Changing tides on Big 12 recruiting trail

Colleague Mitch Sherman knows his way around recruiting in the Midwest and Texas, and wrote this week about the Big 12's recent recruiting struggles, headlined by Texas and Oklahoma signing underwhelming classes.

In 2011, UT signed the nation's fifth-rated recruiting class. It featured five of the top 10 prospects in the state of Texas. Of the five in the top 10 who went elsewhere, the Longhorns offered just one -- running back Aaron Green, who followed his brother, Andrew, to Nebraska, and transferred a year later to TCU.

Two weeks ago, Texas' class, which ranked 15th nationally yet was tops in the Big 12 -- generally regarded as its worst on signing day since 2005 -- included just two of the top 14 prospects in Texas. It offered and missed on five of the state's top nine recruits and suffered pride-swallowing decommitments early to Texas A&M (receiver Ricky Seals-Jones of Sealy) and late to Alabama (defensive tackle A'Shawn Robinson of Arlington Heights).

[...] The Sooners, on the heels of their 41-13 loss to Texas A&M in the Cotton Bowl, signed a class that finished 16th nationally, their lowest class ranking since 2007 when they finished outside the top 25.

That's obviously got to be a concern. The interesting part for me is how they can turn it around and reassume their spot as Big 12 powers the rest of the league is forced to look up to. Can either team do it without a boost in recruiting, and thus, see a boost in recruiting as a result?

Or does it have to see a recruiting boost in order to re-assume their positions as national powers?

Recruiting is always a bit of a chicken versus egg situation, but a more interesting debate, too, is whether the Big 12 is better off when Texas and Oklahoma are dominant. I would argue that in some ways, yes, because they have the quality athletes that give the Big 12 its best chance at a national title.

However, without K-State and Oklahoma State winning Big 12 titles and UT and OU marching through the conference season easily, the league schedule is a whole lot less interesting.

Now, we're seeing how that recent slide plays out on the recruiting trail.