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Head-to-Head Recruiting Battles: Big 12

The Huskies have had some trouble going against the elite in Texas

San Jose State v Texas Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images

This is part three in a look at Washington’s primary recruiting rivals across the rest of the power conferences. Check out the previous two entries on the Big 10 and the ACC.

Just in case though here’s a description of what’s included in each section below. There are a couple of key numbers for each program. The first will be the number of total commitments that each program landed that had offers from both. That informs their head-to-head percentage (H2H%) which is the percent of prospects each school lands out of the total that ended up at either program. Usually most players end up somewhere other than those two schools though so the listed overall percentage is the number of commits divided by the total number of players with offers from each school.

For Washington’s section I list how many commitments the Huskies have gotten from outside the West region that also have an offer from the other school. Conversely I also list how many players that school has gotten a commitment from inside the West region that also have an offer from Washington. Finally the average rating is the average of the 247 Sports composite rating for each player that signs with each school.

Texas Longhorns

Washington Commits- 7, average rating 0.9369, H2H 25.9, Overall 5.6%

Notable Recruits: Byron Murphy

Commits Outside West Region: 0/71

Texas Commits- 20, average rating, 0.9182, H2H 74.1%, Overall 16.1%

Notable Recruits: Chris Warren III, Kennedy Lewis

Commits Inside West Region: 4/53

No team has had recruiting success against Washington to quite the same extent of Texas. And there’s good reason for that. The Longhorns are in a prolonged period of failing to meet expectations but they are still the kings of their own domain on the recruiting trail. Almost half of their offers come in state and if they do get beat out for a target they want it’s essentially never by Washington.

Compared to some of the past conferences that we’ve covered in this series the Big 12 numbers overall are much closer. The primary reason for that is Washington tends to win the majority of their battles in the West region. The only place where they spend a large amount of time and don’t consistently win is in Texas. The prospects they have brought in from there are also generally not of a high enough caliber for the major programs in the state to care. Washington is the thief in the night trying to steal a loaf of bread while Texas and Texas A&M are sleeping as you’ll see in the feature battle section.

And even when they seem like they’re going to finally break the losing streak on the recruiting trail the Huskies have a coin flip go against them. Literally for those of you who don’t remember Chris Warren’s recruitment.

Washington has already handed out 17 offers in the state of Texas for the class of 2021 and we’ll see if they’re able to get their luck going against Longhorns to change under Jimmy Lake’s watch.

Feature Battle: WR Kennedy Lewis- 3 stars, 0.8709. Sammamish, Washington.

The Huskies were desperate for help at the wide receiver position in the class of 2019. They picked up an early commitment from Taj Davis but more reinforcements were needed. Puka Nacua at the time was still committed to USC. Joe Ngata had turned down the opportunity to play with his older brother to head to Clemson. Washington was seen as early favorites for both Mycah Pittman and Josh Delgado but each eventually opted for Oregon. Kyle Ford was still a potential option but USC seemed to be gaining momentum on that front.

Kennedy Lewis out of Texas committed to in-state option TCU in June but decided to open things back up in October. He seemed like exactly the kind of big bodied physical outside receiver the Huskies were missing. Lewis took an official visit just before signing day to Washington and it seemed the Dawgs were in great shape.

But then Texas had one of their wide receivers decommit and opened up a spot. They reached out to Lewis and gave him an offer and he instantly jumped at the chance and signed a few days later with the Longhorns. Things worked out in the end for Washington as they were able to snag Puka Nacua but it showed once again that the Huskies just don’t have the cachet necessary to go toe-to-toe with the burnt orange. Don’t mess with Texas indeed.

Oklahoma Sooners

Washington Commits- 18, average rating 0.9228, H2H 43.9%, Overall 7.9%

Notable Recruits: Rome Odunze, Jacobe Covington, Geirean Hatchett

Commits Outside West Region: 2/87

Oklahoma Commits- 23, average rating, 0.9203, H2H 56.1%, Overall 10.1%

Notable Recruits: Addison Gumbs, Jeremiah Criddell

Commits Inside West Region: 11/141

This is another recruiting rivalry that has seen a dramatic shift over the past 3 recruiting classes. From 2014-2017 the Sooners held a dominant 16-7 edge over the Huskies when each had offered the same prospect. It was impressive that Washington managed to sneak in and grab Levi Onwuzurike out of Texas over Oklahoma but for the most part they scrambled to hold on to a few key players out of their strongholds of Washington and California.

