The Sooners are holding their first junior day this weekend, and the list of players is easily the most concentrated amount of highly rated talent ever for one of these events at OU.
Usually, OU’s junior days have been well attended, but the number of players with existing scholarship offers hovered around 50 percent. In addition, the junior days tended to have more offensive skill position players and defensive backs than linemen and linebackers. OU was usually hunting for its first verbal commitments.
That’s all changed with OU’s new hyper-aggressive strategy. Offers to the 2015 class have been flying out of Norman. With most of the 2014 class finished, OU coaches have already been visiting schools to talk to 2015 kids (to the extent allowed by NCAA regulations). Factor in the massive momentum from the Sugar Bowl win over Alabama and OU has a great junior day lineup of kids.
Here’s the list for Feb. 1 event based on public posts and Twitter traffic:
*Josh Wariboko, OL – OU verbal commitment; top 300 player.
*Marquise Overton, DL – OU verbal commitment; top 300 player.
*Bobby Evans, OT – OU verbal commitment; top 300 player.
*Du’vonta Lampkin, DL – OU verbal commitment; top 300 player.
*Justin Hillard, LB – Offer; top 100 player.
*Soso Jamabo RB – Offer; top 100 player.
*Bobby Henry, DL – Top 15 in Oklahoma.
*Toby Weathersby, OL – Offer.
*Keaton Sutherland, OL – Offer; top 300 player.
*Connor Dyer, OL – Offer.
*Jalin Barnett, OL – Offer; top 100 player.
*Jamile Johnson, DB – Offer; top 300 player.
*Will Sunderland, DB – Offer; top 300 player.
*Alex Odafile, WR – Offer; top 300 player.
*Ronald Jones RB – Offer; top 300 player.
*Larry Pryor, DB – Offer; Texas A&M commit; top 100 player.
*Darrion Daniels, DL – Offer; top 300.
James Lockhart, LB/DE – Offer; top 100.
Deionte Thompson, DB – Offer; Alabama commit; top 100.
OU should sign a QB in every recruiting class – You never know when you are going to have QB depth issues. Josh Heupel seems to be of the mind to offer one guy and focus all of his recruiting attention on that player. Last year it was Justice Hansen. Two years ago it was Max Browne, who chose USC, and then became Cody Thomas.
Right now two QB offers are confirmed via Twitter, one to J.W. Ketchum and one Jarret Stidham. So the trend of mobile QBs with good passing arms continues.
J.W. Ketchum (6-1, 195, 4.55) – OU offer. Lefty, mobile QB who is very good running the ball. Has a thicker frame than Kendal Thompson did in high school. Does a nice job putting touch on his throws. Highlights do not give any idea about his upper velocity/arm strength. HS passing game is not very complicated, but running attack looks elite. Probably athletic enough to play another position. Some chatter that Texas might be making Ketchum its focus at QB.
Tommy Stevens (6-4, 190, 4.6) – QB who plays with current OU target OT Lukayus McNeil. Shows an excellent feel for the QB run game/spread attack. Passing attack highlights are a little limited.
Torrance Gibson (6-4, 200, 4.55) – Some folks have him projected as the No. 1 dual-threat QB in the country. Big frame, excellent mobility and a big arm. Have to figure the entire SEC and the "Florida 3" will be all over him.
Jarrett Stidham (6-3, 195, 4.6) – Might be the best dual-threat QB in Texas. Good arm and shows a nice feel for the zone read. OU offer, but he already has offers from Baylor and Texas Tech. If Heupel really wants to make him QB1, he is entering a big-time dogfight.
Running Back: 1
OU signed two RBs last year, so OU will probably only go after one in this class. What kind of RB is an intriguing question after signing a myriad of skill sets in the last three classes.
Soso Jamabo (6-2, 200, 4.5) – Will fight for the mantle of best RB in Texas and is going to be rated as a top five RB nationally.
Chris Warren (6-2, 215, 4.5) – Son of former NFL RB Chris Warren. Suffered a torn ACL injury last year, but was an elite big back prior to that. OU likely would be fine offering Warren a redshirt year to fully recover from said injury.
