Everything is bigger in Texas (except Iowa State’s recruiting)

By Peter Lemken, [email protected]
All data retrieved from 247Sports.com.

Trevor Holbrook

Editor’s notes: All data retrieved for this story comes from 247Sports. The results from the data come from the current head coach’s first recruiting class to the class of 2018. TCU and West Virginia’s results include when both teams were in conferences other than the Big 12. The results include athletes who signed but didn’t make it on campus due to academic or other reasons. Kansas State and Bill Snyder’s results only include Snyder’s second stint at Kansas State.

In the television show Friday Night Lights, viewers get an inside look at the football-craze inside Texas. While Matt Saracen and Tim Riggins may not exist, most people agree Texas is a hotbed for football talent.

With a majority of the Big 12 in or bordering Texas, the Iowa State Daily took a look into how those teams compare in geographic recruiting strategies.


Since Matt Rhule’s arrival to Waco, the Bears have recruited heavily in Texas. A large chunk of his staff have been embedded in Texas for awhile now, while Rhule has deep New York roots and coached at Temple previously.

While Rhule’s small sample size of recruiting signees consist of about 75 percent Texans, Baylor has inched away from Texas at times, too. In his first class, Rhule plucked three athletes from New Jersey — the highest number of signees in a class from a state that isn’t Texas.

Overall, Baylor has signed athletes from seven other states other than Texas. Currently, the 2019 Baylor class follows the Texas-heavy trend, with commitments from eight Texans and one Mississippian.

Iowa State

With over half the Big 12 Conference located in Texas or Oklahoma, the state of Texas, with its ample amount of talent, is a popular spot for Big 12 recruiters approach. Meanwhile, Iowa State — the most northern Big 12 school — has utilized a different tactic under Matt Campbell.

In Campbell’s 2016 class, he signed two players from Texas, followed by none in the 2017 class and two more in the 2018 class. Campbell and his staff haven’t stockpiled the Texas players, but they’ve zigzagged to a handful of states.

In the class of 2016, Iowa State signed players from 16 different states and one from Washington D.C. (D’Andre Payne). In Campbell’s second class, Iowa State cut it to 10 states and honed in on Iowa more, signing seven Iowans.

Currently, the class of 2019 sits at 11 commitments with Iowa and Missouri leading with three commits each.

Iowa State’s new running backs coach Nate Scheelhaase is the latest to show geographic recruiting diversity, receiving commitments as the primary recruiter with Leonard Glass from California, Nathaniel Beal III from Texas and Vonzell Kelley from Missouri.


In David Beaty’s initial recruiting class at Kansas, he went all in on prospects from Texas. Beaty signed 19 players from Texas, two from Kansas and five from other states. The class of 2016 dropped from 19 Texans to 10.

The numbers from Texas plummeted to three in the 2017 class and two in the 2018 class. While The Jayhawks cooled off in Texas, Louisiana maintained consistent results.

No players from Louisiana were signed in 2015, three signed in 2016, two signed in 2017 and four were signed in 2018. Kansas has one commitment from Louisiana for the 2019 class — four-star quarterback Lance LeGendre.

The early attention to the state of Texas likely stems from Beaty’s job prior to coaching Kansas and the depth of talent in the state. Before taking the Kansas head coaching position, Beaty was the wide receivers coach and recruiting coordinator at Texas A&M. 

Beaty also began his coaching career with over a decade spent coaching at four different Texas high schools. A large part of the mini-Louisiana pipeline can be attributed to the Jayhawks’ running backs coach Tony Hull.

Hull, a New Orleans native and Louisiana-Lafayette graduate, has five commitments as a primary recruiter since joining Kansas’ staff in 2016. All five commitments came from Louisiana.

Kansas State

The previous three schools have a relatively small sample size to analyze from due to recent coaching hires. With Kansas State’s Bill Snyder, the Wildcats provide a decade’s worth of data to disect.

At first glance, two states pop out on the map: Texas and Kansas. Texas and Kansas over time have totaled lopsided results, but from year-to-year the two states haven’t dominated as much as it appears.

Only one class tallied double-digit signees from Texas or Kansas (in 2010 Kansas State signed 11 players from Kansas). With a coaching career that began in 1964, Snyder has spent time at USC, California high schools, a pair of Texas schools, the University of Iowa and Kansas State.

