The dead period is almost over, and after the national convention ends on Tuesday, coaches will be hitting the road for in-home visits to secure their own commitments while making final pitches to the uncommitted.
What will happen for Oklahoma in these two frenetic weeks?
Ideally, OU needs one more offensive tackle, a safety and a cornerback in the last six spots. Beyond that, it’s time to get the best players available. There are number of projected difference makers who you have to take regardless of numbers.
The last four to five years have seen OU lose a commitment late in the cycle. Last year, it was Jordan Mastrogiovanni after the loss to Texas A&M in the Cotton Bowl. So, it’s likely at least one commit will waver and think about signing elsewhere. Sometimes, it’s a productive player like Eric Ward for Texas Tech; other times, it’s Cooper Washington, who didn’t play a down for Tech.
OU will likely late steal a commit from another school near signing day. Not sure who that will be. It’s been Dannon Cavil, Corey Nelson and Zach Sanchez in past years. Before officially decommitting from Texas, Courtney Garnett would have been option one.
Sometimes national signing day has real drama for OU, and sometimes there’s zero real drama. This year, it looks like OU will be watching the decision of Deondre Clark, who, while committed to LSU, is talking about making a final decision on NSD. Jenks safety Steven Parker might also decide on NSD, although his time frame is unclear right now.
Elite athlete Adoree Jackson is still listing the Sooners among six schools and will decide on signing day, but I think OU will get eliminated at some point in the next two weeks.
While probably losing out on Jackson, OU should be watching the NSD announcements of both Michiah Quick and Tee Shepard. These former teammates are both talking about making a decision on signing day.
In terms of official visits, OU should have a number of visitors on the Jan. 17, including:
- OL Joseph Paul (verbal commitment)
- DT Courtney Garnett
- CB Tee Shepard (juco)
- DB Steven Parker
There will probably be some verbal commitments as well. Right now, there are no visits set up for Jan. 24, and it will be interesting to see if OU uses Jan. 31 for any last-minute visits.
Just like Joseph Paul and Kendall Randolph were not in any previous recruiting update, there’s still time for new names to show up or old names not seen for months to make a reappearance.
2014 Verbal Commitments: 21
(Class Size: 26-28)
Devante Bond, OLB
(6-3, 240, 4.6)
Isaac Ijalana, TE
(6-5, 240, 4.6)
Projected early enrollees
Dallis Todd, WR
(6-5, 210, 4.5)
Justice Hansen, QB
(6-4, 200, 4.6)
Dimitri Flowers, TE/FB
(6-3, 225, 4.6)
Vontre McQuinnie, DB
(6-1, 200, 4.6)
Samaje Perine, RB
(5-11, 225. 4.45)
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
Dwayne Orso, DE
(6-6, 255, 4.8)
Joseph Paul, OL
(6-5, 335, 5.3)
Joe Mixon, RB
(6-2, 200, 4.5)
Natrell Curtis, OL
(6-3, 340, 5.3)
OU has picked up three big verbal commitments since the dead period began right before the holidays. With the big win in New Orleans, OU has real recruiting momentum in the home stretch of January to close out this class.
The biggest verbal of the three – and maybe the biggest verbal to date – was Joe Mixon, the five-star all-purpose running back from California. Mixon would be a huge pickup regardless, but when you factor in the loss of three senior RBs, it’s an even bigger verbal. Mixon has excellent receiving skills, so he’s a great fit for the Sooner offense. He will be a matchup nightmare for opposing linebackers coming out of the backfield or flexed out. If you’re looking for a comparison, then Demarco Murray might fit the best. Mixon’s just missing that elite gear, but his overall skill set is very strong. In addition, if you blend Keith Ford, Samaje Perrine and Mixon, you have a great combination of different skills.
The final thing to know about Mixon is that he’s a tweeting, recruiting machine. Mixon has been communicating with 2014 kids and 2015 propsects. He’s the kind of kid that other big-time plays want to play college ball with.
Offensive line recruiting has been driving Sooner fans a little crazy. It seemed like OU was continuing to have problems recruiting OL just like last year. However, in the last week, OU has secured two big OL commits.
The first commit was Natrell Curtis from Arizona. Last February, Curtis was a top 100 national prospect. However, over the summer, Curtis’ conditioning slipped and he put on some bad weight, which impacted his performance at some summer camps. The recruiting services dropped his rankings. Basically, Curtis is dominant at 6-3, 315 pounds, but he was probably playing at 345 pounds. Again, watch his junior year film, and you see a dominating power interior player with great feet. His senior year film is just not as impressive. Tim Kish knows the coaching staff at Curtis’ high school, and OU stayed in contact with Curtis even after his verbal to Washington. Curtis visited OU in December, and after the coaching change at UW, he decommitted. Right after the Army All American game, Curtis verbally committed to OU through a very cool Twitter post with a graphic of Curtis in an OU uniform. You add an in-shape Curtis to Alex Dalton and Jonathan Alvarez, and OU has done a great job reloading the interior OL.
