Oklahoma used the last home game of the year as an effective recruiting weekend with a number of visitors confirmed from various Twitter traffic, including new verbal commitments Dwayne Orso and Isaac Ijalana.
In addition, OU hosted the usual large contingent of verbal commitments and 2015 prospects.
Now, the Sooners won’t be able to host anyone until Dec. 14 when OU should be in full bowl preparation, but the campus should not yet be shutdown for the holiday break. No one is confirmed for that weekend yet. At this point, it looks like OU will be waiting out at least five to 10 big-time prospects into January and the all-star games and possibly until Signing Day for a handful of players.
Expect some old names to reappear in recruiting in the next six weeks and some new names like Dwayne Orso and Jonathan Thomas to appear on the radar as well. OU's coaches will be working all their contacts for overlooked great athletes.
OU is in great recruiting shape right now save for high-school offensive tackles, where the best prospects are committed elsewhere. A theme all year long has been the recruiting impact from the West Coast, and it’s very possible if things work out well for OU that the last nine spots in the class could include five West Coast prospects (Ainuu Taua, Joe Mixon, Michiah Quick, Ishmael Murphy-Richardson, Dwight Williams).
Finally, for those freaking out over OU’s recruiting rankings, keep in mind that verbals like Orso, Brandon Glenn and Tito Windham are still two-star recruits, according to Rivals. For Orso and Windham, at least, no view of their film supports keeping them there. I’d make an argument for Glenn as well, but there is no public footage of his senior year yet. In addition, Curtis Bolton, Alex Dalton, Marcus Green, Jeffrey Mead and Carson Meier are badly underrated by some services. Again, just go to the film.
2014 Verbal Commitments: 18
(Class Size: 24-27)
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
Isaac Ijalana, TE
(6-5, 240, 4.6)
Dwayne Orso, DE
(6-6, 255, 4.8)
Dimitri Flowers, TE/FB
(6-3, 225, 4.6)
Devante Bond, OLB
(6-3, 240, 4.6)
Four key verbal commitments came in for Oklahoma in the last two weeks.
*The first verbal answered the question of what OU going to do with Trey Millard leaving. The answer is Dimitri Flowers. Flowers is a very talented FB/TE prospect from San Antonio. He had over 1,000 receiving yards this season. His highlight video shows him flexed out as a wide receiver, lined up in a traditional H-back role and lined up in two-back shotgun formations. He’s running routes from all three stances/positions. He’s a matchup problem for small defensive backs or linebackers. If you are looking for a comparison, how about current Miami Dolphin and former Tulsa Hurricane Charles Clay?
Flowers will enroll early and should be able to get up to 235 pounds before next fall. He’s a different weapon than Millard, but he’s an active blocker and will provide matchup problems for defenses. Flowers committed to OU after previously choosing Boise State.
*If you asked me at the end of September for OU’s No. 1 recruiting need, my answer would be a juco TE mid-term graduate. Jean Sifrin, who visited for the first game, looked like an ideal target. However, OU brought in Isaac Ijalana for a visit last weekend, and Ijalana verbally committed to OU. Ijalana is at the same junior college where OU tried to sign Beau Sandland last year. (Really confused as to why Sandland isn’t making an impact with Miami).
Ijalana is from New Jersey originally, and his brother Ben Ijalana is an offensive lineman with the New York Jets, so there are some serious athletic genes in the family. Ijalana is 6-5, 240 and should be able to graduate at mid term.
Ijalana’s highlights show a big-framed TE with good hands who is able to go down the seam behind linebackers. His high-school reel shows an excellent downfield pass catching ability. His blocking highlights are pretty good, and he’s a willing blocker out on the edge.
Flowers and Ijalana give OU two more dual threat power players for spring ball.
*The next verbal is OU either reaching for a prospect or getting very lucky in discovering a sleeper in Nick Saban’s backyard: Dwayne Orso (6-6, 260, 4.8), a defensive end from Alabama.
How does a big, mobile DL guy go unnoticed in the SEC? I’m not sure what to tell you, but it appears to be the case. Orso’s film is excellent for a big athlete. He’s a perfect size and frame for OU’s newest scheme. It’s easy looking at Orso’s frame to project him at 6-6, 280, playing defensive end across from D.J. Ward or Matt Dimon.
This looks like Charles Tapper recruiting redux: OU finding an overlooked super athlete from a state where they experience no real success. I just hope Jerry Montgomery can hold onto Orso once the inevitable flood of SEC and other offers start to flow in.
*The last verbal is juco linebacker Devante Bond. Bond is not a new name to Sooner recruiting followers. Last year, OU recruited, but never offered, Bond when he was a juco All-American OLB. Bond instead signed with Miami. At the time, Bond was not a fit for the OU defense. He wasn’t an every-down coverage LB that OU needed.
