OU’s eight verbal commitments for 2017 had a great showing at The Opening, Nike and ESPN's annual recruiting extravaganza.
Team Vapor Speed, which was full of OU commits, dominated the event's 7-on-7 tournament and won the trophy. Three Sooner verbals made the all-tourney team: Robert Barnes, who won safety MVP award; Grant Calcaterra, who won tight end MVP award; and Levi Draper. Quarterback Chris Robison had an excellent tourney, showing the kind of all-around game that makes him a great fit for the Sooner offense. Jalen Reagor probably should have made the all-tourney team as he dominated the final as the best WR.
The best players in the country got to see the future #SoonerSquad17 on offense and defense. The whole event could not have gone any better for OU, with tweets of the Sooner families hanging out and the crowd chanting Boomer Sooner during the finale.
Calcaterra is now a four star by Scout after the vaulting into its top 300, and he received and accepted an invite to the Under Armour All-America Game, giving OU seven attendees of the two biggest games. Barnes and Draper are top 100 players, per Scout. ESPN will likely make some player evaluation changes during its next revamp. Finally, Scout ranked Isaiah Thomas as a four-star player just inside its top 300.
At this point, out of OU’s high school position player verbals, only Jeremiah Hall is ranked as a three-star player, and he faces an impossible task of getting his fourth star as a fullback. The services continually underrate that position.
OU’s holding a cookout for recruits and their families at the end of July. OU has picked a great spot for the event, capturing kids before school and their high school camps start in August. That event leads into the August preseason, where OU will be: the preseason Big 12 champ, ranked in the top five or 10 nationally and a College Football Playoff pick by some talking heads.
Then there's OU’s September schedule. It’s easy to imagine a bunch of Texas kids will be invited to the Houston game by Houston. Two weeks later, the Sooners will host the world of college football for their matchup with Ohio State. The official and unofficial recruit list for the game is going to be absurd. OU may have to turn away kids from official visits so that thehosts and coaches have focused time for all the recruits.
So Two months uninterrupted months of OU exposure with OU getting a last shot in person for the attendees.
*Two final recruiting notes from 2016.
One, OU signed Parrish Cobb as part of the Baylor 2016 class exodus. Cobb is already on campus and could play a role this year at CB or punt returner.
Two, former OSU signee Tramonda Moore looks like he’s going to try and sit out 2017 – skipping junior college – and get eligible via an improved test score. He seems very interested in ditching the Cowboys and switching to OU if he can get eligible.
2017 Verbal Commitments
Projected class size (Approx. 24-27): 1 QB, 3 RBs, 4 WRs, 1 TE, 4 OLs, 3 DLs, 3 OLBs/DEs, 2 ILBs, 3 CBs, 2 safeties
Chris Robison, QB – 6-2, 185 (Texas)
Four stars, Rivals100, top 10 in Texas.
Levi Draper, LB – 6-3, 225, 4.6 (Oklahoma)
Four stars, Rivals top 150, No. 1 prospect in Oklahoma, Army All-American.
Robert Barnes, S – 6-3, 195, 4.6 (Texas)
Four stars, Rivals top 150, top 30 in Texas, Army All-American.
Tyrese Robinson, OL – 6-5, 300, 5.2 (Texas)
Four stars, Rivals100, top 10 in Texas, Under Armour All-American.
Trajan Bandy, DB – 5-10, 180, 4.5 (Florida)
Four stars, Rivals top 150, top 50 in Florida.
Justin Broiles, DB – 6-0, 175, 4.5 (Oklahoma)
Four stars, Rivals250, No. 2 prospect in Oklahoma, Under Armour All-American.
Tre Brown, DB – 5-11, 175, 4.4 (Oklahoma)
Four stars, Rivals250, No. 3 prospect in Oklahoma, Under Armour All-American.
Marcelias Sutton, RB – 5-10, 190, 4.4 (JUCO)
Charleston Rambo, WR – 6-2, 175. 4.45 (Texas)
Four stars, Rivals250, top 30 in Texas.
