How about our first in-depth look at the 2017 class? Class size projects to around 25 players: 1 QB, 2 RBs (factoring in Samaje Perine and/or Joe Mixon to the NFL), 4 WRs, 1 TE, 4 OLs, 3 DTs, 3 OLBs/DEs, 2 ILBs, 3 CBs, 2 Ss.
2017 Verbal Commitments
Chris Robison, QB – 6-2, 185 (Texas)
Four stars, Rivals 100, top 10 in Texas.
Levi Draper, LB – 6-3, 225, 4.6 (Oklahoma)
Four stars, Rivals 250, No. 1 prospect in Oklahoma.
Robert Barnes, S – 6-3, 195, 4.6 (Texas)
Four stars, Rivals 250, top 30 in Texas.
Cedarian Lamb, WR – 6-3, 180, 4.4 (Texas)
Four stars, Rivals 250, top 30 in Texas.
Tyrese Robinson, OL – 6-5, 300, 5.2 (Texas)
Four stars, Rivals 100, top 10 in Texas.
First Junior Day Generates Commitment
OU held its first junior day event on Jan. 30th. The coaching staff kept it small and exclusive for players with OU offers only. Things apparently could not have gone better, save for some Dallas-area targets being unable to attend. (From Twitter photos, Baker Mayfield was a popular Sooner with the 2017 junior visitors.)
OU grabbed its fifth verbal commitment for 2017 from Tyrese Robinson, an offensive lineman from McKinney, Texas. Right now, Robinson is ranked as the top OL prospect in Texas and probably projects as a guard in college. He’s a huge addition for the Sooners and continues the momentum OU has with the 2017 class.
*Note: we might as well start referring to them as “underclassman days” with all the recruiting news for 2018 happening at these events. OU will likely hold several more, with the Spring Game on April 9 being a big event as well.
Eyes on Texas
It certainly seems as though OU is increasing its recruiting attention in Texas to match recent recruiting changes. Operation: Take Back Texas Recruiting is off to a great start, although it might be more accurate to say OU is focused on taking back Dallas. Landing four high-profile Dallas-area kids is an awesome start for the Sooners, who used to basically own the DFW Metroplex.
Once again, OU’s improved play on the field seems to be having more of an impact on 2017 kids than 2016.
OU used the massive hype around the basketball rematch with Kansas as a second impromptu junior day. Especially for in-state recruits and kids from the Dallas area, a free ticket to the game was a great incentive to come visit Norman.
Over a dozen kids visited,including:
- Verbals commitments from 2017 and 2018 classes;
- Existing offers visiting OU for a second time in two weeks;
- New OU offers visiting OU for the first time this year; and
- A group of players receiving their offers on this visit.
Peace Out, Diron Reynolds
The last issue impacting recruiting is the loss of defensive line coach Diron Reynolds. Year two was supposed to be his bounce year in recruiting after building relationships with targets in his first season.
OU needs a big name hire and needs to make it relatively quickly. The Sooners cannot afford to fall behind for too long at DL recruiting.
2017 Recruiting Targets
Visitors at the first junior day, all with OU offers:
Jeff Okudah, DB – 6-1, 195, 4.5 (Texas)
Five stars. Top 30 in Rivals rankings. Okudah is the No. 2 player in Texas behind only Marvin Wiison, the No. 1 defensive tackle in the nation. Okudah could be a cornerback, but he’s probably a safety. He could potentially outgrow safety and move to outside linebacker. Everyone in the country wants this kid. He might be OU’s best chance at landing a five-star player in 2017 after hosting him at back-to-back underclassman days. Also in OU’s favor: Okudah seems to be buddies with Robert Barnes. Conflicting reports that he returned for the Kansas game.
Omar Manning, WR – 6-3, 200 4.5 (Texas)
Four stars. Rivals 250. Elite film. Kind of reminds me of Dez Bryant physically. OU might be pulling away with an early lead for Manning. Other schools will need to get things moving since he has mentioned a possible spring decision.
Charleston Rambo, WR – 6-2, 180, 4.5 (Texas)
Four stars. Rivals 250. A complete receiver who can play either slot or outside. OU and Rambo seem very connected. Rambo has not mentioned a timeline for committing, but it might not be a stretch to say OU leads. WR recruiting is in overdrive for the big, talented class of playmakers in Texas. Rambo returned for the KU game.
Paulson Adebo, ATH – 6-1, 175, 4.5 (Texas)
Three stars. Top 50 in Texas. Adebo has excellent video at WR, but his CB footage might be even better. Big-time athlete. I don’t see him staying a three-star prospect at Rivals for long.
New offers from the KU game:
Tre Brown, CB – 5-11, 170, 4.4 (Tulsa)
Probably the top defensive back in Oklahoma. He has a host of offers right now. A commitment might happen soon.
Justin Broiles, CB – 6-0, 180, 4.5 (OKC)
Right behind Brown in terms of in-state rankings, Broiles' offer list has blown up, too. OU's following the same strategy: Get him on campus and offer him. The DB spots could go quickly.
Isaiah Thomas, OLB/DE – 6-5, 230, 4.7 (Tulsa)
A new name that went from no offers to offers from Tennessee and OU among others. Thomas is a big, athletic OLB/DE who probably could carry 245 pounds with no real issues. He’s the kind of athlete that Oklahoma has not been producing a lot of recently, save for Jon-Michael Terry last year. If OU could get two front seven defenders in-state (w/ Draper), that would greatly aid recruiting.
