Huge recruiting weekend coming up for Oklahoma after beating Notre Dame. OU has a number of big-time kids coming to town, with the whole weekend having a distinctly West Coast feel.
First, you have the Fresno duo of Michiah Quick (top 100 in the nation) and DT Tashon Smallwood, who has dropped USC and is looking for a new school. If Smallwood wasn’t enough for you at DT, then you have California DT and top 100 player in Ainuu Taua. Jerry Montgomery is going to be very busy this weekend.
The offensive side of the ball is not being left out. There's a visit coming from top 100, five-star RB Joe Mixon. Mixon is an elite prospect who seems like a bigger Demarco Murray out of high school - he’s that multi talented. He’s also a huge Adrian Peterson fan, and there’s unconfirmed chatter that AD will be in Norman on Saturday night.
Back to the defensive side of the ball, OU is re-recruiting JUCO OLB Devante Bond, who did not qualify at Miami. Bond (6-3, 235) is a great fit for the new OU scheme to provide a bigger LB presence on the edge. He wasn’t a fit for the 4-2-5 scheme, which would have required him to drop into coverage. Attacking the line of scrimmage on the run and pass rushing from the edge are ideal for him. Watching his film from last year and looking at OU’s new scheme, it’s just a natural fit.
The real recruiting bombshell came from the confirmed visits by Dwight Williams, top 50 talent, and Adoree Jackson, a top 10 talent. Williams and Jackson are teammates at Gardena Sierra HS in California, and both are elite athletes. Williams is an ideal OLB for OU - he can blitz, drop into coverage and is very physical. Jackson could be a lockdown cornerback or a dominating slot WR. I’m not sure where OU really stands with either, but getting early visits during their bye weeks is a great sign.
Overall, we're talking about five of the top 10 players and 7 of the top 100 in California visiting. It’s an absurd amount of talent from one of the best recruiting areas in the country.
2014 Verbal Commitments: 14
(Class size: 25-27)
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
Alex Dalton, OL
Brandon Glenn, DT
(6-4, 269, 4.8)
Jeffrey Mead, WR
Jonathan Alvarez, OG/OC
Tay Evans, LB
Curtis Bolton, LB
Mark Andrews, WR
OU received a somewhat surprising verbal commitment from OG/OC Jonathan Alvarez out of Mesquite, Texas. Alvarez was getting ready to be a major recruiting commodity, but he jumped on his OU offer. He’s playing center this year and is just a nasty, physical interior OL prospect. Combined with Alex Dalton and 2015 commit Josh Wariboko, OU is getting some excellent interior kids to restock the OL.
Alvarez is not highly ranked off his junior year, but watch his ranking soar when he is re-evaluated off senior year film.
(*With fewer than 13 scholarships remaining, just 11 on this list.)
1. Solomon Thomas – Top DL target. Just watch OU’s defense and see that Thomas is an every-down DE for OU.
2. Adoree Jackson – Best CB target OU has on the board. Like Quick, you could easily justify playing him slot WR full-time.
3. Michiah Quick – If OU got Jackson, Quick could be a focus at slot. Or vice versa.
4. Steve Parker – Elite CB or safety for the OU defense.
5. Ainuu Taua – Top five DL prospect from California. In OU’s new scheme, you could play him at DE or DT. He could move inside if playing a 4-2-5. Endless possibilities for multiple looks.
6. Joe Mixon – If Perine is bringing the power game, then Mixon could be the all-around RB doing everything else. Think Jerald Moore/James Allen, but with more speed.
7. Dwight Williams 6-2, 215, 4.5 California – Arguably the best LB on the board for OU. No longer a pipe dream.
8. Tashon Smallwood – OU’s 3-3-5 needs a big penetrating nose tackle. He also easily fits into a 4-3 look.
9. Alan Havili – OU’s other top target at DT.
10. Justin Hollins – Has now visited OU twice. Would make an excellent every-down DE/OLB for OU’s hybrid, anti-spread defense.
11. Ismael Murphy- Richardson – OLB with speed and range from Arizona.
Done with the pledge from Hansen, who is having a great senior year. Big plays in the passing game and making big plays in the QB run game.