Ronald Jones (6-0, 185, 4.4) – Had a huge junior year with nearly 2,500 yards rushing. A different RB than Jamabo or Warren with more home run speed.
Wide Receiver: 2
OU signed a four WRs last year, and they covered the whole range of WR skills. Jay Norvell can basically take the best available playmakers.
One big flanker, one slot WR?
Alex Odafile (6-3, 185, 4.45) – Dad played football for Mizzou, but seems very interested in OU. Same HS as former OU FB Trey Millard.
DaMarkus Lodge (6-2, 185, 4.5) – OU has been tracking Lodge, who might be the best WR in Texas. Teammate of OU verbal Marcus Green.
Dahu Green (6-3, 200, 4.6) – Moved to the area in 2013 and had a massive junior year at Westmoore. Might be the best WR in Oklahoma.
Desean Holmes (5-10, 175, 4.4) – The slot WR spot at OU is a much desired position. Holmes fits the position with his speed and quickness. He has listed OU as a favorite on Twitter.
Christian Kirk (5-10, 185, 4.49) – Already talking on Twitter about visiting OU during spring ball. You want another Jalen Saunders? Kirk could be it.
Ryan Newsome (5-9, 175, 4.35) – If OU cannot get Kirk, then maybe Newsome could be OU’s next great slot WR.
Tight End: 1
Like QB, I’d like to see OU sign one TE a year. It does not look like a great year overall for TEs either in Oklahoma or in Texas (presuming Jordan Davis sticks with Texas A&M). OU may have to get creative finding a prospect.
Hale Hentges (6-5, 240, 4.7) – Just visited Norman on his own dime and picked up an offer from OU. Seems excited about that offer on Twitter. No public footage yet. His Rivals film is very good, showing a capable blocker and good receiver.
Offensive Line: 6
This position is so dependent on how OU ends up in OL recruiting for 2014. At a minimum, OU should go for two OGs, two OTs from the HS ranks and possibly a JUCO OT to enroll at the midterm. The nice thing is that OU’s in great shape with two elite OLs in the fold and Jalin Barnett leaning to OU. So, Bill Bedenbaugh is off to a great start, and he’s getting great reception from OL around Texas and the rest of the country.
Jalin Barnett (6-4, 310, 5.0) – No. 1 player in Oklahoma and maybe the No. 1 OG in the country. OU might have a big lead and get a quick verbal.
Toby Weathersby (6-5, 285, 5.2) – A physical RT prospect. Friends with Sooner DT verbal Lampkin. Very interested in OU according to Twitter traffic.
Andre James (6-5, 280, 5.2) – Another powerful RT prospect. James was offered by OU recently and seems likely to make an early visit to Norman if possible.
George Brown (6-6, 265, 5.0) – Big-time OT prospect who has a Sooner offer and is very interested in OU based on his Twitter traffic. Sooner coaches were already at his HS.
Conner Dyer (6-5, 275, 5.2) – It’s a good year in Texas for OL, and Dyer is yet another of the potential OL targets for OU. Not sure if he’s an OT or OG. Any other year he would be an automatic take for OU, but with Wariboko, Barnett and the good interior OL class for 2014, it might be tough.
Christian Pellage (6-7, 270, 4.9) – A legit LT prospect with a huge wingspan and excellent feet. He seemed excited on Twitter about his OU offer, but no real sense of his interest yet.
Keaton Sutherland (6-6,260, 5.2) – Big, rangy OT who looks like an elite athlete that will be able to put on weight.
Defensive Tackle: 2
OU signed only one player at this position in '14, and Garnett is not quite the big, lane-clogging anchor that OU needs at NG in the 3-4. However, Overton fits that role perfectly. OU can now go after the top DTs/NGs in the country to add additional depth.
Kahlil McKenzie (6-3, 300, 4.9) – Son of Oakland Raiders GM Reggie McKenzie. Recent Twitter traffic indicates a Sooner offer and serious interest in OU. He’s visiting on Mar. 1 based on Twitter messages.