Earnest Brown, DE – 6-5, 245, 4.8 (Texas)
A new name first listed by the The Football Brainiacs. Hopefully, he's part of a wave of new names at DL. As a 3-4 DE, Brown looks incredibly quick with a frame that could easily carry 275 pounds. Long and rangy, with a great first step.
Existing offers who visited for the first time during the KU game:
Anthony Hines, OLB – 6-3, 220, 4.6 (Dallas)
Rivals 250. Top 30 in Texas. OU has been recruiting Hines for almost two years already. The dream inside duo of Draper and Hines may be possible.
J.K. Dobbins, RB – 5-10, 190, 4.4 (Texas)
Top RB in Texas. Rivals 100. OU is definitely in the top five here.
Edward Ingram, OG – 6-4, 320, 5.2 (Texas)
Top 100 player in Texas. Has great film at OG. I’d expect that he will make a rise in the rankings next time around.
Other 2017 offers:
Isiah Buggs, DE – 6-4, 265, 4.7 (JUCO)
For OU to offer a JUCO player this early, he must be insanely good.
Dylan Moses, LB – 6-2, 225, 4.5 (New Orleans)
Maybe the top player in the country at any position. He was committed to LSU, but has backed off that some. Unfortunately, it would take a minor miracle to get Moses to Norman for a visit.
Anthony McFarland, RB – 5-8, 185, 4.4 (Maryland)
Rivals 100. No. 1 all-purpose back.
Bruce Jordan Swilling, OLB – 6-2, 215, 4.6 (New Orleans)
Son of former NFL star Pat Swilling. OU has a definite shot here, and he will likely make it to Norman for a junior day this spring. OU has probably offered his younger brother, 2018 CB Tre Swilling, as well.
Marvin Wilson, DT – 6-5, 320, 5.1 (Houston)
Five stars. Top player in Texas. Top DT in the country. Everybody wants this kid, and there's a huge drop-off after Wilson in terms of DT rankings in Texas. The loss of Reynolds is going to hurt OU. Bob Stoops needs to land a big name at DL coach and do it quickly.
Joseph Lewis, WR – 6-2, 195, 4.5 (California)
Top 50 player nationally. Would seem to be an obvious lock to USC, but it sounds as though OU is going after him very hard.
Baron Browning, LB – 6-3, 230, 4.6 (Texas)
Top 10 in Texas. Rivals 100. Just outside of the five-star range. Browning just dropped his commitment to Baylor. Expect an OU visit to be set up soon.
Tyjon Lindsey, WR – 5-9, 175, 4.4 (California)
Four stars. Rivals 100. Has moved from Bishop Gorman in Las Vegas to a high school in California. Great playmaking ability. The obvious comparison for Sooner fans is Jalen Saunders.
Derrek Pitts, SS/OLB – 6-3, 190, 4.5 (West Virginia)
Four stars. Pitts is Charles Tapper’s cousin and will probably visit OU some time this spring.
Emmanuel McNeil, DE – 6-5, 280, 4.8 (Georgia)
A new offer out of the Rivals database. His HUDL film is insanely good. I’m not quite sure how he’s not a huge target right now. SEC powers somehow seem slow on his recruiting. OU should go into overdrive once the new DL coach is hired. McNeil could be a big, athletic 3-4 DE across from Amani Bledsoe in the future.
Taquon Graham, DE – 6-4, 240, 4.7 (Texas)
Another new DE offer who has fantastic film. Great athleticism, making play after play in the opponents’ backfield.
Chevin Calloway, CB – 5-11, 180, 4.45 (Texas)
Probably the best CB in the Dallas area, and maybe the best CB in the state.
Kary Vincent, CB – 5-11, 170, 4.4 (Texas)
If Calloway is not the best CB in Texas, then Vincent probably is.
Greg Rogers, DT – 6-4, 300, 5.1 (Las Vegas)
If Marvin Wilson is DT target No. 1, then I can really believe Rogers is DT target No. 2. Huge frame, super athleticism for his size. OU just needs a new DL coach to get him on campus.
Levi Jones, LB – 6-3, 215, 4.6 (Austin)
Brother of Arizona WR Cayleb Jones, who started at UT. Son of former Dallas Cowboys LB Robert Jones. Very good film.
Deonte “D.J.” Johnson, OLB/DE – 6-4, 240, 4.6 (California)
The California pipeline could provide OU with some elite pass rushers. Johnson could stay in the 240 range and play the JACK role, or with his frame, it’s not hard to imagine him at 270-275 at 3-4 DE like Charles Tapper.
Addison Gumbs, OLB – 6-4, 215, 4.6 (California)
Gumbs, like Johnson, is an edge rusher at OLB. OU needs to sign at least two in this class, so both Gumbs and Johnson could factor in.
Jacob Phillips, ILB – 6-3, 225, 4.6 (Tennessee)
Big, physical inside linebacker. Dominant stopping the run, but shows enough range to help in pass coverage.
Trajan Bandy, CB – 5-10, 180, 4.5 (Florida)
Bandy is gaining a lot of Internet attention with a recent statement that OU leads, and he plans to visit during the spring game. Bandy is a big-time corner, or he might be an ideal fit at nickelback for the OU defense.