Running Back: 2
Mixon has a visited scheduled to OU this weekend, and Nathan Starks seems to have his final list of two or three schools with OU right in the mix. This is really a race to see who grabs the second RB slot if there’s still a position available. Mixon has blown up lately, while off-the-field issues will keep Starks' rankings down, especially if he misses his senior year on the field.
A second RB would be nice, but it’s not a must for OU with the depth on campus. Perine is destroying Texas HS defenses with a yards-per-carry average hovering around 10. His low rankings are just silly. OU signed the best RB in Texas, again.
Nathan Starks (6-0, 210, 4.45) – Starks is waiting on a positive ruling on his transfer to a Denver-area HS in order to play this fall. Starks offers/interest level from schools tumbled as a result of his expulsion, so getting back on the field is important in terms of his recruiting status. It almost seems like he has conditional offers right now. Starks is talking about an after the season decision.
Joe Mixon (6-1, 190, 4.45) – Mixon’s favorite NFL player is AD, so I think the Sooners have a shot. Mixon has an OU offer and is an excellent RB with home run speed. An all-star game verbal is likely.
Wide Receiver: 3?
Three big WRs have verbaled. To slot or not to slot is the question. The only must take guy at slot, K.D. Cannon, chose Baylor, so I think OU is done.
One top 100 kid, another one who should be in the top 100 and Jeff Mead, who should easily be a four-star kid on potential alone. I don’t see any way OU adds a slot right now. With Austin Bennett and K.J. Young redshirting, it is just not a need.
Dallis Todd is being triple-teamed and is having great games when his team can get him the ball, followed by low stat games where defenses just take him away. Andrews is just tearing it up. If you are wondering how OU will use Andrews, watch Mike Evans at Texas A&M. Mead is starting to put all those sick WR tools together at Union.
Offensive Line: 6?
OL recruiting is still pretty much a mystery at this point. I wish that I could tell you who are the top four targets or top four leans to OU.
This isn’t a case of James Patton and Bruce Kittle not being aggressive. Bill Bedenbaugh is out everywhere.
The 2015 OL recruiting is already off to a great start with commitments from Bobby Evans and Josh Wariboko. (2015 OL Jalin Barnett from Lawton might be on board soon.) But right now, with Ty Barrett to TCU, Jovan Pruit to Arkansas, Dontavious Blair talking up the SEC, Roderick Johnson coming off lukewarm on OU and Braden Smith still in the Recruiting Witness Protection Program, things are unclear about the 2014 OL class. Ideally, the last 4 spots go to three HS OL and one JUCO OT.
Denzel Ward (6-9, 290, 5.2) – Has verbaled to Purdue, but somehow I don’t see that commitment stopping him from visiting Norman.
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.
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.
Brian Wallace (6-6, 300) – No one can seem to confirm this kid’s offer or his interest level in OU. But Wallace on film certainly looks worth of an offer. OU should get him on campus.
Kenyon Frison (6-7, 290) – OU has offered this Utah verbal who has a huge frame and excellent athleticism. Can OU get a visit to try and turn Kenyon? Unknown at this time.
Lukayus McNeil (6-7, 275) – A new name kind of a sleeper prospect but his name is starting to get some traction among programs in the Big Ten. There’s a lot of potential with his frame and athleticism.
Avery Gennesy (6-5, 300) – Listing OU with a number of SEC programs. Going to be hard to pull him away from the SEC, but OU’s NFL OL pedigree is making some noise with JUCO prospects.
Tight End: 2?
OU struck out at TE in 2013, but now has Meier. Meier is having a very good senior year so far, and looks like a real steal at TE.
Getting Meier in the fold allows Jay Boulware to be aggressive with other prospects. Adding an impact JUCO probably allows OU to stay at only two TEs for this class.
Deandre Goolsby might have more interest in OU than previously thought - he’s made a recent visit to Norman on his dime and booked a quick return visit. In addition, Bob Stoops' connections with Goolsby’s dad might be a real factor here. Bob coached Goolsby‘s dad at Kansas State in the early '90s. Goolsby allegedly had a great visit to OU for the WVU game.
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.
Jean Sifrin (6-7, 250, 4.6) – A new name out of nowhere, but his HUDL footage is very good in both blocking and receiving. Yet another former hoops guy realizing his pro career is at football. Might have an OU visit set up for game one. (Highlights are from 2011 season.)