Fast forward to September 2013, and OU changes its defense using a new hybrid 3-4 scheme. OU now badly needs a big OLB to seal the edge, provide pressure against bigger offensive sets and provide a bigger presence in run support. Bond is now a perfect fit and is no longer interested in Miami following an issue with his transcripts. All Bond did in 2012 was make 27 tackles for loss and 17 sacks from his edge rushing spot.
So, like Ijalana, Bond should be on campus in January and will be learning the new OLB spot through spring football. Adding Bond at OLB will allow OU to use Eric Striker in different, less predictable ways. Bond is potentially a big missing piece for Mike Stoops' new defense being able to handle all kinds of offenses without going back to a 4-3 look.
Recruiting Baker’s Dozen
(With fewer than 10 scholarships left, the list is only 10.)
1. Adoree Jackson – Best CB target OU has on the board. Like Quick, you could easily justify playing him slot WR full-time.
2. Michiah Quick – If OU got Jackson, Quick could be a focus at slot. Or vice versa.
3. Steve Parker – Elite CB or safety for the OU defense.
4. 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.
5. 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.
6. Kenyon Frison – OU needs HS OTs prospects, and Frison just visited.
7. Denzel Ward – Visiting in January.
8. Jovan Pruitt – Visiting in December or January, even though he’s committed to Arkansas.
9. Dwight Williams – Arguably the best LB on the board for OU. No longer a pipe dream.
10. Ismael Murphy- Richardson 6-4, 215, 4.55 – Awesome looking OLB with speed and range from Arizona.
Done with the pledge from Hansen, who is having a great senior year. Hansen was having a great senior year. Then he injured his ankle and had to sit out the end of his team’s season. He’s enrolling early, so hopefully his ankle should be healed to let him go through practice.
Running Back: 2
It’s still Nathan Starks and Joe Mixon – unchanged for months. However, OU added a juco RB visitor for the Iowa State game. The thinking here seems to be adding a smaller, change-of-pace RB who is also an excellent receiver. Juco prospect DeChavon Hayes has excellent speed and could be a big playmaker for OU in the zone-read scheme.
Nathan Starks (6-0, 210, 4.45) – 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.
DeChavon Hayes (5-11, 185. 4.4) – Would replace some of the home run potential of Roy Finch and provide some speed on special teams. He’d look at home in the Oregon offense.
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.)
OU just hosted two juco mid-term OLs and an HS target. Right now the biggest question mark is HS OTs for the class. OU just hosted Frison, will host Ward later and should get Jovan Pruitt on campus.
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.
Fahn Cooper (6-6, 310, 5.2) – Illinois JUCO. Impressive, physical athlete at the OT position. Just visited OU for the ISU game. Still considering Ole Miss. Mid-term graduate.
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.
Sebastian Tortola (6-5, 320, 5.4) – Iowa JUCO. Tortola could play RT or OG for OU. He’s a powerful run blocker. Just visited for the ISU game. Mid-term graduate.
Jovan Pruitt (6-6, 290, 5.2) – Verbaled to the Hogs, but is still going to take visits. OU could flip Pruitt.
Tight End: 3
Mission accomplished by Jay Boulware: Juco mid-term TE, HS TE with excellent potential, H-Back/FB who excels in passing game and run game. And Boulware pulled this off while OU had zero TE presence in games this year. He’s pitching a product that is not on the field.
Defensive Tackle: 2-3
With 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.
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.
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. Trey Carter would fit that bill if OU can bring him back on campus. Will OU get a visit from Solomon Thomas? Will it even matter?
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.
Linebacker: At least 3
Tim Kish landed Tay Evans and 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 has Bond to add a big OLB for its scheme. Kish can focus on adding at least one more HS LB. Or maybe a five-LB class now that OU is using more LBs and had to play both Alexander and Evans as freshmen.
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.
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.
Jonathan Thomas (6-3, 210, 4.6) – How does an elite defender fall through the cracks in the talent rich Atlanta area? No idea, but it happens every year. Thomas was more of a soccer player and emigrated from Africa. He’s now an explosive powerful OLB prospect. OU is trying to get him on campus before the rest of the country wakes up to how good this kid is.
Greg Miclisse (6-2, 230, 4.6) – I’m adding McLisse back since he’s still listing OU and his recruiting won’t really heat up until January as teams make sure his transcript is fine. Would be an ideal MIKE LB for the Sooners.
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. Jackson is almost a must-take, regardless of what happens at all other positions.
OU really needs at least one more safety and one more CB. John Plattenburg, who visited for the ISU game, has already given his verbal to UCLA.
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.