2013 Verbal Commitments: 8
(Projected class of 20 to 24)
DJ Ward, DE (Okla.)
6-4, 235, 4.6
Greg Bryant, RB (Fla.)
5-11, 200, 4.45
Matt Dimon, DE (Texas)
6-4, 255, 4.8
Dalton Rodriguez, OT (Okla.)
6-6, 255, 4.8
Stanvon Taylor, CB (Okla.)
5-11, 175, 4.4
Cody Thomas, QB (Texas)
6-5, 220, 4.6
Ahmad Thomas, SS (Fla.)
6-0, 200, 4.5
Keith Ford, RB (Texas)
5-11, 200, 4.5
*Ahmad Thomas was the biggest surprise verbal to date. Recent offer by Mike Stoops who must have thought he was seeing vintage safety play from 2000 to 2003 when watching Thomas' highlight reel. Thomas is a hard-hitting safety in run support who excels in coverage, and as the last line of defense on running plays makes a number of TD-saving tackles. He's a true strong safety, not some eventual hybrid LB. Thomas is not highly ranked right now by all services, but I fully expect his rankings to skyrocket once more folks watch his film.
*OU has its QB. Cody Thomas got the only offer after Max Browne and didn't let any other QBs get into the race. The biggest concern with Thomas has been his potential as an MLB draft pick. Thomas is not a power pitching prospect despite his cannon arm shown in football. (Thomas is a lefty, power-hitting outfielder.) Thomas right now is committed to playing college football and college baseball. You have to think at some point there will come a time that Bob Stoops/Josh Heupel explain to Cody that to win the OU QB job, he's going to need to drop baseball. The other concern is that we're 13 months away from his MLB draft status being clear. He's not a first-round pick right now, but things could change, and OU cannot afford to not enroll a QB in August 2013. Landry Jones is leaving and a QB battle is brewing, which could lead to multiple transfers. QB depth can disappear overnight. (More info on Thomas in the QB section.)
*Right now OU has six verbals ranked four stars or higher by at least one service.
Cortez Johnson, DB (Arizona transfer)
Note: Mike Stoops thinks that the kid can be an elite DB in college.
Lacoltan Bester, WR (Miss., JUCO)
6-2, 205, 4.5
Note: More than 1,0000 yards receiving, 17 TDs in JUCO league loaded with SEC-level talent.)
Jalen Saunders, WR (Fresno State transfer)
5-9, 165, 4.4
*OU has added 3 players to their 2012 class. Saunders and Johnson will probably redshirt while Bester should see the field courtesy of the WR suspensions that were announced. It's unclear if these 3 additions reduce the number of scholarships for 2013 signing day or if recent suspensions have opened up new spots. In addition, the two new WRs probably mean that instead of a class of four high school WRs for this class, OU will stick with two or three.
*OU heads into a busy month of June with summer camps potentially leading to a number of new offers/verbals. Last year, OU summer camps led to verbals from Eric Striker and Durron Neal and a week or two later John Micheal McGee and Ty Darlington. So it could be a busy time with new offers presented to kids who want to be Sooners and out of state offers/targets visiting Norman for the first time and possibly verbaling. Also, we are starting to see some more Texas regional offers go out, and I'd imagine that OU will start to cull the offers to longer-distance kids.
*Finally, OU has set up four official visits for the ND game. The Fresno DB 3 (Hatari Byrd, LJ Moore, Johnny Johnson) and new offer Adrian Baker are scheduled right now. Look for OU to leverage the media event that will be OU-ND as the glamour recruiting weekend for out of region official visits.
2013 Position Updates (expected spots)
I have to admit that while I liked Cody Thomas' highlight film and Thomas showed an excellent arm, good accuracy and nice fluid release, his highlight film was filled with a lot of horizontal short passing game action and he was hardly if ever under pressure. He was just in the shotgun throwing to wide open WRs and often telegraphing his passes. It wasn't a "wow" film like Max Browne's or Cooper Bateman's.
Fortunately, HUDL.com has Cody Thomas' full season highlights from 2011, so I watched his action from all 11 games.
The first interesting element is that his best 30 or some throws are not even in the youtube highlight reel. By deep diving into his 2011 action, you see that Thomas is great under pressure from the outside and inside. Thomas shows more downfield passing into coverage and working the middle of the field. His calm presence and ability to make plays when facing inside pressure is perhaps the most impressive element. His athleticism is much more apparent in escaping pocket pressure and picking up garbage running yards. His accuracy and touch on deep passes is very good. His accuracy while on the run is excellent, and you can really see his arm strength since he is able to just flip the ball with pace to WRs while on the the move. Finally, he does a good job selling the action to one WR while throwing to another, starting to move DBs with his eyes.
