The Oklahoma Sooners are coming off a bye week after escaping El Paso with a win over UTEP and a beatdown of Florida A&M, with Kansas State heading to Norman this weekend for the first major contest of the season for both teams.
There will also be a handful of top prospects on hand for the game for what may be the school's biggest recruiting weekend of the season. After losing Florida running back(decommit) and Texas offensive lineman Matt Beyer (gave up football due to injuries), the Sooners haven't had a great deal of positive momentum recently. That could change this weekend.
In terms of the biggest and most important prospect of the weekend, there's unquestionably room for debate. Is it Hutchinson (KS) Community College defensive tackle Toby Johnson, who is the top junior college prospect in the country? Or Sooner legacy, the defensive tackle from Dallas (TX) Kimball? How about Katy (TX) Seven Lakes offensive lineman Caleb Benenoch, who plays a huge need position and recently said that Texas is no longer his leader?
A case could be made for each. Johnson is as highly recruited as his rankings would suggest, but still seems open in the process, with Texas A&M, Nebraska, and Georgia considered the favorites, though Johnson currently has a list that includes a handful of other schools.
The visit for Manning will be the first of five planned officials. As the younger brother of former Sooner defensive tackle DeMarcus Granger, Manning has long been considered an Oklahoma lean, but has not made the expected commitment, in large part due to a late offer from the Sooners. It would be a surprise to see Manning end up anywhere else other than Oklahoma.
Benenoch is in the mix as the most important visitor because of need -- Oklahoma wants to take several more offensive linemen in the class, but only has one committed, and Benenoch is the top uncommitted player at his position in the state of Texas.
Not enough top prospects? How about jumbo Florida safety Marcell Harris? It will be the first time in Norman for the Florida legacy, who is widely believed to have a top two of the Gators and the Texas Longhorns, with the Florida State Seminoles trailing in a distant third, so the Sooners aren't considered to have a strong shot at landing him, but a visit is a visit.
Another safety who plans on being in town is Livingston (TX) athlete Chevoski Collins, a likely college defensive back whose recruitment has been a bit of a mystery.
But wait, there's more -- Maryland offensive lineman Na'Ty Rodgers, an OU legacy who is coming off a visit to South Carolina last week and represents a major need for the same reason as Benenoch, California safety Tyler Foreman, and Katy (TX) running back Adam Taylor, who tried to pledge to LSU before most likely being informed that his offer was uncommittable and could help ease some of the sting of the Bryant decommitment with a pledge to the Sooners.
Among several targets in the 2014 class, there are two prospects who will also make the journey from the Lone Star State across the Red River -- Jamal Adams, on of the top defensive backs in the state who hails from Lewisville (TX) Hebron, and Alvin (TX) Manvel tight end Koda Martin, the son of the head coach there and a 6-7 prospect with remarkable feet for his size and the frame to eventually grow into an offensive tackle.
Other visitors include a handful of 2013 commits, as well as several other 2014 prospects. Yeah, it's a big visit weekend.
As the Sooners look to close out the 2013 class strong and fill significant need positions of defensive tackle and along the offensive line, as well as linebacker, the impressions made by head coach Bob Stoops and his staff this weekend could go a long way towards influence those eventual decisions.