With the interior OL restocked, OU is still facing depth issues at OT after missing out on a number of jucos. With no HS OTs committed, OU must have started reaching out to HS contacts everywhere for underrated players.
A week after being offered, Joseph Paul verbaled to OU. Paul is from a power house program in Louisiana and had previously committed to Florida – the Gators seem to have backed off. It is not quite clear what happened, but Paul had a number of big-time offers. He’s a huge RT prospect at 6-5, 335 pounds. Ideally, like Curtis OU would want to play Paul at around 315-320, knocking off bad weight. From his film online, Paul has a powerful first punch and shows nice mobility. There’s a lot of upside. The recruiting of Curtis and Paul makes me wonder if Bedenbaugh is slightly changing up OU’s recruiting to focus on bigger HS prospects who need to lean up, versus Patton’s tendency to recruit smaller HS OLs to bulk up.
Recruiting Baker’s Dozen
(With maybe six spots left, the list is only six.)
1. Michiah Quick
2. Steven Parker – Elite CB or safety for the OU defense.
3. Kenyon Frison – OU needs HS OT prospects, and Frison just visited. Still committed to Utah, but taking other visits.
4. Lukayus McNeil – Verbal to Louisville, which has changed its entire coaching staff.
5. Deondre Clark – LSU commit for such a long time that it’s hard to believe that he might flip to OU on signing day. But the potential is there.
6. Kendall Randolph – OU has offered a number of CBs lately. Randolph is as talented as any of them, maybe more so. Final decision will come on NSD.
Done with the pledge from Hansen, who had a great senior year.
Running Back: 2
Done. Sooner fans will get the joy of seeing Mixon/Perrine fight for playing time this fall. Two great backs with complimentary skill sets.
Wide Receiver: 3?
Todd enrolls early. Mead and Andrews enroll later. Quick might be the next great slot WR for OU if he verbals.
Offensive Line: 5?
OU’s OL class is starting to take shape with the the two recent commitments. OU now has a great interior OL class and good RT prospects. All that is left is a true LT prospect. So OU needs to flip either Frison or McNeil.
Jonathan Paul appeared out of nowhere, and enough coaches are moving around that the chaos could mean other prospects appear in these final three weeks of recruiting.
With two returning senior starters, OU missed out on juco OTs. I fully expect Bedenbaugh next year to be able to sign an impact OT with two open playing spots to pitch in recruiting.
Kenyon Frison (6-7, 290) – OU has offered this Utah verbal who has a huge frame and excellent athleticism. Visited for the ISU game.
Lukayus McNeil (6-7, 270) – Committed to Louisville, but visited OU during December. McNeil would be a natural left tackle with a huge wingspan and excellent mobility.
Tight End/H-Back: 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: 1
Done. Unless an impact prospect becomes available for OU, I fully expect the Sooners to stick with just Brandon Glenn. OU is now only playing one DT/nose guard and has great depth if Jordan Phillips can return from his back surgery. (Phillips is telling everyone that his back feels great.)
For 2015, OU has a great in-state commitment in Jenk’s Marquise Overton. Also, the Sooners have already scored a verbal from big-time Texas DT Du’Vonta Lampkin.
Note that Courtney Garnett is back on the market after bailing on UT during the coaching change.
Courtney Garnett (6-3, 285) – Garnett has officially decommitted from Texas and appears to be down to Tennessee and OU. OU has a great chance to land this mobile defensive lineman from SEC territory.
Defensive End: 1
The exact same story as DT. Montgomery will hold back a scholarship or two for 2015 unless a big-time kid appears on the radar during the confusion of January.
Kish landed Tay Evans and Curtis Bolton from the high school ranks and has Devante Bond starting this week. That’s a good LB class.
OU will hold a scholarship open for Deondre Clark until the very end. But does OU want another HS LB to play the interior Mike/Will slots in the new 3-4?
OU’s LB depth would indicate that one more high schoolers to play inside would be a great idea.
Deondre Clark (6-3, 245, 4.6) – In OU’s new scheme, Clark would be a pass-rushing OLB, not a DE. Clark has been committed to LSU for so long that I don’t really believe that he will bolt. But he’s talking up OU, Bob Stoops visited him in home and Clark would be a terror in the new OU scheme.
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
Mike Stoops is not satisfied with just three verbals and targets in Parker, Quick and Tee Shepard (again). He wants another CB for depth reasons.
Kendall Randolph (6-0, 175, 4.4) – Four-star CB out of Florida has excellent film. He’s got speed, acceleration, change of direction. Would be a huge pickup for OU this late.
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.
Cornelius Floyd (6-1, 170, 4.5) – Tall, rangy CB who would excel in OU's scheme. Underrated CB who is starting to get noticed by bigger programs.
Juwan Dowels (5-9, 170, 4.4) – Underrated CB who had a great senior year, making play after play.
Adoree Jackson (5-11, 185, 4.4) – A Californian who is a top 10 talent nationally. He could be a lockdown CB, slot WR or even a slot-RB combo. Not sure OU has a great shot, but enjoy the film.
Tee Shepard (6-1, 195, 4.4) – He’s back! Shepard has his academics in order to graduate this summer.