Jalen Reagor, WR – 6-0, 185, 4.4 (Texas)
Four stars, ESPN's top 100 players, Under Armour All-American.
Grant Calcaterra, WR/TE – 6-4, 210, 4.7 (California)
Four stars, ESPN 300, Scout 300, Under Armour All-American.
Trey Sermon, RB – 6-1, 210, 4.6 (Georgia)
Four stars. Rivals' top 150 players, top 30 in Georgia.
Isaiah Thomas, DE/OLB – 6-5, 230, 4.7 (Oklahoma)
Four stars, Scout 300, No. 5 prospect in Oklahoma.
Jeremiah Hall, TE/H-Back – 6-3, 225, 4.6 (North Carolina)
Reeves Mundschau, P – 6-0, 170
2017 Players to Watch
The top prospects “leaning” to OU. Some big changes from last time.
1. Xavier Newman, C – 6-3, 285, 5.2 (Texas)
Currently a verbal commitment to Texas, but it sounds like his new favorite is OU. An OU verbal is about to happen the moment Newman makes it on OU’s campus. Newman would be a true center prospect.
2. Cede Lamb, WR – 6-3, 190, 4.4 (Texas)
The once and future Sooner? Lamb is ready to make his second and hopefully final decision in a week. The #SoonerSquad17 members are not shy about recruiting him or where they think he’s going to choose. Lamb, Reagor and Rambo would be three top 250, four-star WRs in the class. Texas A&M is lurking as the most likely alternative. However, he’s booked for the OU cookout after his verbal announcement.
3. K’Lavon Chaisson, OLB – 6-4, 220, 4.6 (Texas)
He has named OU his favorite, and the Sooners lead his public top five list. If he visits for the cookout, OU could land a verbal. Or, he might wait for the Ohio St. game.
4. Anthony Hines, LB – 6-3, 220, 4.6 (Texas)
The No.1 ILB prospect in Texas and a three-year recruiting target for OU. Hines has been to OU at least twice this spring. He had a great showing at The Opening.
5. Jacob Phillips, ILB – 6-3, 225, 4.6 (Tennessee)
Phillips has shot up the Rivals rankings, going from a three-star recruit to inside Rivals' top 150. In addition, he just dominated the 5 Star Rivals Challenge. He might jump all the way into top 50 by the end of the year. Will he grab a spot before Hines?
6. Addison Gumbs, OLB – 6-4, 215, 4.6 (California)
Gumbs is awesome in pass coverage in addition to being a terror off the edge. OU needs a big OLB who is not a liability in coverage to counter the spread-to-run attacks in the Big 12. Gumbs visited Norman in the spring, and it looks like OU is firmly in his top three. As the NFL draft just showed, edge rushing OLBs are at a premium. A decision in late July decision is possible, with West Coast schools trying to make a late push. OU might try to get him on campus early if possible.
7. Omar Manning, WR – 6-3, 200, 4.5 (Texas)
In a great WR class from Texas, Manning might be the best big WR of the group – that elite flanker OU needs. If Lamb commits, what does Manning do?
In the Hunt
With the next group, it's hard to say OU is leading, but the Sooners are definitely involved with this set of elite recruits.
Marvin Wilson, DT – 6-5, 320, 5.1 (Texas)
Wilson's anticipated visit did happen, and OU looks to be firm in his top five. The Sooners are getting frequent public mention by Wilson, whose best buddies at The Opening appeared to be Chaisson and Newman. I doubt he’d decide based on Chaisson choosing OU, but it all factors on the OU plus side. If he attends the cookout with Chaisson and possibly Lamb, then you might need to prepare yourself for OU being in the lead.
Jeff Okudah, DB – 6-1, 200, 4.5 (Texas)
Okudah is very friendly with #SoonerSquad17 and seems to really like Norman. A month ago, I was ready to call this for Ohio St., but Okudah visited Norman again with his buddies Robison and Barnes. This time he scheduled the visit. At The Opening, he was hanging out with all the OU verbal commitments, not the Buckeyes. He talks in glowing terms of Norman and how the OU verbals are like his brothers. Okudah is enrolling early, so an October decision would not be huge surprise at this point.
