time with former class of 2013 5-star running back Keith Ford, Mixon should still get his fair share of reps.
But what could ultimately win Mixon the job is his ability to contribute in the passing game as well.
“He has play making ability and size,” said running backs’ coach Cale Gundy, per SoonerSports.com. “He is a home run threat any time he touches the ball. The impressive thing about him is how dangerous he is running down the field catching the ball as a receiver.”
He posses great hands and handles the ball well. Mixed with his explosive running and speed, Mixon will remind a lot of Sooners fans of the days of Adrian Peterson and DeMarco Murray.
Barring injury, Mixon is a name the Big 12 will hear a lot of in 2014.
Unless otherwise noted, all recruiting information courtesy of 247Sports.