How does beating Auburn in the Sugar Bowl help Oklahoma in recruiting?
It’s a huge boost for 2018. A dominating win on both sides of the ball over the second-best team in the SEC team is not going unnoticed.
OU is arguably just behind Clemson/Alabama/Ohio State in terms of on-field national relevance. Bob Stoops and his staff can go in homes and legitimately argue that their team should have been in the College Football Playoff again this year. The big win continues to build OU’s momentum, connecting it to the Sooners' presence on the awards circuit and back-to-back Big 12 titles.
The bowl win might even be the tipping point in OU landing one last blue-chip recruit in 2017.
OU landed one key verbal commitment during the holiday recruiting dead period (no in-person contact, only one call a week, no on-campus visits on campus), which ends on Wednesday.
Adrian Ealy verbaled to OU with a creative Reservoir Dogs riff in his commitment video – Mr. Crimson won, no one lost an ear.
Ealy gives the four-player class of offensive linemen the athletic left tackle it has been missing. It also means OU has three Rivals250 offensive linemen in one class, which is a first. The pledge also increases the number of four-star players in the class to 18, according to Rivals. Twenty out of 24 committed players have a four-star ranking by at least one recruiting service.
With Ealy in the fold, it looks as though OU is done with OL recruiting because Chuck Filiaga chose Michigan at the Army All-American Game.
In other all star game news related to OU verbals...
- Grant Calcaterra (Under Armor) and Robert Barnes (Army) both were injured and did participate.
- Justin Broiles and Tre Brown had fantastic weeks of practice at the Under Armor game. Broiles was named a top 10 player for the week. The services that reviewed that game will probably give them a significant bump in the rankings.
- Tyrese Robinson continued to show his super high ceiling at OL with a very good week at guard during the Under Armor game.
- Creed Humphrey had a great week of practice at center at the Army game, which Rivals is reviewing. It would not surprise me if Humphrey moves up to a four-star ranking by Rivals in its final re-ranking.
- Jacob Phillips may be close to a five-star ranking by Rivals after the Army week. He looked like an elite, every-down middle linebacker. LSU is coming hard after Phillips, but after watching him interact with the other verbal commitments, I just don’t see a flip here. (Plus, he’s already decided to room with OU legacy Robert Barnes) You can bet OU will have a presence in Nashville as often as allowed in January. The early LB signees will help OU a lot here.
- Addison Gumbs and Levi Draper both had excellent weeks and started for the West team in the Army game.
- Isaiah Thomas flashed his first step and speed but struggling as expected with some of the elite OT at the game. The tools are all there, he’s just needs development, as expected.
Expect the action on Twitter next week to be completely wild with some prospects as some big programs scramble to complete their classes. (Yes, we’re talking about Texas.) With their class almost finished, the Sooners will primarily be in defense mode.
OU needs only four or five more pieces to round out its haul.
2017 Verbal Commitments
Projected class size (Approx. 27-29)
*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.
*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, Army All-American Game.
*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)
*Addison Gumbs, OLB – 6-4, 215, 4.6 (California)
Four stars, Rivals100, Army All-American Game.
Kennedy Brooks, RB – 6-0, 195, 4.55 RB (Texas)
Four stars, Rivals250.
K’Jakrye Daley, OLB – 6-3, 215, 4.6 (Florida)
Jacob Phillips, ILB – 6-3, 225, 4.6 (Tennessee)
Four stars, No. 37 overall by Rivals, Army All-American.
*Marquise Brown, WR – 5-11, 175, 4.35 (JUCO)
Zack McKinney, DT – 6-5, 300, 5.0 (Texas)
Adrian Ealy, OL – 6-7, 290, 5.1 (Louisiana)
Four stars, Rivals250.
2017 Players to Watch
Austin Faoliu, DL – 6-4, 295, 4.9 (California)
Came out of nowhere with a bunch of new offers. OU will obviously try and get him on campus in early January. Faoliu looks tremendous on film. Currently verbaled to Arizona, but it does not look like that will hold up.
