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February 1, 2011

Top stories in the Midlands

MORE: Complete NSD coverage | Top stories in the Southeast | Tuesday's notes

How did the Longhorns let two five-star prospects from the Lone Star State go to their rivals at Oklahoma?

It's one of the top stories in the Midlands region for the Class of 2011 that Rivals.com breaks down heading into National Signing Day.

1. Oklahoma reels in two Texas five-star prospects

Texas may have won most of the head-to-head battles with Oklahoma but the Sooners received commitments from two of the three five-star prospects in the Lone Star State. Whitehouse wide receiver Trey Metoyer and Brookshire Royal running back Brandon Williams both had sensational performances in their all-American games to validate their five-star status. However, Texas chose not to offer either player and it was much to their rival's benefit. Both would have listened to the Longhorns for sure but they never received much attention, much less an offer. It should be interesting to watch in future Red River Shootouts to see if Texas will regret not pursuing the pair. It is unknown if either would have ultimately spurned Oklahoma for the in-state school as Bob Stoops and company did a fantastic job locking both down, but the Longhorns could have at least made a run at them prior to their pledges.

2. Texas Tech makes a major splash

Texas Tech fans may be disappointed in the latest developments that will likely see them missing out on their national targets such as Marcus Roberson, Delvon Simmons and Kent Turene but their class is still by far the best they have ever signed. The Red Raiders beat several in-state and national programs for the likes of Rivals100 tight end Jace Amaro, Rivals250 running back Kenny Williams, four-star receiver Derek Edwards and four-star offensive lineman Tony Morales. They addressed a need at running back by gaining commits from several players who can catch the ball out of the backfield. They missed a need at defensive line but it's hard to argue against the fact that head coach Tommy Tuberville's first true class is still a very good one.

3. The Aggies struggle

A year ago, Texas A&M was coming off a 6-7 season and signed one of its best classes in quite some time. Offensive tackles Luke Joeckel and Jake Matthews started as true freshmen and linebacker Damontre Moore put together a freshman All-American season backing up Von Miller. Despite a 9-4 season and a Cotton Bowl appearance, the class of 2011 has to be considered a disappointment. The Aggies have just two four-star prospects and their highest-rated commit, offensive tackle Joseph Cheek, is the No. 28 player in the state rankings. A&M looks to be in good shape with several Class of 2012 prospects and the Aggies need to put together a much better class next year to stay competitive in the Big 12.

4. Colorado strikes out with in-state prospects

Colorado has a lot of advantages such as location and a move to the new Pac-12 conference but, for the second year in a row, it appears the Buffs will not sign a four-star prospect. They have really struggled with in-state players, losing four-star running back Mister Jones to Texas A&M a year ago and likely losing four-star linebacker Leilon Willingham to Michigan this year. Rivals250 offensive lineman Brendon Austin, the No. 1 recruit in the state, is headed to Stanford. Colorado's highest-ranked in-state commit is offensive tackle Marc Mustoe, who comes in at No. 5. The Buffs will rely heavily on the state of California with their change in conferences but they need to do a much better job in their home state as well.

5. Will early commitments continue?

The Texas Top 100 has had only one uncommitted prospect - defensive end Brandon Alexander - for quite some time now. The colleges in the region have been pushing for earlier and earlier commitments from prospects and many of them have their classes almost complete by September. In fact, Oklahoma has not received a new commitment since July. With Texas' struggles on the field this year and many people sharing the belief that Mack Brown fills up a little too early each February with somewhat marginal commitments, Texas could be the team to decide how the class of 2012 plays out. If the Longhorns push for a ton of commitments at their two junior days next month, then look for others to do the same. This past weekend did result in three junior day commitments - Joey Hunt to TCU as well as LaDarius Anthony and Aiavion Edwards both to Baylor - but other schools like Oklahoma, Texas A&M and Houston did not push for any commitments at their junior days over the weekend.



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