Articles

Blogging about college football by an Oklahoma Sooners fan.

Sooner Signing Day Surprise, For a Change

Corey NelsonOnce a national holiday for college football junkies, Signing Day has become as played out as Jack Bauer.

Thanks to Internet recruiting sites, fans often know where the vast majority of top prospects are headed months in advance of their actual signing. The pomp and circumstance of ceremonies in gyms and the tired hat game no longer provide those drama-filled moments of anticipation. In fact, most teams just want to make it through the day with their classes unscathed. Like New Years Eve in Bangkok, the goal is to not be missing a kidney the next morning.

After Corey Nelson's flip-flop this morning, the Texas A&M Aggies must feel like they just woke up in a bathtub full of ice. And in the cold-blooded world of recruiting, A&M's loss is the Oklahoma Sooners' gain.

Following a bizarre weekend of back and forth, it appeared Tuesday that the chances A&M's top recruit would jump ship for the Sooners were somewhere between slim and none. So imagine Sooner Nation's surprise to wake up Wednesday morning and find that somehow OU had traded longtime commit Jarrett Lake for Nelson.

Signing Nelson capped off a fascinating year in recruiting for OU.

With Mack Brown running roughshod over the state of Texas, OU coach Bob Stoops and his staff had to get creative to keep up. The Sooners tapped far-flung regions like San Diego and Kansas and Florida, coming away with some outstanding newcomers in the process.

*Best Long-Term Prospect: Tony Jefferson

Early enrollee Jefferson has all the tools to be an All-American safety. He should thrive in the Sooners' aggressive defensive scheme, benefiting from the tutelage of new defensive backs coach Willie Martinez. He will go down as the gem of this class when all is said and done.

*Immediate Impact: Roy Finch, Brennan Clay

Senior DeMarco Murray returns for one last rodeo, but OU's preference for two- and three-back rotations is clear after the last few seasons. Despite their promise, sophomores Jonathan Miller and Jermie Calhoun remain unknown quantities. Clay and Finch certainly could sneak in and steal some reps, especially if their receiving skills live up to billing.

*Sleeper: Chuka Ndulue

Chuka Ndulue

Ndulue is a classic project recruit. With his athleticism and raw ability, he could blossom into scary defensive end if he's coached up correctly.

*Upgraded: Offensive Line

The 2010 class includes a host of well-regarded offensive line prospects. Big Bronson Irwin out of Mustang, Okla., has the makings of an all-conference performer. Tyrus Thompson looks like another potential standout. I doubt many of the newcomers contribute right away, but that doesn't mean this group can't play.

*Not Enough: Offensive Line

Given how poorly OU's offensive line played in 2009, a juco who could contribute immediately really would have helped out. The Sooners missed out on key target John Cullen, who picked Utah over OU and USC. As it currently stands, the o-line next season primarily will consist of guys who saw action this year. Here's hoping the growing pains are gone.

*Wildcard: Trey Franks

I'm not quite sure about Franks' overall skill set. However, with the kind of speed he possesses, there's bound to be a spot for him on special teams or as part of a few gimmick packages on offense.

Homerism's Final Grade: B+

Overall, the Oklahoma coaching staff has assembled a deep, solid class that addresses plenty of needs. Whereas the 2009 group was defense-heavy, this bunch skewed towards the offensive side of the ball. In particular, the Sooners acquired loads of speed and athleticism and landed some promising young players at running back, wide receiver and offensive line.

Plenty of high-profile recruits snubbed OU this year–Jackson Jeffcoat, Kyle Prater, Darius White. The class doesn't have quite the flash of past groups that included names like Adrian Peterson and Tommie Harris. Despite the lack of star power, though, these recruits will offer depth in the short run and eventually form the core of teams that will contend for Big 12 and national championships.