With 24 verbal commitments, there’s only so much action right now for OU and its 2017 recruiting class. As we round into the last 10 days of recruiting for the 2017 class, there are four main Sooner stories to watch:
Who is the silent commitment?
After dropping out of the Jaylon Johnson race, OU made a flurry of defensive back offers to Sam Barnes, Russ Yeast and Dre Norwood in an attempt to fill a final cornerback. (We are presuming none of this action had anything to do with the recent legal trouble of Parrish Cobb.)
Barnes canceled an official visit scheduled for this weekend after being told that OU received a DB commitment. No verbal commitments have come in on Twitter, and there's no news from the recruiting services, so it’s time for the dreaded silent commitment.
I don’t think we’re going to find out who it is until signing day.
The Jacob Phillips saga
OU’s No. 1 recruit and a newly minted Rivals five star, Phillips has been rock solid in his pledge since his October announcement during a special school assembly. His profile blew up at the Army All-American Game, where he was arguably the best inside linebacker there.
Now LSU is coming after Phillips, with Pelican State homers claiming a flip is coming. It would be a crushing loss to OU's class. No surprise, but the Sooner message boards are in freakout mode because Phillips is taking an unofficial visit to Baton Rouge this weekend.
Sooner fans have been dreaming about signing the program's best MLB recruit since Curtis Lofton. Phillips is talking to every OU recruiting site and saying all the right things. He’s had OU in his home and keeps talking about attending OU. He has said his OU roommate is going to be Robert Barnes, and they keep in touch. He was tight with all the OU verbals at the Army game. But he’s still taking this visit to LSU.
Hopefully, he returns from the trip, shuts things down and reconfirms to OU. Otherwise, panic will continue to ensue.
The mystery recruit
Lately, OU has had a late recruit show up like Orlando Brown or Eric Swenson. This week, The Football Brainiacs stated that “there is a very good chance the Sooners could have a surprise commit on signing day from a very highly coveted out-of-state player.”
My best guess would center on the rumor that North Carolina wide receiver Ryan Jones might visit OU on Jan. 27. Jones was connected to OU back in the spring, but there hasn't been much talk about him since then.
OU could be waiting on several names on NSD related to DL recruiting.
The Sooners could add a huge piece this weekend in Austin Failou, even though he still has a visit to Oregon left. If OU misses on Failou, they will need to flip Taquon Graham from Texas on his final visit and try to land Josh Rogers on NSD.
Finally, OU fans are likely going to be dragged along on NSD to Marvin Wilson’s ESPNU TV announcement, even though OU is probably trailing FSU and LSU. But to paraphrase "Dumb and Dumber," you’re telling me there’s a chance, and with a recruit like Big Marv, that’s all Sooner recruiting fans need.
I know I’ll be watching.
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, Rivals250, 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, Rivals100.
*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)
Five stars, No. 29 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
Final tracking list
James Robinson, WR – 6-3, 200, 4.55 (Florida)
Robinson visited Florida and did not commit. In fact, news from that UF visit seems kind of light. He’s visiting Ohio State next and a Clemson visit might occur before signing day. This might be another NSD decision that Sooner fans might need to track.
Tyler Taylor, LB – 6-3, 225, 4.6 (Georgia)
He visited LSU last weekend and is now set to visit Auburn. A decision following that trip is expected. It looks like an OU-Auburn battle.
Joshua Rogers, DE – 6-6, 280, 5.0 (Houston)
Rogers is deciding on NSD. It looks like an OU-Texas A&M-Ole Miss battle. Both A&M and OU are recruiting other DL players who might not decide until NSD as well.
Austin Faoliu, DL – 6-4, 295, 4.9 (California)
OU grabbed a lead on his visit. Faoliu is declaring at the new Polynesian All-Star Game on Jan. 21. If he chooses OU, then Sooner fans will still have to wait through his trip to Oregon on the Jan. 27.
Marvin Wilson, DT – 6-5, 320, 5.1 (Texas)
Defensive line coach Calvin Thibodeaux did an in-home visit last week with Wilson, who has visited LSU and has a final visit with South Florida coming up. This week, defensive coordinator Mike Stoops joined Thibs for another visit. It seems like Bob Stoops is going to be the last head coach in Wilson's home next week before the final weekend of recruiting and the start of the next dead period.
LSU or FSU still seems like Wilson's probable destination.
Taquon Graham, DL – 6-4, 260, 4.75 (Texas)
OU is still in the mix with the Texas commit.
Right now, OU has 2,649 Rivals points and the No. 4 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.