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Blogging about college football by an Oklahoma Sooners fan.

Sooners Recruiting Update: Numbers taking shape

Fall camp and start of the season have probably changed the focus in some positions. Recruiting is not static and scholarship numbers can change as OU decides who to redshirt and who to play. The defensive end position, for instance, has seen a number of changes this fall with Nathan Hughes moving to OT, Geneo Grissom moving to TE and OU not redshirting Michael Onuoha and Charles Tapper.

The other element to watch this fall is if OU has any NFL defections or early graduations. OU can only bring in so many mid-term kids. Right now, OU has four or five slots. Currently, two of those spots are taken by D.J. Ward and Courtney Gardner, but OU would probably like to add Beau Sandland at TE and one mid-term JUCO DT.

OU is starting to get official visits scheduled, and expect a larger than usual number of committed players to visit Norman. The large number of committed kids who grabbed spots before making any visits is going to lead to outright de-commit carnage this fall. OU could easily get commits from five or six kids committed elsewhere right now. Big visit weekends are in place for Kansas State and Notre Dame. The OSU game may also see a bunch of visit traffic.

2013 Verbal Commitments: 11
(Class Size: 24 to 26)

D.J. Ward, DE
6-4, 235, 4.6

Hatari Byrd, DB
6-2, 195, 4.55

Matt Dimon, DE
6-4, 255, 4.8

Dalton Rodriguez, OT
6-6, 255, 4.8

Stanvon Taylor, CB
5-11, 175, 4.4

Cody Thomas, QB
6-5, 220, 4.6

Ahmad Thomas, SS
6-0, 200, 4.5

Jordan Mastrogiovanni, LB
6-3, 225, 4.75

Jordan Smallwood, WR
6-2, 195, 4.55

Austin Bennett, WR
6-0, 170, 4.45

Keith Ford, RB
5-11, 200, 4.5

Verbal Update

No new verbals. One lost verbal. Unfortunately, Matt Beyer has suffered another back/neck injury. Beyer got hurt his junior year, but had recovered completely and looked set for a big senior year. Beyer suffered another injury recently and presumably based on doctor recommendation has given up football. OU at least in this instance has time this fall to recruit a replacement for Beyer.

Position Updates (Projected Number)

*QB: Quick update on Cody Thomas. Thomas struggled at the Elite 11 Final event mainly due to playing in a baseball tourney the week before. His arm was tired, and he was not in football mode. His ranking got dropped by some services.

Well, now Thomas is back focused on football and just had an awesome game against Denton Guyer and UT 2014 verbal commitment QB Jerrod Heard. Denton Guyer's roster has significantly more D-I talent, and initially Heard led Denton to a two-TD lead. Thomas went into Beast Mode and kept his team in the game before grabbing a two-TD lead in the fourth quarter. Thomas had nearly 430 yards passing and running for 7 TDs.

According to recruiting gurus who watched the game, it was one of the best clutch big-time QB performances they had seen in a while. Thomas has elite potential when he's focused on football.

*RB: With OU able to redshirt Alex Ross and David Smith for now, Keith Ford looks like the only RB in the class.

*WR (2-3):

OU has two excellent verbals in Smallwood and Bennett. With Derrick Woods and Jalen Saunders redshirting along with the arrival of Courtney Gardner, WR is pretty set. I think the only kid in play is Laquon Treadwell. Treadwell is a special talent you have to keep chasing if he's still talking to OU.

  • Torii Hunter, Jr. (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?
  • Laquon Treadwell (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 and the rumored Michigan verbal appears delayed until he can visit some other schools.

*TE (1-2): Right now it's Beau Sandland or bust at TE. OU was able to redshirt Sam Grant, and Geneo Grissom is also providing more depth at TE.

  • Beau Sandland (6-5, 250, 4.7) – Maybe the best looking JUCO TE prospect since Jeremy Shockey. 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.

*OL (4-5, 6?):

No Beyer, so OU has one verbal in Dalton Rodriguez who is not playing OT this fall at all. He's having a very strong season at DE (like why move him to OT type season so far), but he's certainly not bulking up or playing OL.

Since August, OU has lost 3 OL players (Will Latu, John Michael McGee, Dylan Dismuke), so the number of OL needed is around 5. While many Sooner fans are clamoring for JUCO OL, the reality is that OU will return their nine out of its top 10 OL next fall. JUCO mid-term slots are tight, and any JUCO OT worth a slot is going to want more of a starting opportunity than competing with redshirt juniors who were starters the year before. (If OU could find a August enrollee JUCO OT that was willing to redshirt or that had three years to play, that would be great.)

