Oklahoma’s season-ending loss to Clemson in the Orange Bowl effectively marked the final time any members of the Sooners’ 2011 recruiting class took the field wearing crimson and cream. The fifth-year seniors still on the team capped off their careers with a Big 12 championship and College Football Playoff bid in their final season together.
It made for an ironic finish for a recruiting class that deserves to go down as one of the biggest flops in coach Bob Stoops' tenure.
Despite taking only 17 players, Rivals rated the group as the No. 14 class in the country and the second best in the Big 12, behind Texas. What it lacked in size, it supposedly made up for in quality. It featured two of the 26 five-star recruits from around the country and seven four-star prospects.
Ultimately, attrition claimed all but seven of those players. Signees who washed out included the two five-stars, running back Brandon Williams, who left OU after a year and finished his career as a cornerback at Texas A&M, and receiver Trey Metoyer, who had to spend a gap year at prep school and left the team in 2013 under, ahem, disturbing circumstances.
(Note that I use “attrition” to cover players who left the program before they had used up their eligibility, excluding those who declared early for the draft or used the graduate transfer rule. Defensive lineman Jordan Phillips left for the NFL with one year of eligibility remaining, and Kendal Thompson left for Utah after graduating.)
In the end, the 2011 group reflects the recruiting shortcomings that plagued the program in the early half of this decade. (I hope to follow up soon with a deeper dive into recent classes.) It could be due to any number of reasons, from poor evaluations to a willingness to take on riskier cases, but the end result was way too much turnover to maintain continuity and build adequate depth.
The five who made it all the way through – Derek Farniok, Nila Kasitati, P.L. Lindley and Frank Shannon – got a nice send-off season, but the '11 class as a whole set the program back considerably.
(Editor's note: Initially, I listed 2011 signee Jordan Wade as having finished his eligibility this year. In fact, Wade sat out 2011 and entered the program in 2012. He redshirted in '12, which means he still has one year left to play in 2016.)