Even though the state of Kansas touches Iowa’s border and Snyder coached under Iowa’s Hayden Fry, the Wildcats have signed few recruits from Iowa.

It took until the class of 2013 for Kansas State to sign its first Iowans in Snyder’s second tenure, but the long wait paid off. Iowa Western Community College quarterback Jake Waters signed with the Wildcats and finished his Kansas State career with 55 total touchdowns and 5,970 passing yards.

After signing Waters and another Iowan in the 2013 class, Kansas State has only signed one Iowan from 2014-2018.


After the odd timing of Bob Stoops’ retirement, Lincoln Riley took the reins at Oklahoma in 2017. With only one recruiting class as a head coach under his belt, Riley and his staff primarily added talent from Texas and Oklahoma, while rounding out the class with players from Florida, California, Missouri, Ohio and Tennessee.

Oklahoma’s class of 2019 looks to be shaping up with a Texas-heavy approach. Oklahoma has eight commitments from Texas and five other commitments — each from a different state.

Riley — a Muleshoe, Texas native — has Texas roots, graduating from Texas Tech and coaching in Lubbock for seven seasons.

Oklahoma State

Mike Gundy has spent the last 14 years recruiting in the Big 12. Oklahoma State’s recruiting results reflect the importance that Gundy has put on the state of Texas, with over half of his recruits coming from the Lone Star State.

When Gundy took over as the head coach of the Cowboys in January 2005, he had a quick turnaround to sign his recruiting class. In a press release, Gundy noted the importance of his staff working quickly and highlighted their ties to Texas.

“I was able to see how quickly they worked, and the relationships they had in the Texas area,” Gundy said in the release. “I thought we did very well for how far behind we were.”

Gundy also pointed out in the release his assistant coach Joe DeForest’s relationships cultivated in the Dallas and Houston areas.


It’s safe to say Gary Patterson likes Texas recruits. Over 75 percent of Patterson’s signees since his hire back in 2000 have been Texans.

Starting out as a head coach, Patterson stayed inside his Texas bubble. Patterson’s first three class at TCU featured only three non-Texas signees. In his first five seasons, Patterson signed players from only five states.

Fast-forward to the last five years, and Patterson’s geographic diversity has expanded. Illinois, Washington, Alaska, Connecticut and other states have popped up on TCU’s signing days, but Texas has still been the heavy-hitter in the Horned Frogs’ classes.

Another nearly untouched state for Patterson in the past has been Iowa. The class of 2019 received a commitment from Lewis Central prospect Max Duggan — the second-best player in Iowa and the 10th-best quarterback according to 247Sports.


Texas is back!

Well, its recruiting is anyway.

Tom Herman signed the third-best class in the country in 2018, a class that included 19 Texans. While the Longhorns stayed in-state for most of the class, Herman snagged players from five other states, just like in his first class with Texas.

The 2019 class has kicked off with six Texans, a pair of Arizonians, a Georgian and a Californian.

Texas Tech

Kliff Kingsbury grew up in Texas and went to high school in Texas. He played college football at Texas Tech.

After a five-year professional career, he joined the Houston coaching staff and coached Case Keenum. In 2012, Kingsbury joined Texas A&M’s coaching staff and coached Johnny Manziel.

Since 2013, Kingsbury has been back in Lubbock as a head coach. It’s clear that Kingsbury knows a thing or two about the state of Texas, and it shows in his recruiting.

The fewest Texas signees Kingsbury has had in one class is 13. The most non-Texas signees in a single class is five. In the 2018 class, Kingsbury and his staff has leaned even more into the Texas pipeline.

Texas Tech signed 16 players from Texas and one from Oklahoma in the 2018 class. Right now, the class of 2019 has 11 commitments — all from Texas.

West Virginia

West Virgina is in the same boat as Iowa State in the sense that it doesn’t have close proximity to Texas. As a result, Dana Holgorsen and his staff have signed players from all over the map.

While the state of Texas has been limited to 11 signees for West Virginia under Holgorsen, Florida has stepped in as the top dog in Mountaineer recruiting.

The Sunshine State leads the way with 39 signees. Ohio and West Virginia account for 30 players each, and Pennsylvania adds 29 more signees.

West Virginia is the most diverse (geographically speaking) in the Big 12 for recruiting, utilizing 26 states and Washington D.C. to find players.

Looking ahead, the Mountaineers have five commitments in the class of 2019, and all are from different states.