What OU needs are high school OT/OG prospects. At a minimum of four, OU has to sign three OTs and one OG. Anything less is an outright numbers failure at the position. I'm going to list 8 names (three verbaled to UCLA, one to Duke), and the only one who might be an OU lean is Rob Boyd, who OU has not offered yet. Patton and Kittle need to ABC (always be closing) like madmen this fall and lock down some of these kids. To repeat, OU HAS to get three more OL guys who are HS prospects or this OL class is a critical failure.

  • Na'ty Rodgers (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. Visiting for the Kstate game. OU is probably trailing Maryland and maybe South Carolina.
  • Kenny Lacy (6-5, 275, 5.0) – Best OT in Arizona looks like a sure fire offer in his highlights. Athleticism on DE plays 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. Verbaled to UCLA, but still scheduled to visit OU.
  • Caleb Beneoch (6-6, 320, 5.2) – Former Michigan State verbal who has decommitted and is now receiving big-time offers from OU and UT. Big physical body who can play inside or outside. Beneoch is visiting Norman for the KSU game, and OU is trying to get Beneoch away from childhood favorite Texas. He's probably Austin bound, but it would be big win for OU to get him.
  • Rob Boyd (6-4, 290, 5.0) – He's verbaled to Tulsa. I'd like to think that OU is his dream school and an offer would lead to a switch. He's a power OG prospect who could also play center, which is a factor with OU probably having to play Ty Darlington this year and not redshirt him.
  • Sean Dowling (6-6, 265, 5.2) – Another UCLA commit who OU is after. Dowling has been committed to UCLA since the summer, but it is looking like he will visit OU for the ND game. San Diego has been very good to OU recently. Dowling has a great frame and the wingspan to be a 6-6, 300-pound OT on the left or right side.
  • Aaron Cochran (6-7, 330, 5.3) – A big RT prospect from California who is still on the OU radar. Can OU get him on campus for a visit?
  • Christian Morris (6-6, 295, 5.1) – Another UCLA verbal who has blown up in recruiting. OU has offered and will try and get him on campus. He's a big athlete who again looks like he could be a great LT/RT.
  • Sterling Korona (6-7, 255, 5.0) – Beyer's HS teammate is currently committed to Duke. Korona was a former basketball player who has just recently focused on football. He has a huge frame and wingspan for OT. Excellent athlete, but very raw at OT.
  • Christian Daimler (6-6, 280, 5.1) – Another new prospect who OU may be evaluating at OT. Daimler on film looks like a good OT prospect – very physical in the run game. He looks like comfortable in pass protection, but his high school is definitely a run-first team.

*DT (2-3): The DT recruiting position at OU seems as dire as the OL position, mainly due to the early game absences of Stacy McGee and Casey Walker. However, DT is still right where it was back in July. OU badly needs a mid-term impact JUCO DT. That player is Toby Johnson from Hutchinson. OU also needs to sign at least one legit high school DT. That player is still Justin Manning.

If Jackie Shipp can land both, then he has reloaded the present and the future at DT for the Sooners. I could also see OU signing a second JUCO DT who wasn't a mid-term enrollee if they find the right guy.

  • Justin Manning (6-3, 280, 4.9) – Demarcus Granger's younger brother. He looks faster and more explosive than his brother. OU needs to lock up Manning. He looks like he's going to be a big-time dominating DT. He'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. He could be the next great Sooner DT. He's easily the best DT in Texas.
  • DeAsian Richardson (6-3, 285, 4.9) – Like Manning, it's easy to see Richardson being able to play both DTs spots for the Sooners. Your typical big, mobile, physical SEC-region DL. Richardson verbaled to WVU, but an OU visit is still on the schedule. I could really see OU flipping Richardson if that visit happens.
  • Josh Augusta (6-5, 280, 4.8) – This name has been listed before and removed. Augusta indicated he didn't want to leave the area, but now he is talking about visiting OU again.
  • Toby Johnson (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. He's visited Norman and Shipp is certainly pulling out every stop to get Johnson. A coaching change at Tennessee could really help OU land Johnson. Also, Shipp needs to convince Johnson that the OU 4-3 scheme is ideal for him to excel, as opposed to UGA's 3-4 scheme where he would be forced to play DE.
  • Quincy Russell (6-4, 310, 5.0) – Former UT verbal who had grade issues and went JUCO. UT seems disinterested in re-signing him, and OU is evaluating him at DT.
  • Maquedias Bain (6-5, 290, 5.0) – A huge DT prospect who called also end up on the OL. He's talking about visiting OU, though.
  • Deadrin Senat (6-2, 300, 4.9) – An FSU verbal who has decided to re-open 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.

*DE (2-3): Does OU need one more DE? Bobby Jack Wright struck three-star gold with Tapper and Ouonha, both of whom look like future elite DEs. Dimon is having a great senior year so far, and D.J. Ward will be enrolling early, giving him a huge chance to be a factor at DE next fall. OU just hosted Dimarya Mixon, and it would not be a huge surprise to see him switch to OU, but he also might be a DT.

