In assessing some of the glaring problems with the Sooners' 2014 squad, I took a look at how Oklahoma constructed its roster in recent years. I came up with a graphic that speaks to OU's struggles from a 10,000-foot view.
The chart above reflects the five-year totals for OU's recruits on offense and defense from 2010 to 2014. For example, the data points for 2010 show that OU signed a total of 61 defensive recruits and a total of 59 offensive players between 2006 and 2010.
(I used a five-year total because that spans the usual life cycle of an entire recruiting class. The raw numbers are in the table at the bottom of the post.)
Oklahoma clearly tilted its recruiting to the offense in the last five years. As of the start of the 2014 season, OU had signed 69 offensives players and 53 defensive players in the previous five recruiting classes.
How did it happen? I'd trace it back to the 2011 recruiting class, which saw eight of 11 signed offensive players leave the program before finishing their eligibility or leaving early for the NFL draft. The coaches have been playing catch-up from that bout of attrition ever since. In 2012, for instance, OU signed 11 more offensive recruits than defensive players.
Why does this matter? Put simply, skewing recruiting heavily towards one side of the ball robs the other of chances to build depth and develop players. That's how you end up relying heavily on underclassmen in your secondary and playing converted safeties at linebacker.