Things have definitely flipped with UW sporting an 11-7 edge since then. Considering how often the two school have both been involved it’s a little surprising there haven’t been more truly head to head battles between them. Things seemed to heat up in the 2020 class and we’ll see if Washington continues to butt heads more in the near future.

Feature Battle: WR Rome Odunze- 4 stars, 0.9178. Las Vegas, Nevada

It was clear that Junior Adams saw something in Rome Odunze early as he was the first offer the new Husky WR coach handed out after taking the job at Washington. At the time Odunze was viewed as raw prospect and a mid 3-star level prospect by most major recruiting services. However he was dominant on the camp circuit over the winter and things peaked in May when Odunze gained offers from both Alabama and Oklahoma in the same week.

Things solidified into a Washington versus Oklahoma battle as time wore on and Odunze stated that he wanted to make a decision before his senior season began. Rome took an unofficial visit to Norman on July 27th in order to see if it could blow him away and dissuade him of his lean to the Huskies. It didn’t despite their impressive offensive pedigree and 2 weeks later he verbally committed to Washington and held firm despite the coaching change in December.

TCU Horned Frogs

Washington Commits- 13, average rating 0.9278, H2H 66.7%, Overall 7.5%

Notable Recruits: Levi Onwuzurike, Victor Curne

Commits Outside West Region: 0/88

TCU Commits- 7, average rating, 0.9360, H2H 33.3%, Overall 3.8%

Notable Recruits: Ben Wilson

Commits Inside West Region: 2/153

Texas and Oklahoma are the only schools able to consistently compete on the west coast for elite prospects and so there’s a significant drop off between #2 and #3 on this list. There have obviously been individual seasons where TCU is a national power but for the most part they are a clear tier below Texas and Oklahoma, especially on the recruiting trail.

Since the Huskies have had to doge the big boys when wandering into Texas it has led them into conflict with TCU quite a bit who also relies on that next tier of Texan recruits. The Horned Frogs have been able to reel in a few 4-star recruits in-state when Washington has poked their nose in but for the most part it has been fairly smooth sailing for the Huskies.

Feature Battle: OL Victor Curne- 3 stars, 0.8689. Houston, TX.

As you’d expect it was a local school that became the first to get a good look at Curne. TCU had Victor come in as part of their junior day in January, 2017 and at the end of the camp gave him his first power conference offer. Things steadily picked up for him over the next few months with schools like Missouri, Utah, and Baylor also getting involved.

Washington was relatively late to the party and only extended an official offer to Curne at the beginning of June. Still, they managed to get him on campus for an unofficial visit a month later and it instantly vaulted the Dawgs to the top of his list. Luckily he didn’t take much time to re-think that decision and about 6 weeks after getting his offer he committed to Washington.

Oklahoma State Cowboys: Washington- 9, Oklahoma State- 7

In terms of overall number of recruits things are relatively even but the average Washington prospect has had a 92 rating versus an 88 for the Oklahoma State crew. Looking at the list of names who sided with OSU includes guys who were backup options for the Huskies or Texas recruits the Dawgs never got in the door with.

Kansas State Wildcats: Washington- 12, Kansas State- 2

I think it’s safe to say that the Huskies usually don’t consider Kansas State to be a major obstacle in recruiting. DT Matthew Pola-Mao sided with the Wildcats in the class of 2019 out of Arizona but that was when the Huskies filled up at the position with Tuitele, Bandes, Pa’ama, and Ngalu.

Kansas Jayhawks: Washington- 14, Kansas- 0

Finally! This is the first clean sweep in Washington’s favor we’ve come across. The Jayhawks are the bottom rung of the FBS power conference recruiting power rankings and this is why. Apologies to a family member that is an ex-Kansas QB. Sorry Jack, you know it’s true.

Texas Tech Red Raiders: Washington- 7, Texas Tech- 6

Baylor Bears: Washington- 5, Baylor- 5

Iowa State Cyclones: Washington- 8, Iowa State- 2

West Virginia Mountaineers- Washington- 1, West Virginia- 1