Articles

Blogging about college football by an Oklahoma Sooners fan.

Sooners Recruiting Update: A slew of new commits

The Sooners enjoyed a flurry of verbal commitments last month with the coaches out on road almost all of May. They handed out lots of new offers, leading to four new pledges.

New offensive line coach Bill Bedenbaugh secured his first high-school verbal in Alex Dalton from Ohio. Dalton was also recruited by Bedenbaugh at WVU. He is an excellent offensive guard/center prospect for OU. He’s extremely physical and mobile and could really project anywhere on the OU OL. Ideally, he will be the future OU center after Ty Darlington leaves Norman. Dalton is now in the 280-285 range, but he easily looks like he could carry 300.

Most of the Big Ten offered Dalton, and before he looked like he was heading to Norman, Stanford was pushing hard for him. You had to like OU’s chances when Dalton visited Norman for a second time this spring. In fact, many recruiting analysts were expecting a commitment at the time. When weeks went by without a verbal, it looked like Dalton was perhaps going elsewhere. It appeared that Dalton was simply waiting for Bedenbaugh’s scheduled visit to his high school.

The other verbals were created by a slew of new offers sent out in late April and May after the coaches hit the road to do more in person evaluations.

If there’s one theme in Texas recruiting this cycle, it’s the amazing depth at the DB position. Mike Stoops has made a bunch of offers. Even though he is still waiting on a number of big-time kids, that didn’t stop Mike from offering Marcus Green from Cedar Hill. Green is a classic big CB for Mike’s defense. He’s 6-1 with long arms and excellent mobility. Mike thinks he’s a top CB prospect, and the hype on Green was just starting when OU offered. Green verbaled to OU and should be on campus for OU’s summer camp sessions.

If Green was from familiar territory, then Tito Windham’s offer and verbal were a big surprise. OU has offered any number of SEC area kids before, but usually they have come from Florida, Georgia, or Louisiana – Windham hails from Mississippi. Windham, who had been flying under the radar with only a Mississippi State offer, jumped on his Sooner offer. Now the name brands are starting to realize Mike just stole a big-time kid. Windham just received an offer from FSU.

Windham is very physical on tape, and he looks like he could be a CB or free safety. His height listings are all over the place, but Windham looks like a great athlete and defender. Like Green, he’s under the ranking radar right now, but just wait.

After spring ball ended, new tight ends coach Jay Boulware after finally had a chance to get out of Norman and start making some evaluations and offers.

Carson Meier at Tulsa Union was a name that was starting to get serious buzz. Meier on film looks to be an ideal prospect for the position – athletic enough to be effective downfield but also shows a physicality and willingness to block. He’s an excellent basketball player, too, and those highlights show a very fluid athletic player with a great frame. Meier checks in at 6-7, 220 right now, but he easily looks like he could carry 245-250 while keeping his speed.

It’s hard to believe that Meier was flying under the radar at a school like Union, but he was. I really think Boulware/Norvell realized that on tape Meier was as good as the kids they were offering nationally.

2014 Verbal Commitments: 4
(Class size: 22-24)

Dallis Todd, WR
(6-5, 210, 4.5)

Vontre McQuinnie, DB
(6-1, 200, 4.6)

Samaje Perine, RB
(5-11, 225. 4.45)

Justice Hansen, QB
(6-4, 200, 4.6)

Carson Meier, TE
(6-7, 220, 4.7)

Marcus Green, DB
(6-1, 175, 4.6)

Tito Windham, DB
(5-11, 180)

Alex Dalton, OL
(6-4, 280)

Offers continue to fly out the door for the 2014 class. In addition, even more 2015 offers are being sent out by OU to national and regional prospects.

OU is aggressively recruiting Texas and nationally. The staff members are doing more in-person evaluations nationally than ever before. That’s how Mike found Windham before the rest of the SEC. The four new verbals give OU excellent momentum heading into this weekend's summer camp sessions, which usually leads to new offers and new discoveries, player-wise. OU could easily land another two or three verbals by mid-June from this camp activity. In addition, there are number of big-time prospects who will visit Norman but not go thru the camp. Again, that could lead to another two or three more verbals.

It’s not unrealistic to think that the commitment number could be 14 to 16 by July 1.

