The Oklahoma Sooners look to close strong on the recruiting trail.
Oklahoma finished its season on a strong note with a 31-14 win over the Iowa Hawkeyes in the Insight Bowl. The Sooners' focus now turns to recruiting, where OU is again quite strong. Jordan of Crimson And Cream Machine joined me to talk about Oklahoma recruiting.
Oklahoma currently sits at 20 commitments. Jordan expects this class to get much better:
When Oklahoma initially set out to fill their 2012 class it was believed there would be a pretty limited amount of spots and would likely be one of the smallest classes to ever come in during the Bob Stoops era. However things have changed quite considerably, so much so that it's now the Sooners could be looking at possibly taking a full 25 member class after early speculation of a class as small as 12 or 13.
And Jordan has noticed a pattern about this Oklahoma class:
As it stands now the Sooners have 20 verbal commitments spanning all the way from Florida to California. In years past, OU has very heavily recruited the state of Texas but this current 2012 class is much more balanced from a geographic standpoint with just five of the 20 verbals residing in the Lone Star State.
The best player in Oklahoma's class was also the best player in Oklahoma's last class: Trey Metoyer. Basically, he's a 6'2", 200-pound receiver with excellent speed and instincts. Every major service regards him as a five-star player. He didn't make it academically and had to go to prep school. But he's on track to be on the field for Oklahoma this fall. And they'll need him to step in and replace Ryan Broyles.
But Jordan says Metoyer is just the tip of the iceberg on this class of skill guys:
In addition to the five star Metoyer, the OU coaches are putting together one heck of a wide receiver class.
Metoyer is joined by four star recruits Durron Neal and Sterling Shepard. Neal had a phenomenal senior season and would be the top rated prospect from the state of Missouri were it not for a man-child and top overall recruit (per Rivals) named Dorial Green-Beckham. Neal is a star waiting to happen at the D-I level and could make an immediate impact both at wide receiver as well as in a return game where the Sooners have been lacking a play maker of Neal's caliber for several years.
Shepard was at times overshadowed by his son of a Hall of Famer teammate, Barry Sanders Jr., but not because of a lack of talent. Shepard was a star for his OK h.s. team, spending time at WR, RB, QB, as well as being a starter at CB. The Sooners love him at WR and with his run after catch skills, he's is a perfect fit in the slot that will be vacated by the graduation of All-American Ryan Broyles. And all of that is without even mentioning one of OU's most recent verbals in four star Derrick Woods. Landing the Inglewood CA product was a big win for the Sooners, stealing a talent like that from USC's back yard. It also maintains the CA recruiting pipeline OU established back in 2010 scoring starters in Brennan Clay, Kenny Stills, and Tony Jefferson.
With two seniors departing, tight end was always going to be a focal point for the Sooners in the 2012 class. TE coach Bruce Kittle dipped into the football rich state of Florida to grab three star Laith Harlow. Harlow dealt with some injury issues during his senior season, but had surgery to correct the problems and is reported to be in good health. Hoping for more of an immediate impact type of player, the Sooners went the JUCO route for their second TE commit in Brannon Green. Green is in the mold of former Sooner and current Indianapolis Colt Brody Eldridge.
In the backfield, the Sooners current boast their state's #1 overall player in RB Alex Ross. Ross has a rare combination of size and speed that is rarely found in kids at that age and with all the issues Oklahoma has at RB right now could be a possible candidate for early playing time. Ross did deal with his own injury issues for most of his senior season and there have been persistent rumors he might be a grade risk, but if he make it in he'll be hard to keep off the field.
Note: After Jordan put this together, Oklahoma landed a commitment from Taylor McNamara, arguably the top tight end in the country. McNamara was originally committed to Arizona until the Wildcats fired Mike Stoops.
On the offensive line, the Sooners capitalized on a family connection with center Ty Darlington of Florida. Darlington is exceptionally quick and the schools in Florida and the Southeast know how good of a player the Sooners have in him.
But this class is not solely about offense.
The Sooners grabbed a commitment from Chaz Nelson, one of the better JUCO defensive ends in the country. Nelson is from Garden City, Kan., and should come in and contribute to the pass rush immediately.
Cornerback help is also on the way, as Oklahoma also picked up Kasseim Everett, a cornerback out of the California JUCO leagues. Everett actually announced his commitment to Texas Tech before faxing his paperwork to Oklahoma! Cornerback Kevin Petersen is also in the fold.
Oklahoma is still in contention for some major prospects, including receiver Dorial Green-Beckham, defensive end Mario Edwards, offensive tackle Zach Banner and receiver Nelson Agholor.
For more on Oklahoma recruiting, visit Crimson and Cream Machine.