Big 12 fights to protect its home turf

Recruiting is the lifeblood of every program in the country, and every conference has its strengths and weaknesses when it comes to landing top prospects. In the start of a weeklong series, we'll examine the BCS conferences plus Notre Dame to find each's strength, the biggest obstacle each faces and the overall view of the conference. The Big 12 is up Thursday.

Biggest obstacle: Texas is one of the top states in the country for producing recruits, which is great considering it's in the heart of the Big 12. The problem is that Big 12 teams not only have to fight one another for those prospects, but programs from around the country recruit Texas hard as well. For the 2013 recruiting cycle, the conference signed roughly 170 high school prospects, and 102 were out of Texas. Think about that: One state supplied 60 percent of the prospects signed within the entire Big 12. If you take newest member West Virginia -- which is not only new to the conference but also not a part of that region -- out of the mix, then a staggering 66 percent of the prospects signed among nine of the teams in the conference came out of just one state. Four of the teams in the conference are based in Texas, and while the states that the other six programs in the conference call home produce some good prospects as well, none can rely heavily on just in-state talent to build their classes from year to year. As a result, almost the entire conference often depends heavily on the talent from one state.