Darrion Daniels (6-4, 280, 4.8) – Could be a DT or DE for OU. Seems very interested in OU.
Defensive End: 3
This position is going to be tough to track. OU is looking for a bigger, more powerful DE in one spot – ideally a 6-4, 285 player – and a faster, slightly smaller player at the other spot – ideally a 6-5, 265 player like Charles Tapper. Right now, OU has one of the body types in Du’Vonta Lampkin, provided he does not completely outgrow the DE spot.
Jerry Montgomery is not going to let geography be any barrier to offering the best players at DE. Monty’s been to Hawaii twice already to visit the DE duo listed below, and I doubt he was working on his surfing.
Bobby Henry (6-5, 250, 4.8) – Younger brother of De’vante Henry, a JUCO LB who ended up at WVU briefly. He has a huge frame and shows bursts of elite athleticism. However, he’s not making enough plays and needs to stay healthy. He could blow up his senior year. OU will continue to track him because he could end up being a big-time prospect. So much upside.
Breylin Mitchell (6-4, 250, 4.7) – Fast, powerful DE interested in OU and TCU.
Canton Kaumatule (6-6, 275, 4.8) – The Hawaiian is probably the nation’s top 3-4 DE prospect. His brother is at Stanford, so give the Cardinals a big edge.
Breidon Fehoko (6-3, 265, 4.7) – Also from Hawaii. An explosive athlete on the DL. Fehoko could play a number of positions for OU on the DL.
Terry Beckner Jr. (6-4, 265, 4.7) – Might be the best DE in the country. Beckner is a quick, powerful rush end who would be perfect in the OU scheme.
James Lockhart (6-4, 245, 4.7) – If OU was still playing a 4-3, Lockhart would be a perfect fit at DE. Now, in the new 3-4, the question becomes if Lockhart could be a big rush OLB or add weight and be a quick DE.
OU’s 3-4 look puts a real premium on finding a big rush OLB while still finding two LBs that can play in space and handle short-to-mid-range coverage and heavy run support responsibilities. Ideally, OU would sign four LBs in this class.
Malik Jefferson (6-2, 215, 4.5) – Even last year Jefferson might have been the best LB in Texas as a junior. OU will hope to get him quickly to a junior day.
Cameron Townsend (6-2, 200, 4.5) – Has already visited Norman for a game last year.
Justin Hillard (6-3, 225, 4.6) – Top-rated MLB nationally by one service. Ohioan is visiting OU on his own dime for OU’s first junior day. He’s just awesome on film. The mobile, physical presence needed for the Sooner D. Have to figure getting him from Ohio State will be next to impossible.
Adonis Thomas (6-4, 215, 4.55) – OU is not afraid to go into SEC territory with offers. Thomas is a big-time LB prospect. No idea if Thomas is interested in OU or not, but a perfect OLB for the OU defense.
Darrell Williams (6-3, 215, 4.55) – OU is not being afraid to offer the best talent regardless of location. It’s unclear if OU has any chance of stealing this top talent from Alabama’s back door.
Rick Deberry (6-3, 240, 4.6) – Could be the big OLB OU chases this year. He visited OU’s campus last year.
Osa Masina (6-4, 205, 4.5) – Montgomery is going to land some big-time player from Utah for OU. It’s just a matter of when, and it could be Masina.
Defensive Back: 2
Mike Stoops has reloaded the secondary with talent and numbers, so he’s really in a position to take the best available athletes for the Sooner secondary. Ideally, that means a big safety prospect and CBs with speed.
Will Sunderland (6-3, 195, 4.5) – Maybe the best DB in Oklahoma. He’s this year’s Steven Parker. Great range and speed. One of the many players talking on Twitter about playing with Mixon.
Kendall Sheffield (5-11, 180, 4.5) – Early leader for title of best CB in Texas. OU is chasing UT and the rest of the SEC.
Larry Pryor (6-0, 195, 4.5) – Texas A&M commit is probably the best safety prospect in Texas right now.
Jamile Johnson (6-2, 190, 4.5) – Very interested in OU based on his twitter feed.