AP Sports Writer
Oklahoma is off and running with another highly touted recruiting class. Baylor added a quartet of players to keep throwing.
Texas put together another strong class after a coaching change, and Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy again had a good signing day.
All in all, it was a good Wednesday for the Big 12, a league that Scout.com listed as the second-best among all conferences behind only the powerhouse SEC.
TCU signed a school-record five four-star recruits, all of them on offense as the Horned Frogs make changes with two new co-offensive coordinators.
West Virginia keeps restocking with players from the small western Pennsylvania town of Aliquippa, in the shadow of longtime rival Pittsburgh. Already with a running back from Aliquippa who transferred from Pitt last summer, the Mountaineers signed a cornerback and defensive lineman from the town.
After the departure of three quarterbacks, Texas Tech signed Texas APSE player of the year Patrick Mahomes, the son of a former pro baseball player who had 50 TDs pass and four interceptions as a senior.
Here are five things to know about signing day for Big 12 schools:
BEST CLASS: For the second year in a row, Oklahoma gets top billing in the Big 12. Even coach Bob Stoops, whose team got a big boost with a Sugar Bowl victory over Alabama, called this one of his best classes. "Hard to compare when you're looking at 15 years of doing it, but I feel this ranks right up there with any of them," he said. Running back Joe Mixon is listed as Rivals.com's No. 1 running back and 247sports.com's No. 1 all-purpose back. The Sooners also added 5-foot-11, 238-pound Samaje Perine, another running back who looks ready to play, and height at receiver with three signees who are at least 6-foot-5.
TOP GROUP TO WATCH: Already known for its big-play offense, defending Big 12 champion Baylor's signing class included four receivers from Texas -- KD Cannon from Mount Pleasant, Davion Hall from Texarkana, Chris Platt from Willis and Ishmael Zamora from Houston. Coach Art Briles says unequivocally that is the best such group -- and not only in the Big 12. "If there is a better receiver class in America, then somebody's speaking with fork and tongue, because there's not," Briles said. "There's not four receivers better than who we signed. They're just not out there."
BIGGEST SURPRISE: While a big surprise to everybody else, but not to Iowa State coach Paul Rhoades, highly touted receiver Allen Lazard affirmed his more than year-old commitment to the Cyclones even after continued overtures from schools such as Notre Dame and Iowa. Rhoads began his signing day press conference Wednesday by holding up Lazard's signed letter of intent. The receiver's father played defensive back at Iowa State from 1990-93.
STRONG RE-RECRUITING, GOING OUT: The league's only new coach is Charlie Strong at Texas, and he managed to keep together a solid recruiting class of 23 players. On the weekend that Mack Brown stepped down, just a day after the team banquet, the Longhorns were hosting 17 recruits. Strong was mostly able to re-recruit Brown's class and keep it together. Of note, there are six players from outside of Texas, an unheard of number under Brown the previous 16 years. Brown recruited some of those out-of-state players, but Strong got two late commitments from South Carolina and Florida.
BUILDING IN SUNFLOWER STATE: Kansas and Kansas State both went heavy on junior college players, signing eight each. Coach Bill Snyder and the Wildcats, who lost six senior starters on defense, signed five junior college defenders. The best in that group, linebacker D'Vonta Derricott and defensive tackle Terrell Clinkscales, fill the two biggest holes and should help immediately. Kansas coach Charlie Weis also added two transfers from four-year schools, quarterback T.J. Millweard from UCLA and tight end Kent Taylor from Florida.
Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.