Recruiting Baker’s Dozen

1. Solomon Thomas – Top DL target.

2. Garrett Myles – After Thomas, perhaps the top DE prospect in Texas.

3. Michiah Quick – Best cornerback target for OU.

4. Ty Barrett – Big offensive tackle whose rankings are about to explode.

5. Andrew Williams – Jerry Montgomery’s best out-of-state target.

6. Garrard McDowell – Might be the highest-rated DT on the OU board.

7. Jovan Pruitt – Other big Dallas-area OT.

8. Steven Parker – Elite defensive back out of Jenks.

9. Joe Mixon – RB is not really a huge need, but Mixon is that highly rated.

10. Dwight Williams – Arguably the best LB on the board for OU.

11. Jamal Adams – Best safety on the board for OU.

12. Christian Sam – OU’s top LB target in Texas at this point.

13. Nathan Starks – Status unclear following disciplinary issues.

Class Breakdown

Quarterback: 1

Done with the pledge from Hansen.

Running Back: 2

OU has one RB in the fold and will likely take the next big-time RB and call it a day.

The remaining RB spot got very interesting the last four weeks. Nathan Starks got expelled from Bishop Gorman in Las Vegas, and it’s unclear where he will play his senior year. Right now, he still has an OU offer.

Joe Mixon is tearing it up at camp events and is a five-star lock for most services.

Running backs coach Cale Gundy probably has three or four other big-time RBs on speed dial if both of these kids end up elsewhere, but, right now, these are the kids to track.

If I was Starks, with the off-the-field issues going on, I’d leap on that OU offer right now.

Nathan Starks (6-0, 210, 4.45) – It’s about time that OU signed a great RB from Bishop Gorman again. Starks is that RB. He has been very clear that OU is one of his favorites and that Murray is one of his favorite RBs. A very possible five-star RB.

Joe Mixon (6-1, 190, 4.45) – Any RB who wears 28 and wants folks to call him "the next Adrian Peterson" is probably interested in hearing from OU. Mixon has an OU offer and is excellent RB with home run speed. Like Starks, he has a number of big-time offers.

Wide Receiver: 3?

One outside WR has verbaled. One slot WR spot is open with the loss of Foreman. Does that leave one more opening for a WR? Does OU take Andrews and worry about his position later?

Norvell almost has an embarrassment of riches at his recruiting position. Mead’s recruiting rep has blown up completely as more folks look at that film and drool at the thought of Mead at 6-6, 205 catching everything in sight. Brown might pull the trigger for OU while other kids are weighing visits.

I’m glad Norvell will have to figure out who to take and who to stop recruiting.

Jeffrey Mead (6-7, 170, 4.6) – Is Mead a basketball player or a football player? His junior year showed a tall WR with great hands and excellent speed who was a consistent mismatch against smaller DBs. Mead has a tough call on which sport to play, but his potential at WR is bringing in national offers from everyone. He could be a Dorial Green-Beckham-type talent at WR down the road. The ceiling is that high.

K.D. Cannon (6-0, 170, 4.4) – Best WR in Texas? Cannon is a legit contender for that crown. Extremely fast and elusive, Cannon would make an awesome slot WR for the Sooners.

Keenen Brown (6-3, 185, 4.5) – Right behind Cannon/Foreman in terms of Texas WR rankings. He has the flexibility to play inside or outside for OU. A very polished WR prospect.

Dorian Leonard (6-5, 190, 4.5) – Malcolm Kelly redux? Leonard looks great on film. He's a big, fluid athlete making those big down field catches that Kelly did so well in 2006/2007. Has an OU offer.

Mark Andrews (6-7, 226, 4.6) – Huge WR/TE who has been very public about his interest in OU. Andrews on film looks like an excellent big WR, but you have to wonder if a natural move to TE is in his future.

Corey Holmes (6-3, 180, 4.4) - This Florida receiver just received his OU offer and again seems very interested in OU. Montgomery looks like the coach who pushed the OU offer to Holmes. Holmes has a nice blend of agility, top-end speed and height. He just had a great visit to Norman, and a verbal is not out of the question.

Offensive Line: 5 (at least)

Bedenbaugh is hitting the ground running big time, including scholarship offers in Texas and nationally. Offers have gone out to top JUCO OTs, indicating how high a priority OU is making OL this year. JUCO offers in February provide yet another example of “Total Recruiting.”

Bedenbaugh is aggressively recruiting OL at a pace not seen in Norman in a long time. OU badly needs linemen, so the usual first-year break-in period for new assistants cannot be afforded.

OU appears to be leading on Barrett, and maybe Pruitt. The Sooners are also in the top three for Braden Smith and Roderick Johnson, as well as new offer Connor Mayes. Also, Bedenbaugh looks like he wants two JUCO prospects for depth and talent upgrade.

Ty Barrett (6-5, 295, 5.2) – Athletic tackle prospect from Dallas Skyline. OU has numerous players from Skyline. Just visited for junior day and has an OU offer. His profile is on the rise and Bedenbaugh has made him a priority.

Braden Smith (6-6, 275, 5.0) – Nationally ranked OL prospect who starred last summer at the OU summer camp where he was probably the top prospect. OU will be in the hunt, but all the big powers have offered Smith. His recruiting is dead quiet.