Joseph Lewis, WR – 6-2, 205, 4.6 (California)
An elite big WR who has a three-year relationship with Dennis Simmons. He’s coming for an official visit for the Baylor game.
James Robinson, WR – 6-3, 200, 4.55 (Florida)
Is OU back in the top five for this elite big WR? His list seems very fluid. An OU official visit could make things interesting.
Deangelo Gibbs, DB – 6-2, 200, 4.45 (Georgia)
If Okudah is 1A, Gibbs is 1B for the last DB spot. Unless Okudah verbals early to OU, look for a visit from Gibbs.
Tyler Taylor, LB – 6-3, 225, 4.6 (Georgia)
Another SEC-area LB who visited OU on his own dime recently. Like Phillips, Taylor has skyrocketed up the rankings. He seems to really like OU.
D.J. Johnson, DE/OLB – 6-5, 250, 4.6 (California)
OU appears to be in Johnson's top four. An OU visit this fall seems like a certainty. You have to like OU’s chances with California recruits who have the Sooners in their top five before they even visit Norman.
Baron Browning, OLB – 6-3, 230 (Texas)
OU is trailing. Are the Buckeyes pulling ahead? Or is it UCLA? Mike Stoops seems to have taken over Browning’s recruiting personally. OU will try to tie up an official with Browning on Sept. 17. If that doesn’t happen, then I figure OU moves on, hoping Browning ends up at UCLA to give OU a clearer shot at Gumbs/Hunter Echols.
Hunter Echols, OLB – 6-5, 220, 4.6 (California)
Visited this spring. Elite pass rusher with family in Oklahoma City. Can OU bring him back for a game so he can really experience OU football in person?
Marquis Hayes, G – 6-6, 320, 5.4 (Missouri)
Hayes just visited Norman and appears to have OU in front. Does he have an OU offer? If Johncarlo Valentin cannot qualify, then OU probably has a free spot at OG/OL for Hayes.
Jaylon Johnson, CB – 6-2, 185 4.45 (California)
Went from unknown to top 100 player in the nation after a summer camp session where he dominated elite WRs. The latest elite prospect from the Fresno area, Johnson could probably play any of the Sooners’ five DB spots. Expect OU to bring him in for a visit in late fall, maybe the Baylor game as well.
Elijah Conliffe, DE – 6-5, 270, 4.9 (Virginia)
The ideal 3-4 DE prospect. OU’s in his top 10, and the Sooners are pushing hard for a visit.
Isiah Buggs, DE – 6-5, 270, 4.7 (JUCO)
OU’s in the hunt for the impact transfer at DE.
Chuck Filiaga, OT – 6-6, 320, 5.3 (Texas via California)
OU will get a visit this fall.
Greg Rogers, DT – 6-4, 300, 4.9 DT (Las Vegas)
Summer visit may not happen, but it looks like it doesn’t matter. OU is going to get an official visit this fall.
Fred Hansard, DT – 6-3, 310, 4.9 (New Jersey)
An OU visit seems very likely for the top-ranked DT. The Sooners made his top 10.
Adrian Ealy 6-6,300, 5.3. OT Louisiana
Rivals250 prospect who seeems to really like OU right now. A summer visit appears set.
OU has 15 verbal commitments right now for 1,753 points Rivals points. (Sutton finally got his three-star ranking, jumping his score from zero to 90 points, and Mundschau got 45 points.) It’s the No. 5 class, according to Rivals. With a verbal from Lamb or Newman, OU will be close to being back at No. 3. In addition, I think there are plenty of Rivals250 upgrades coming for some OU commits.
OU needs a final score of about 2,400 to achieve a top 10 class overall. Right now, even a fairly conservative projection of who OU lands in their final class puts OU around 2,600 points.