Running Back (2)
OU is done. Running backs coach Cale Gundy is already identifying 2014 targets, such Devon Thomas out of Broken Arrow, Okla..
Wide Receiver (2-3)
Position coach Jay Norvell seems to be looking at national targets and some Texas kids. One big WR and one slot WR seems like the likely combo.
Norvell is big-game hunting; he's after difference-makers. The suspensions certainly make three WRs a possibility.
*Alvin Bailey (Fla.)
5-11, 175, 4.4
Teammate of Eric Striker. Would fit just behind Steve Mitchell on the small WR wish list.
*Devon Allen (Ariz.)
6-0, 185, 4.35
Another name likely to blowup this year. Elite track athlete. Could be a great slot WR in the OU scheme.
*Torii Hunter, Jr. (Texas)
6-0, 185, 4.5
Son of the baseball outfielder. Will he go to college? How good could he be if he focused on football? Will off the field problems with his brother put Hunter on the back burner for OU?
*Travis Johnson (Fla.)
6-4, 210, 4.55
Best big WR in Florida. Going to be hard to get out of the SEC, but OU's WR rep is on the rise with Ryan Broyles and OU's passing attack. Not elite speed, but great in the air and gets separation off the line.
*Laquon Treadwell (Ill.)
6-3, 190, 4.5
Treadwell was all set to be at the OU spring game before the bad weather had him cancel his planned trip. He's an excellent big WR. Appears to have made a connection with OU signee David Smith who plays in the same HS district. Seems very interested in OU.
*Darrell Daniels (Calif.)
6-3, 200, 4.5
Daniels might be the best big WR in the country. Norvell has great connections in California and will see if OU can stay involved. Daniels could also be an awesome safety.
*Sebastian Larue (Calif.)
5-11, 185. 4.5
Best looking slot WR not named Steven Mitchell.
*Steven Mitchell (Calif.)
5-11, 175, 4.4
Right now, he looks like the best slot WR target on the OU board. Great speed, hands, acceleration.
*Demarcus Robinson (Ga.)
6-2, 195, 4.5
Recently indicated on twitter that OU was in his top five. Related to former Chicago Bears WR Marcus Robinson.
*Carlos Burse (Ga.)
6-2, 200, 4.55
Another Georgia WR who is seriously listing OU.
*Robbie Rhodes (Texas)
6-2, 184, 4.45
A new name claiming an OU offer on twitter. Offer list might be ready to explode. Shows excellent home run speed in highlights.
Tight End (1-2)
Dan Mattingly is probably the top target here, and he's a great looking TE prospect. Based on his highlight reel, Beau Sandland might be the best JUCO TE since Jeremy Shockey. Christian Morgan was at the OU camp, so I've added him back to the list.
*Dan Mattingly (Wash.)
6-5, 225, 4.6
Most recent high school TE offer. He looks great on film – excellent downfield speed and a physical blocker. Seems very interested in OU. Should be OU's No. 1 HS target at TE.
*Beau Sandland (Calif.)
6-5, 250, 4.7
Maybe the best looking TE prospect in a long time. He's a complete talent at the TE position, and I've never seen OU offer a JUCO TE this early. He's a special talent. The entire world of college football is going to want this kid.
*Hunter Henry (Arl.)
6-5, 245, 4.7
OU has offered this TE prospect. Getting prospects out of Pigland hasn't worked for OU lately.
*Jeremiah Gaines (Texas)
6-3, 230, 4.6
Gaines also was just invited to OU's junior day. Gaines plays much more of a flexed out TE position in HS. He also carries the ball out of a shotgun H-Back look. Possible Millard replacement? He shows excellent speed and is a vertical threat.
*Christian Morgan (Texas)
6-5, 245, 4.75
Morgan has been on and off the OU radar all spring. He's visiting OU's summer camp to try and lock down a scholarship offer. He's a good looking TE, but is not the downfield receiving threat Mattingly and Henry are.
Offensive Line (3-4)
So with Rodriguez verbaled, OU needs at least 2 more OT prospects. Several national kids have been offered while OU is still evaluating some of the earlier kids that have visited OU. Position coach Bruce Kittle seems to be recruiting at OL from a position of strength that isn't clear from the top kids he is recruiting. Ethan Pocic just picked LSU, so the numbers are falling, but Kittle is not actively trying to get back on kids like Dan Skipper, Clay Rhodes and Jake Campos.