Jovan Pruitt (6-6, 290, 5.2) – Recently offered by OU and Notre Dame. Huge-framed kid looks a little stiff in his stance, but he shows some power on film. Like Barrett, Bedenbaugh has quickly made Pruitt a recruiting priority.

Denzel Ward (6-9, 290, 5.2) – Has already committed to visiting Norman this fall. Huge frame with incredible agility. Has a sky high ceiiing.

Natrell Curtis (6-3, 285) – Teammate of UCLA signee Kenny Lacy. OU has offered along with host of Pac 12 schools. Just excelled at a recent all star camp. Might be the best OG prospect on the board.

Roderick Johnson (6-7, 300, 5.2) – If not for Andy Bauer (Ole Miss commit), Johnson would be getting more publicity as the best OL in Missouri.

Dontavius Blair (6-8, 300, 5.2) – Kansas JUCO already visited OU during a spring tour of schools. OU has already offered, and he looks like he will graduate by December.

Patrick Au (6-10, 360, 5.5) – Utah Juco. Massive athlete who is starting to receive some attention. Needs to drop some bad weight but the potential is there.

Connor Mayes (6-5, 320, 5.3) – Mayes is a recent offer who looks like an ideal interior mauler for the OU offense. He also played some center, but OU probably wants him at guard.

Frank Kee (6-4, 335, 5.3) – Texas JUCO. Kee, along with Dionte Savage from last year, would provide some serious size and depth inside at OG with Tyler Evans and Bronson Irwin being seniors. Kee is a mid-term graduate and is very interested in OU.

Tight End: 2?

OU struck out at TE in 2013, but the Sooners now have Meier. Getting him in the fold allows Boulware to be aggressive with other prospects. If OU gets Koda Martin, then I think that OU would still go after a third TE, because Martin could easily end up at OT. An ideal three-player class would be Meier, Mavin Saunders and Martin.

Will OU offer a JUCO TE ? Boulware might wait to see how Grant and McNamara fare this fall. Trevor Wood from Arizona is another name at TE to track if OU misses out on Martin.

Koda Martin (6-6, 250, 4.8) – Looking for a big prototype blocking TE? Martin is it. Last year he started showing some receiving skills as well. The only question is: Like Eric Winston, does he grow into an elite mobile OT or stay at TE?

Tyler Luatua (6-4, 230, 4.6) – Lautua could be used as an H-back in the OU scheme. Physical blocker, but also an excellent pass receiver. The entire nation is after Luatua, but maybe OU’s new verbal and teammate of Lautua can help OU get a visit.

Mavin Saunders (6-5, 225. 4.6) – Big WR who projects at TE in college. Huge frame and excellent speed. Very underrated based on his footage. Only started playing football last year.

Deandre Goolsby (6-5, 230, 4.7) – I think OU has been late offering Goolsby due to his KSU connections. OU has now offered, and he seems very interested, but you have to wonder if the KSU legacy can be overcome. Looks like a very athletic pass-catching TE prospect.

Trevor Wood (6-6, 235, 4.7) – Very physical TE who also plays DE. Great frame and excellent athleticism.

Defensive Tackle: 2

The Sooners are not quite in the desperate place for DTs that they were in with the 2013 class. Still, you’d like to see OU sign a top DT every year. No prospects in Oklahoma right now, and Texas does not look to have a deep pool of candidates.

OU lost out on Jaycoven Henderson to TCU with the DT coaching position change, as well as Trey Lealaimatafao and Courtney Garnett.

Some new names have surfaced from Texas and Louisiana. It’s not a great year overall for DTs, so Montgomery will continue to evaluate kids.

Peyton Newell (6-3, 275, 4.7) – Like Solomon Thomas, another big body that could be a 3-4 DE or bulk up to be a 4-3 DT. He’s received his OU offer, and OU visit is very likely.

Travonte Valentine (6-3, 285, 4.9) – Valentine has verbaled to Louisville and now Florida, but he has an OU offer as well.

D.J. Williams (6-2, 290, 4.9) – Recent OU offer at DT. He’s right now still working on his technique at DT, but might be a better athlete than some of the other Texas DTs verbaled elsewhere.

Garrald McDowell (6-3, 265, 4.8) – McDowell seems very interested in OU and a summer visits could happen. McDowell is a little light for DT right now, but has a nice frame and is very explosive on video.

