Some recruiting misses hurt more than others, Notably, the long courtships that end in disappointment tend to sting most. To compound the pain, it’s no fun, as a fan or coach, to watch that former promising prospect wear your rival’s uniform -- or worse yet, impact conference games in your stadium.
As the offseason turns toward August and high school graduation ceremonies fill calendars nationally, many Big 12 programs are planning to make use of those rising freshmen.
Newcomers will encounter familiar faces on the opposing sidelines. And yes, painful memories will follow. For the purpose of this exercise, we’re looking only at Big 12 recruiting misses that benefited other league programs.
Oklahoma isn’t scheduled to meet Florida State during the career of defensive tackle Marvin Wilson. In the regular season, at least, Texas won’t face LSU and defensive end K'Lavon Chaisson or UCLA during the career of offensive tackle Stephan Zabie.
The following players, though, will regularly receive opportunities to torment the programs that once invested in their recruitment:
TCU WR Jalen Reagor: Perhaps the most exciting player to sign with a Big 12 program in 2017, Reagor brings to the league a long history with several of the Horned Frogs’ rivals. Out of Waxahachie, Texas, he was an early commitment to Texas Tech and flipped to Oklahoma in March 2016.
An Under Armour All-American and the 43rd-ranked player in the ESPN 300, Reagor settled on TCU in October after taking official visits to the campuses in Fort Worth and Norman. He picked the Frogs, in part, because of TCU's proximity to home and the opportunity to keep playing with high school teammate Kenedy Snell.
The Sooners later returned the favor by flipping defensive tackle and former TCU commit Tyreece Lott. But OU won’t soon forget its recruiting dance with Reagor. The schedule each season, in fact, won’t allow it.
Oklahoma OT Adrian Ealy: Kansas has already experienced significant success in the current recruiting cycle. It ranks among the top 25 in gathering commitments for the Class of 2018. And momentum in recruiting began early under third-year coach David Beaty.
Boosted by the Louisiana connections of associate head coach Tony Hull, the Jayhawks scored an official visit from the 6-foot-6, 285-pound Ealy in December before he picked the Sooners over KU, Florida State, LSU, Michigan, Texas and others. Kansas doesn’t finish among the top group with many eventual OU signees, so this one hurt a bit.
Kansas State DB Elijah Walker: The No. 26-rated juco prospect nationally out of Cerritos (California) College, Walker flirted late with Texas Tech and TCU before reaffirming his commitment to the Wildcats in January. A seemingly ready-made contributor, he could have bolstered TCU’s strong group at safety or provided important help for the Red Raiders at an area of need in the secondary.
Instead, Walker figures to fit immediately in Manhattan among a defensive backfield that enters the season 2017 as the best in the Big 12.
TCU DB Michael Onyemaobi: Iowa State secured a September official visit from Onyemaobi, once a Cal commit whose interest waned in the Bears’ after the firing of coach Sonny Dykes. The Cyclones developed a strong relationship with the Californian and appeared in decent shape despite a strong push from Nebraska.
But when Dykes joined Gary Patterson’s staff in January as analyst, the tables began to tip toward the Horned Frogs -- and a potential solid addition to the Iowa State secondary was lost.
Baylor OL Xavier Newman: First-year Baylor coach Matt Rhule needed to make an immediate impact on the recruiting trail. And he did, flipping a small army of prospects, including receivers R.J. Sneed and Trestan Ebner from TCU. The landing of Newman was notable, too, for his past allegiances. The No. 2-ranked center nationally out of DeSoto, Texas, Newman decommitted from Texas in October and pledged to Colorado.
Tight ends coach Joey McGuire, the former coach at Cedar Hill High School whom Rhule plucked from Texas’ backyard, sealed the deal with Newman.
Honorable mention: All of the Oklahoma State former pledges who will play elsewhere in the Big 12, headlined by linebacker Levi Draper, who defected from the Cowboys more than a year before signing day to commit to Oklahoma. Others include Texas Tech defensive end Nelson Mbanasor, Texas offensive tackle Derek Kerstetter, Kansas State defensive end Spencer Misko and Baylor tight end Tyler Henderson.