Old names reappearing
Montaric Brown, DB – 6-1, 185, 4.5 (Arkansas)
Rivals250 DB was indicating in interviews that visits to OU and maybe Oklahoma State were in the offing for January. He has been a longtime verbal to Arkansas, so I’m not sure how realistic this visit will be.
Akial Byers, DE – 6-5, 280 4.8 (Arkansas)
Verbaled to Alabama. Byers was talking about possibly visiting OU, among others. He seems locked into the Crimson Tide, but are they locked into him? 'Bama has four high-profile DLs on the hoof ready to verbal. Even Nick Saban can only sign so many.
Final tracking list
James Robinson, WR – 6-3, 200, 4.55 (Florida)
OU is back in the top five for this elite big WR? He had a great visit to OU for the OSU game, and the Sooner coaches followed up with an in-home visit with Bob Stoops. Florida is the big favorite, but does a top WR really want to play in that terrible offense? He’s a signing day decision, so wide receivers coach Dennis Simmons has a chance to build up that rapport.
Tyler Taylor, LB – 6-3, 225, 4.6 (Georgia)
Ranked right behind Phillips and Anthony Hines at MIKE LB. He visited Norman for the Ohio State game and seemed to really like the visit. OU appears to be in a battle with Auburn. Did Taylor enjoy the Sugar Bowl? Does OU have a scholarship left for a linebacker? An official visit to Auburn is coming up in January.
Joshua Rogers, DE – 6-6, 280, 5.0 (Houston)
Probably the third-best DL prospect in Texas after Marvin Wilson and Taquon Graham. The question is where this to play a jumbo athlete with this kind of huge frame and wingspan – DE/NG/DT/OT. Rogers visited Norman for the OSU game, and he seems to be down to Texas A&M and OU. One school will make a huge push in January.
Stephan Zabie, OT – 6-5, 290, 5.1 (Austin)
Zabie was ineligible in his senior year due to a ruling by the Texas high school governing body. He's a huge athlete that has a sky high potential at OT. Is OU done at OT? Sure seems like it with pressing needs elsewhere.
Marvin Wilson, DT – 6-5, 320, 5.1 (Texas)
After the Under Armor game, Wilson released his top five – LSU, Florida State, OU, Ohio St. and South Florida:
- USF is basically Wilson telling Texas, "You lost me when you fired Charlie Strong."
- OSU was a presumed front runner, but that post-visit high maybe diminishing.
- LSU and FSU appear to be out in front, but that’s pure speculation.
OU seems to be hanging in there, with defensive line coach Calvin Thibodeaux making a huge connection with Wilson. OU appears to be No. 2 if distance eliminates FSU/OSU.
Does the Auburn win and the play of the defense give Bob Stoops one last real shot in his in-home visit to argue that OU is a Wilson-like player away from returning to the CFP? That Wilson could have an Ed Oliver-like impact, pushing the OU defense over the top? LSU already has five-star DTs and still doesn’t make the CFP.
Taquon Graham, DL – 6-4, 260, 4.75 (Texas)
Committed to UT, but Graham might be back in play after the Strong firing. Can OU get him back on campus while UT is getting its staff together? This battle might go to signing day. If Graham visits OU in January, a flip might happen.
Right now, OU has 2,586 Rivals points and the No. 5 ranking nationally. That total would be good for a top 10 class in any of the last four years. If the Sooners stand pat they should have a top 10 class by Rivals' rankings. They are in the top 10 of every service.
With a good close, OU should be able to maintain that top 10 grade by all rankings services. That includes ESPN, which is key from a hype standpoint during ESPN’s all-day recruiting event. (You want to be in that top 10 scroll on SportsCenter and all the other ESPN properties.)
From the standpoint of the Big 12, OU is dominating the competition, just like on the field. The Sooners are poised to have a massive infusion of talent enter the program at almost every position.