Defensive End: 2

OU signed an excellent three-player DE class in 2013, but I’m guessing Montgomery still has the green light to add two top-flight DEs if he can find them. OU has offers out to national targets like DaShawn Hand, but I don’t see it going anywhere. Deondre Clark’s desire to go out of state will probably mean that OU loses out on the best in-state DE. Montgomery seems to have OU firmly in the hunt for both Thomas and Garrett. Montgomery has made some additional offers at DE in Texas as he finds more prospects.

Solomon Thomas (6-3, 260, 4.8) – Probably the top overall DL prospect in Texas. Thomas could be a 3-4 DE or possibly grow into a DT. OU has offered, and he just visited for junior day. He has now visited two times in the last month. Very impressive film.

Josh Malin (6-5, 260, 4.75) – Probably the top big DE after Solomon Thomas. Like Thomas, Malin could grow into an athletic DT.

Myles Garrett (6-4, 230, 4.7) – After Thomas, Garrett is getting a lot of attention as the next best DE.

Deondre Clark (6-4, 240, 4.8) – After Justice Hansen, Clark is probably the top prospect in OK. Unfortunately, he has a brother at OSU playing basketball and seems very interested in LSU. OU is recruiting him and has offered, but he seems focused elsewhere.

Andrew Williams (6-4, 245, 4.6) – Your usual elite SEC type DE prospect. Williams has made a real connection with Montgomery. OU looks likely to receive a visit.

Justin Hollins (6-5, 210, 4.55) – New name that is starting to get a lot of new offers. Has tremendous frame and athleticism to play 3-4 OLB/4-3 DE.

Grant Blankenship (6-5, 230, 4.7) – Another physical DE prospect on film. Shows a nice burst off the line. OU just recently offered. Does a nice job handling the run on video as well as pass rushing.

Linebacker: At least 3

Last year it was DTs. This year’s desperate recruiting position that has the message boards worried a year before signing day is LB. Tim Kish has already been labeled by some as a disaster.

Other than Sam, I’m not sure who OU leads on at LB. There are targets in Illinois and California, and all keep talking about visiting, but none of them have OU out in front right now. Just one of those prospects would make this LB a success.

Niles Morgan (6-2, 215 4.5) – OU has already offered this speedy physical OLB. OU has a connection back to David Smith, so a visit is not out of the question. Has a lot of big-time offers.

Christian Sam (6-2, 205, 4.5) – Just visited for OU’s first junior day. No offer yet, but his film is excellent.

Clifton Garrett (6-2, 225, 4.6) – If Morgan is the speed LB from Illinois, then Garrett is the power LB. The entire Big Ten has offered him. OU has offered, and a visit would not be a surprise.

Dwight Williams (6-3, 215, 4.55) – Might be the best OLB in California. Shows excellent power, burst, and pursuit. Seems interested in his OU offer.

Tay Evans (6-3, 210, 4.55) – Teammate of Sam and son of former OU hoops player Bobby Joe Evans. Evans is recovering from an shoulder injury but on film with his frame might have a higher upside than Sam.

Defensive Back: 5-6

This might be the best and deepest talent pool of DBs from Texas in forever. In addition, OU has targets in the SEC, Arizona and California. Quick and Parker are the two top targets, as well as best big safety that OU can find. Also, OU hopes to bring Tee Shepard on campus in January if Shepard gets the NCAA ruling that he needs.

Nick Watkins (6-1, 185, 4.5) – Best big CB in Texas? His offer list (OU included) sure lends credence to that statement.

Nick Harvey (5-11, 180, 4.5) – Might be the best CB in Texas. Verbaled to Texas A&M. OU will try to get him on campus for a junior day.

Tony Brown (6-1, 180, 4.5) – Okay, Brown might be the best DB in Texas. OU offer, but he is rumored to be a lean to LSU.

Steven Parker (6-2, 185, 4.5) – Best DB prospect in Oklahoma. Has an OU offer and was a star at the OU summer camp.

Michiah Quick (6-0, 175, 4.4) – Despite his HS having three big-time DBs just sign LOIs, Quick might be the best one overall. After signing Hatari Byrd and L.J. Moore, OU will be all over this California offer.

Jamal Adams (6-1, 190, 4.5) – Both OU and UT are after this big, talented safety. Might be the best safety in Texas.

John Bonney (6-0, 185, 4.5) – OU offer out of the Houston area. He has not visited yet for a junior day.

Tyler Whiley (6-1, 190, 4.5) – Big CB prospect that seems very interested in OU. Would be a huge pickup for Kish/Mike from their former recruiting territory.

Courtland Sutton (6-3, 200, 4.5) – Looks like he could be an elite center field free safety or bulk up to play OLB. His film is very good.

Payton Hendrix (6-3, 190, 4.5) – Teammate of Watkins. Hendrix probably would make an ideal safety with excellent speed and range for the OU defense. Moved to Bishop Dunne his senior year.