*Na'ty Rodgers (D.C.)
6-5, 280, 5.0
Rodgers is an excellent OL prospect very physical and athletic. Could easily play inside as well. OU has a connection to his dad who was at OU for a year before leaving during the Gibbs probation era. Dad is friends with Jamelle Holieway and still talks up OU. The OU centric OL for the Redskins isn't hurting either.
*Laremy Tunsil (Fla.)
6-6, 280, 5.0
He's probably the best OT target on the board (it's him or Pocic). I don't see how OU can get him out of the SEC/Florida.
*Nico Falah (Calif.)
6-5, 270, 5.0
It's hard to see how OU will get this kid away from UCLA/USC, but it's certainly worth the effort. He's an excellent OL prospect.
Kenny Lacy (Ariz.)
6-5, 275, 5.0
Best OT in Arizona looks like a surefire offer in his highlights. Athleticism is excellent. Raw, but has a huge wingspan. Looks a little like Tyrus Thompson coming out of HS. A DL guy learning that OL is his future in college. The kind of kid that makes OL recruiting so hard. Lacy has apparently been tearing it up at some combines this spring.
*Richy Klepal (Fla.)
6-5, 285, 5.2
Another OU target from Florida. Mobile athletic OT but getting him away from FSU will be tough.
*Aaron Cochran (Calif.)
6-7, 340, 5.4
Largest OL target on the board. On Twitter, he's listing OU among his top five. You can see the physical skill on film, but he's very raw and needs to lose some bad weight. The potential is there.
*Christian Morris (Tenn.)
6-6, 275, 5.1
Another mobile OT prospect. OU is battling the SEC for a visit.
*Dan Skipper (Colo.)
6-10, 280, 5.3
Skipper is a legit OT prospect, not some unathletic big man. His film is very good. He's mobile and very physical – even does a decent job at DT in some clips. It's not hard to see Ryan Solder (OT with the Patriots) potential here.
*Zach Hannon (Mo.)
6-5, 295, 5.2
More of an offensive guard prospect, which begs the question of why Hannon and not Rob Boyd? Hannon has played OT in high school. In highlights, he does look to have a long wingspan, a key for OTs.
Defensive Tackle (3)
DT recruiting is settling into three specific buckets. One is Justin Manning, the best bet for a highly ranked HS DT.
Two is JUCO DT recruiting. Recognizing the need to add some balance to their DT classes, the Sooners will probably add a JUCO DT.
Third bucket: If OU can get Manning, will OU add a second HS DT? There's not an obvious prospect on the offer board right now. I'd love to see a DT class of Manning, JUCO DT, and Josh Augusta or Eddie Vanderdoes.
Some more offers at DT to track, but no signs of a verbal about to occur.
*Justin Manning (DT)
6-3, 280, 4.9
Demarcus Granger's younger brother looks faster and more explosive than his older brother. OU needs to lock him up. He looks like he's going to be a big-time dominating DT.
Manning's talking about taking his time. Apparently, the timing of OU's offer annoyed Manning. He still seems pretty excited about OU and was annoyed that he missed the OU spring game.
*Josh Augusta (Ill.)
6-5, 290, 4.8
Augusta is a bit under the radar right now, but his potential is very high. He can probably carry 300 pounds easily and could be a DT, DE or OT. He plays a flexed-out TE in some of these clips and watching HS kids try to tackle him is not even funny.
OU offer got his attention. He could be the "big" DT prospect to go with Manning. Very similar to Jordan Phillips as a junior.
*Eddie Vanderdoes (Calif.)
6-4, 285 4.8
DE prospect who would probably play inside at OU. OU's pitching him that he can be the next Gerald McCoy. Like Augusta, Vanderdoes could easily go 300-plus once he hits a college weight room. His frame has that kind of room.
*Deadrin Senat (Fla.)
6-2, 300, 4.9
An FSU verbal who has decided to reopen his recruiting. Senat may end up back at FSU, but he would be a great interior anchor for the OU DL. As long as he is open, I can see OU staying involved.
*DeAsian Richardson (Fla.)
6-3, 285, 4.9
Like Manning, it's easy to see Richardson being able to play both DT spots for the Sooners. Your typical big, mobile, physical, SEC-region DL.
*Toby Johnson (Kansas)
6-3, 300, 4.9
Might be the best JUCO DT in the country. From Georgia originally, but not placed in JUCO by any school. OU's never offered a JUCO DT this early. SEC schools are the biggest challenge for OU as Johnson might want to return to that region.