  • Dimarya Mixon (6-4, 255, 4.75) – Could be a DE, but he could also outgrow DE and move to DT like Adrian Taylor. Or, like David King, he could be a big DE on running downs and move inside as a pass rusher on 3rd and long. Currently verbaled to Arizona State, but his recent visit to OU could change all that.
  • Randall Gregory (6-6, 235, 4.6) – A JUCO DE who OU offered earlier in August. Gregory is a placement by Purdue. He has a huge wingspan and excellent speed. Does OU need a JUCO DE?
  • Ogbonnia Okoronkwo (6-3, 220, 4.6) – His teammate Torrodney Prevot, who is committed to USC, is more highly rated, but some folks who have watched their first games lately think Ogbonnia looks better than Prevot. His offer list in the last week has exploded. He's verbaled to Oklahoma State right now.

*LB (2-3): Okay, one LB is onboard. LB in preseason looked like it needed more numbers, but, overall, after two games, things seem okay with the young LBs Franklin Shannon, Aaron Franklin and Eric Striker looking pretty good. In addition, through 2 games, OU is barely playing any three-LB formations. OU could definitely use another HS LB, though. A JUCO LB is a tough call, but if Devante Bond is an August enrollee, that could work for OU.

  • E.J. Levenberry (6-3, 235) – He's verbaled to FSU and didn't seem to have any real interest in OU after Brent Venables left for Clemson. However, Tim Kish and Bob went back to Levenberry, and now his dad is very unhappy with FSU's coaching staff. He's scheduled to visit Norman for the ND game. He makes that visit, and anything could happen.
  • Devante Bond (6-3, 230, 4.6) – Awesome looking JUCO star from Pierce CC. Kish will need to figure out if this JUCO addition makes sense, but it would be the ultimate insurance against an injury to Corey Nelson or Tom Wort (who is starting to show a tendency for being hurt). The only problem is that I'm not sure Bond can play MIKE LB for OU.
  • Mike Mitchell (6-4, 225, 4.6) – Is he a DE or big OLB? OU is probably trying to figure that out as well. He has visited OU unofficially already in August. An official visit during an upcoming home game before he decides is very likely.
  • Jordan Evans (6-3, 205, 4.6) – Every year, it seems that there's a prospect in-state who comes on strong his senior year and forces OU to re-evaluate its stance. Evans could be the kid this year. Son of Sooner DT Scottie Evans (too bad he's not 6-4, 290, like his dad), Jordan as a junior was only 6-1, 180, but he's now added nearly 30 pounds and grown two inches. He had a great Sooner summer camp and has started his senior year with big plays on defense. He probably has the frame to carry 225-230 pounds easily now.

*DB (6): Three down, two or three to go.

Why does OU need three safeties in this class? The back-up behind safety Tony Jefferson is Jesse Paulsen, a senior walk-on. The back-up behind nickelback Gabe Lynn is Julian Wilson, who is also the primary dimeback. OU's playing five DBs all the time and six DBs on 3rd and long almost all the time, so OU needs to reload the secondary numbers. Mike's got a great three-player class going and just needs to get some official visits from his remaining targets. Mike right now appears to be have improved as a recruiter significantly since his last tenure at OU.

Cole Luke (6-0, 175, 4.5) – Luke looks like an ideal CB prospect for OU. Fast, agile and excellent ball skills. Could be an OU-UT battle. OU will get a visit this fall.

L.J. Moore (6-1, 180, 4.5) – Teammate of Byrd. Looks like he could play CB or safety – the kind of flexible DB for the OU scheme that needs to defend seven spread attacks a season. UCLA is making a big push, according to Twitter reports. Still scheduled to visit for the ND game.

Tyler Foreman (6-2, 195, 4.5) – Does OU need a third big safety? Foreman would be the guy, and he's visiting for KSU apparently.

Lamar Robbins (6-3, 185, 4.45) – One of the top big CBs in Florida. Very similar to OU CB Gary Simon. Mike has made great progress in getting him to consider OU. OU fans should be loving the thought of an OU secondary loaded with top DBs from SEC country and California. Robbins is giving indications that OU leads and is just waiting for the official visit to verbal.

Marcell Harris (6-2, 208, 4.55) – The best safety on the board. This big hitter would be an ideal strong safety for OU. He has family connections back to Florida, so he's likely a Gator, but he's visited UT and is talking about visiting OU for the KSU game.

Leroy Clark (5-11, 180, 4.45) – A smaller DB, but he apparently has an OU offer and is very interested in the Sooners. On film, he's a very fast, agile slot WR, punt returner and CB with 11 INTs in 2011.