It was a case of four steps forward, one step back for Oklahoma in what turned into a huge seven days of recruiting last week.
*For starters, the Sooners scored a recommitment from Cedarian Lamb, which surprised a lot of recruiting analysts. Players rarely decommit and then three months later come back to the same school. In addition, when Lamb reopened his recruitment, it looked like OU might not have a spot for him. Overall, the recommitment of Lamb shows a more flexible recruiting strategy from OU that paid off.
Lamb and Jalen Reagor give OU two of the leading candidates for best receiver in Texas right now. Not to be ignored, Lamb is also a Houston-area recruit who is friendly with OU targets Marvin Wilson and K’Lavon Chaisson.
*OU also received a commitment from recent visitor Marquis Hayes, a mammoth big man with a nasty streak. Hayes has vaulted up the recruiting rankings following his camp showings. If he shows that level of play this fall, he could end up ranked as a top 100 player by at least one of the services. Hayes and Tyrese Robinson give OU an elite pair of athletic, powerful guards.
Hayes' recruitment illustrated another change in strategy, as OU quickly offered Hayes a scholarship after visiting with him. The coaching staff didn’t let the post-visit high disappear.
Hayes gives OU its first Missouri-area OL in a while. The state has produced blue-chip DLs and OLs recently, and with Missouri’s athletic department in total chaos, it’s not a bad time for OU to work that territory.
*The Sooners also locked down former Texas A&M pledge Creed Humphrey. While OU appeared to be closing in on flipping current Texas commit Xavier Newman, his expected visit to Norman never materialized. The timeline now suggests OU's coaches sensed that they were going to flip Humphrey and backed off Newman. It makes sense: Humphrey is the better-rated prospect of the two, and he’s an in-state recruit as well.
Humphrey looks poised for a big senior year after the success he has enjoyed at several camp sessions lately. He continues the trend of offensive line coach Bill Bedenbaugh wanting to land bigger centers and guards moving forward.
All three OL verbals in the 2017 class have some versatility, too. Robinson could play right tackle or both guard spots; same goes for Hayes. And even though Humphrey is being targeted as a center, there’s no reason why he couldn't play either guard spot.
Humphrey's commitment means the consensus top five players from Oklahoma are all Sooners, which enables OU to have another verbal commitment likely acting as a de facto host for unofficial visitors.
*Most recently, linebacker Kenneth Murray committed to OU. At 6-3, 210, pounds, he projects to easily carry 230 on his frame with 4.6 speed. Also, he’s targeting early enrollment, which will help in his strength training and physical development.
Murray will initially start out as a SAM OLB. A position ideally combining DE pass rush skills, OLB run stopping, and safety coverage skills. Just like Caleb Kelly and Kapri Doucet, Murray flashes skills as a pass rusher, run stopper and cover man. He could even move inside.
Murray is currently a three-star recruit, but it’s easy to imagine that he could be moved up to a four-star/top 50 player in Texas.
*Now, the bad news. As expected after The Opening, defensive back Trajan Bandy decommitted from OU and ended up choosing Miami about two weeks later. While disappointing, better for OU it to happen now than right before signing day. The Sooners still have plenty of option at DB.
2017 Verbal Commitments
Projected class size (Approx. 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.
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
Marquis Hayes, OL – 6-6, 320, 5.4 OG (Missouri)
Four stars, Rivals250.
Cedarian Lamb, WR – 6-3, 186, 4.45 (Texas)
Four stars, Rivals top 150 players.
Creed Humphrey, OL – 6-5, 300, 5.2 (Oklahoma)
Scout 300, No. 3 center overall.
Kenneth Murray, LB – 6-3, 210, 4.6 (Texas)
2017 Players to Watch
The top prospects “leaning” to OU. Not a lot of room left on the #SoonerSquad17 bus.
1. 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. There are rumors flying he might call in his verbal, or he might wait for the Ohio State game.
2. 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 four times this year. He had a great showing at The Opening.
3. 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?
4. 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. OU might try to get him on campus early if possible.
5. 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. Will OU make it a quartet of receivers?
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.
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.
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. The ideal replacement for Bandy?
Adrian Ealy 6-6,300, 5.3. OT Louisiana
Rivals250 prospect who seeems to really like OU right now. A summer visit appears set.
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.
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.
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. So is Alabama.
Chuck Filiaga, OT – 6-6, 320, 5.3 (Texas via California)
OU will get a visit this fall. USC might be out.
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 for the Ohio St. game.
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.
OU has 18 verbal commitments right now for 2,028 Rivals points. It’s Rivals' No. 4 class overall.
OU has a top 10 class by all rankings.
(Coming tomorrow: 2018 opens up hot.)