*Tutulupeau Mataele (Calif.)
6-3, 285, 4.8
Just like Johnson he's ranked as a top DT in JUCO ranks.
Defensive End (2-3)
OU needs just one more DE. Right now it's looking like Jordan Sherit is the only target on the board. Can Bobby Jack Wright lock down this Florida athlete?
*Joe Mathis (Calif.)
6-4, 250, 4.7
Big athletic powerful DE who seems to be very interested in OU. He's athletic enough to play either position for the Sooners. Mathis has backed off an early verbal, and schools may be taking a wait and see view on Mathis due to grades.
*Jordan Sherit (Fla.)
6-4, 245, 4.7
Big time DE from Florida who has major connections back to OU thru his HS coach. BJW will probably visit him soon and might push for a verbal to end DE recruiting. He's got the athleticism to play TE for his HS and has a great rangy frame to play at 250-plus.
*Dimarya Mixon (Texas)
6-4, 255, 4.75
Could be a DE, but he could also outgrow DE and move to DT like Adrian Taylor. Currently verbaled to Arizona St., but OU's recent offer could change that.
LB was the biggest question, with a lot of offers to out-of-region kids, but no one where you could say OU was in the top three. So OU has now offered two Texas-based LBs, Jordan Mastrogiovanni and Raquaan Davis. Davis is still sticking with his Baylor verbal, but Mastrogiovanni could be one of the guys in Norman in June visiting.
*Tim Kimbrough (Ind.)
6-1, 225, 4.6
New offer according to Twitter traffic. Appears to be a very physical pure MLB.
*Yannick Ngakoue (D.C.)
6-3, 240, 4.6
Another big MLB. He's also playing DE in some of the highlights. OU has offered, but level of interest is unclear.
*Jordan Mastrogiovanni (Texas)
6-3, 225, 4.75
A bigger LB than OU has recruiting lately. Shows excellent range and physical play. I've seen his 40 time listed at 4.9, but he seems faster than that with better closing speed base on his film. Could be OU's first LB verbal.
*Raquaan Davis (Texas)
6-2, 205, 4.6
More of a WILL LB in the OU scheme similar to Corey Nelson. Will he stick with Baylor now that OU has shown up with an offer?
Mike Mitchell (Texas)
6-4, 225, 4.6
Is he a DE or big OLB? OU is probably trying to figure that out as well.
Reggie Chevis (Texas)
6-2, 235, 4.6
Recent offer, according to Twitter traffic. Looks like a true MLB on video.
Chans Cox (Ariz.)
6-3, 220, 4.5
His highlights at FB are so dominant you almost downgrade the LB clips. Still it's easy to see the speed and power at LB once he focuses on that position.
Defensive Back (5)
Two down, three to go.
Can Mike get one of the big time remaining California safeties in Max Redfield, Hatari Byrd or Tahaan Goodman? CB is also up in the air, with any number of kids looking like possibilities. If Mike strikes out in Texas for his top targets, it certainly looks like he will go to California and Florida for replacements.
*Priest Willis (Ariz.)
6-2, 200, 4.5
An ideal safety prospect for countering Big 12 offenses. Physical safety with speed and range. Could almost be a big CB. Kish has OU in line for a visit.
*Cole Luke (Ariz.)
6-0, 175, 4.5
Luke looks like an ideal CB prospect for OU. Fast, agile and excellent ball skills. OU appears in line to get a visit. Kish has been recruiting Luke for years. Another spring game victim of the bad weather.
*Max Redfield (Calif.)
6-2, 195, 4.5 California
Wow. That's all I had after seeing his film. He has unreal looking film at safety. Size, speed, power, range, and ball skills at safety. Top five player OU is recruiting regardless of position.
*Hatari Byrd (Calif.)
6-1, 185, 4.5
Are you seeing a trend here? Another great looking CB/safety target for OU.
*Tahaan Goodman (Calif.)
6-2, 190, 4.5
After Redfield, he's probably the best safety in California. Yet another OU offer.
*Tyler Foreman (Calif.)
6-2, 195, 4.5
Looks like a big time safety prospect. Physical in run support good in coverage.
*Maurice Smith (Texas)
5-11, 180, 4.5
Might be the best CB in Texas. Both OU and UT are recruiting heavily. OU offer is out there and he's a top target. UT has offered now, and could be in the lead.
*Adrian Baker (Fla.)
6-2, 170, 4.5
Another tall CB that Mike Stoops has offered in Florida. His offer list is exploding.