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September 2, 2014

Numbers crunch: TTU keeps rare company

NUMBERS CRUNCH
College football returned in full force over the weekend, and with it, some interesting storylines when viewed through the recruiting lens. Here are 10 numbers that have stories to tell, from Baylor's sparkling debut to Vanderbilt's disaster to Byron Cowart's final five.
0
The number of times Texas Tech has landed a five-star high school prospect.
Wide receiver Tyron Johnson has Texas Tech as one of his top choices.
The possibility for Tyron Johnson to become the first in February certainly exits. The combination of Tech's young coaching staff and the fact that the Red Raiders average 54 passing attempts per game under Kliff Kingsbury certainly helps. As does having No. 2-ranked pro-style quarterback Jarrett Stidham already in the fold for 2015. Will landing Johnson be easy? Not even close. LSU and Clemson are serious contenders. But Johnson says the Red Raiders are near the top of his recruitment and Tech doesn't often brush up against this level of high school prospect, so the situation is notable. Johnson will take his official visit to Lubbock on Sept. 12. It's the only visit he has scheduled.
5
Wins by North Dakota State over FBS teams since the start of the 2010 season.
Kansas, a member of the Big 12 conference, has just six in the same span. North Dakota State's recent run of upset wins, which continued with a 34-14 thumping of Iowa State on Saturday, will probably have little effect on recruiting. The Bison are already clearly the apex predators of the FCS, and recruiting at that level has a celling. A win over the Green Bay Packers isn't going to sway top-flight prospects to consider playing in the division formerly known as 1-AA. Still, maybe top-flight programs should chill on scheduling the Bison. These early-season losses to a school most major recruits know nothing about aren't a particularly good look.
5
Number of schools still alive in the race to land No. 1-ranked prospect Byron Cowart.
Byron Cowart has narrowed his list to five, with three apparent leaders.
Alabama, Florida State, Florida, Oregon and Maryland are the only possible landing spots for Cowart, who recently announced his final five. Florida, Oregon and Florida State seem to be the most likely destinations for the time being. Cowart will announce his decision later this month.
3
Schools in Cowart's final five that have previously landed a top overall prospect.
Alabama landed last cycle's No. 1 Da'Shawn Hand. Florida State signed Ernie Sims in 2003 and Florida has landed the top prize in America twice, picking up Percy Harvin in 2006 as well as Ronald Powell in 2010. Meanwhile, both Clemson and Oregon are still looking to get on the board with a top-ranked player. The Tigers signed No. 2 overall prospect DaQuan Bowers in 2008. The closest the Ducks have come was in 2011, when they signed fifth-ranked De'Anthony Thomas in 2011.
9
Years since Kansas State landed a four-star high school prospect from outside Kansas or a bordering state.
It's a streak that will end in February, assuming currently committed defensive back Duke Shelly from Tucker, Ga., signs with the Wildcats. Shelly would represent the highest ranked player to sign with the program since Missouri-based quarterback Josh Freeman came to K-State in 2006. The commitment represents the inroads defensive backs coach Andre Coleman has made in Georgia. The Wildcats have been snagging players from the Peach State since Coleman arrived and now those relationships are truly blossoming. Snagging an elite prospect from SEC country is no easy task. Talking one into moving to Manhattan, Kan., is even harder. Then again, it seems Coleman is no ordinary recruiter. It's only a matter of time until other programs come knocking.
31
Baylor's highest ever finish in the Rivals.com recruiting rankings.
It's almost certainly a number that will change in the near future. Baylor ranks No. 42 currently, but that isn't as important when you gaze at the aligning stars. The Bears are defending a conference title, boasting yet another Heisman Trophy candidate and playing their games in a brand new stadium. None of those things are the most important factor, though. That, instead, can be summed up by another number.
597.8
Total yards averaged by Baylor over the course of the program's last 30 games.
KD Cannon is one of several weapons Baylor has on offense.
It's the main reason the Bears were able in February to land touted prospect KD Cannon, who caught a long touchdown during his first college game on Sunday. It's also the reason the trickle of major offensive talent dripping into Waco recently could evolve into a full-fledged stream. Cannon is the highest-rated recruit to ever choose the Bears and is also probably just the start. The future at Baylor is as bright as the school's ridiculous neon yellow basketball uniforms.
2,136
Days since Vanderbilt last scored seven or fewer points against a non-SEC opponent.
Add in the fact that Temple went 2-10 a year ago and haven't held any team to seven or fewer points since beating Buffalo 35-0 on Oct. 15 2011, and the panic alive in Nashville is real. It's dangerous to panic too much over one performance in the first game of a new head coach's regime, but perception is reality in recruiting, and things can snowball if prospects start seeing Vandy as a program on the downturn. A year ago, highly regarded prospects were all about anchoring down, but nobody wants to go down with the ship.
19
Vanderbilt's best ever finish in the Rivals recruiting rankings.
And that might just be the mountaintop for now. In a laughably small sample size, Vandy looks to be the anti-Baylor. The good news is there's plenty of time to save face before Signing Day.
11,505
Career passing yards for Washington commit Jake Browning.
Browning, a senior at Folsom (Calif.) High School, broke the California record for career passing yards. Browning also holds the California record for most passing touchdowns in a season (75) and the national record for most completions in a season (440). Browning is a four-star prospect and committed to Washington in April.

Rob Cassidy
Midlands/Southwest Recruiting Analyst



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