Defensive Tackle: 2-3
With Jordan Phillips playing at such a high level and OU only playing one DT at a time, the real question is how many DTs does OU take in this class? Ainuu is probably a take regardless since he could play DE and DT.
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.
Allan Havili (6-4, 290, 4.9) – Havili would be the star of this DT class if OU can flip him from his Utah verbal. An OU visit is set, and he seems to be in sync with Montgomery. Havili is the big, athletic DT that you need on defense.
Ainuu Taua (6-1, 275. 4.8) – The height listing on Ainuu might be generous, but he would be a textbook 3-technique DT for OU. He’s explosive off the ball, creating penetration and disruption.
Cedric Johnson (6-3, 280, 5.0) – OU just offered Johnson, who is somewhere slightly below the main group of DTs in Texas. He will likely visit OU this fall, and OU could easily take three HS DTs.
Tashon Smallwood (6-2, 290, 4.95) – Verbaled to USC, but now talking about taking visits to some Pac-12 schools and OU.
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. Seeing some new offers both in state and out of state recently.
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 visited for junior day. Very impressive film.
Myles Garrett (6-4, 230, 4.7) – After Thomas, Garrett is getting a lot of attention as the next best DE.
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.
Qualen Cunningham (6-4, 225, 4.6) - Texas A&M legacy.
Trey Carter (6-5, 255, 4.7) – Moved from Louisiana and is just now getting a lot of recruiting attention. He’s raw technique-wise, but he has an elite frame and athleticism. Like Charles Tapper was in HS. The ceiling is very high, but so is the bust factor.
Olajuwon Tucker (6-4, 240, 4.7) – OU has now offered the somewhat overlooked teammate of Williams and Jackson. His film is very impressive, showing speed and power. He has a huge frame where it’s easy to see him carrying in the 250-260 range.
Linebacker: At least 3
Tim Kish landed Tay Evans and now has added Curtis Bolton. That’s a good LB class. Both Evans and Bolton are a little under-ranked at LB due to playing DE on film for their junior years. If they show out at LB like they did at DE, their athleticism is four-star potential.
OU now can focus on HS LBs from out west, including Bond, Williams, IMR, Cobb and Ware. OU’s LB play on the field is clearly helping recruiting.
Devante Bond (6-3, 235, 4.6) – Signed with Miami, but he did not qualify due to some class issues. He's not playing this fall and is instead getting his academics in shape. Bond is visiting OU and really wanted an OU offer last year. Would be a great addition to OU’s LB corps, giving OU some flexibility in personnel against bigger sets.
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.
Ishmael Murphy-Richardson (6-4,210, 4.5) – An explosive elite athlete at OLB. He shows great range and power at OLB. It’s pretty easy to see why OU offered.
Marquis Ware (6-2, 215, 4.6) – His junior year footage is more at a stand-up DE and TE, so the projection at OLB is more of a guess. He shows excellent athleticism and speed in his film, though. Teammate of more highly regarded Jamadre Cobbs.
Tegray Scales (6-1,214,4.55) – Scales shows good run-stopping ability on film and also shows some nice coverage skills against some spread offenses. Does a nice job against some pistol offense attacks as well.
Jamardre Cobb (6-2, 225, 4.6) – Been resisting listing him because of uncertainty about OU’s chances. But OU’s now offered his teammate Ware as well so perhaps a package combo will improve OU’s chances. Cobb’s physicality and explosiveness is just so apparent on film. He would be a big time prospect at LB.
Defensive Back: 5-6
It seems that OU has targeted Windham at CB and Green at one of the 3 safety spots that the Sooners will use almost every down. McQuinnie could be a big strong safety or grow into an OLB - OU will let that situation figure itself out. Parker and Quick are the big-time targets. Watkins as well. Jackson is almost a must-take, regardless of what happens at all other positions.
Nick Watkins (6-1, 185, 4.5) – Best big CB in Texas? His offer list (OU included) sure lends credence to that statement.
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.
Adoree Jackson (5-11, 185, 4.4) – Top 10 talent nationally. He could be a lockdown CB, slot WR or slot-RB combo. Not sure OU has a great shot even with a visit, but enjoy the film.
John Plattenburg (5-11, 185, 4.4) – Plattenburg moved to Texas from California, so he’s been flying under the radar. His name has now blown up in recruiting with numerous offers. The junior year footage is from Corona, Calif.