Oklahoma lands two rising prospects in Walker and Young
Heading into the last big visit weekend for the Oklahoma Sooners in the 2013 cycle, it was hardy a secret that South Garland (Texas) defensive tackle Charles Walker and Perris (Calif.) Citrus Hill wide receiver KJ Young could leave Norman as Oklahoma commits. Walker followed through with his plans and Young also committed on the spot after receiving his offer.
Both consensus three-star prospects, Walker and Young also improved their stock significantly after strong senior seasons.
In the case of Walker, getting through a full season healthy for the first time in three years help to bolster his prospect status, though his other four offers were from New Mexico, New Mexico St., North Texas, and Texas St.
The 6-3, 280-pounder joins a growing defensive tackle grout at Oklahoma that had zero commitments as recently as a month ago at a position where several incoming players will have to contribute early, though Walker would seem to have the furthest to go among junior college signee Quincy Russell and Dallas (Texas) Skyline's Kerrick Huggins.
Like Walker, Young saw his stock rise after a strong senior season, with offers coming in from Washington St., Texas Tech, and Iowa St. At 6-0 and 180 pounds, he has size more reminiscent of a slot receiver, but plays like a flanker because of his ball skills and lack of prototypical slot receiver burst.
But the two pledges weren't the only important visitors for Bob Stoops and company, as California defensive backs Tahaan Goodman and LJ Moore were both in town. So, too, was Houston (Texas) Bellaire athlete Devin Lauderdale, the explosive former Texas Tech commit.
Goodman apparently didn't have a host on Friday night and told SB Nation Recruiting at the Army Bowl that he didn't know much about Oklahoma heading into his official visit, never a good sign this late in the process.
If the talented safety remains a longshot, that isn't the case with Moore, whose teammate Hatari Byrd is a longtime Oklahoma commit, and Lauderdale, who is set to take an official visit to Oklahoma St. next weekend. The Cowboys may be the most serious competition for the Sooners in the contest to land his services.
The weekend wasn't completely a success for Oklahoma, though, as the staff had to make the late decision to cancel a planned Junior Day because of the visitors coming in. Why did it take until the final days for Stoops and his staff to realize the schedule conflict and its ramifications?
That still isn't clear, but at least the Sooners were able to generate some positive momentum from a situation that had to disappoint Oklahoma fans.
TCU adds skill position talent, trench help
The TCU Horned Frogs added some offensive firepower over the weekend in landing three big commitments -- Temple (Texas) quarterback Zach Allen, Auburn (Ala.) athlete Cameron Echols-Luper, and College of the Canyons offensive lineman Lloyd Tunstill.
Despite an extremely deep 2013 quarterback class in the state of Texas, the Horned Frogs had been having problems landing a signal-caller. An offer went out early in the process to Whitewright product Tyrone Swoopes, who committed to Texas in February of 2012 and has remained firm, while the focus in recent weeks was on flipping Prosper (Texas)'s Davis Webb, a Texas Tech commit who opted to remain with the Red Raiders following the hire of former Airraid star Kliff Kingsbury as the new head coach, replacing the departed Tommy Tuberville.
The search ended with the flip of Temple (Texas) dual-threat quarterback Zach Allen, a consensus three-star prospect who was committed to Syracuse for months, but opened up his recruitment following the departure of head coach Doug Marrone and his offensive coordinator to the NFL when they accepted jobs with the Buffalo Bills.
Allen is listed as a dual-threat quarterback by the services, though he fits somewhere in between dual threat and pro style -- while he has the athleticism to make plays with his feet, he's more of a pocket passer than a player who can make his living on called runs. At 6-2, he's slightly less than ideal height for his position, but his arm strength, ability to spin the football, accuracy, and overall leadership abilities should translate well to the college game and help solidify the quarterback position moving forward in Fort Worth.
An early enrollee, Allen is readying for the spring semester at TCU and will have a chance to gain valuable experience leading into what is likely to be a redshirt season.
If Allen eventually earns the starting job for the Horned Frogs, he'll have a potential target in Echols-Luper, the 6-0, 190-pounder with reported 4.4 speed. A track standout who has won the Alabama state long jump title, Echols-Luper is also the stepson of former Auburn assistant coach Curtis Luper and a former Texas A&M commit.
Though listed as an athlete, he'll most likely play wide receiver for TCU, with the potential to contribute early due to the recent loss of Josh Boyce. However, Echols-Luper will have to adjust quickly to the position after playing quarterback his senior season -- his pure speed may be good enough to get on the field, but he'll have to show precision in his route running as well.
Even if Echols-Luper is a complete flop on the offensive side of the ball -- hardly the expectation -- Patterson and his staff are known for taking athletes and turning them into excellent defensive football players. The worst-case scenario is that Echols-Luper has to go the same route at some point.
Though TCU doesn't pursue as many junior college prospects as conference foe Kansas St., head coach Gary Patterson has had some success going that route before, including pulling a big-time steal in cornerback Jason Verrett out of the state of California.
The latest is two-star offensive tackle Lloyd Tunstill, from College of the Canyons. Like Verrett, Tunstill doesn't have an impressive offer list (FIU, UTSA, Sacramento St., New Mexico, and Northern Colorado), but the TCU staff has done a solid job of developing talent along the offensive line, just as they have developed talent well across the board. Listed at 6-4 and around 300 pounds by the services, there's talk that Tunstill is up to around 330, making him a pure interior line prospect at this stage.
LSU jumpstarts 2014 class with Junior Day pledges
Not only did the Tigers host one of the earliest Junior Days around over the weekend, they also have a cutesy name for it -- "Boys From the Boot." It's an important early event that LSU has been holding every year to focus on targets from Louisiana.
Basically, it's about getting the top prospects in the Bayou State to Baton Rouge early in the game and the visitor list included stars like wide receiver Speedy Noil (New Orleans Edna Karr), running back Leonard Fournette (New Orleans St. Augustine), and offensive tackle Cameron Robinson (West Monroe).
Though none of those three highly-ranked prospects committed over the weekend, two significant targets in attendance weren't turned off by the slightly silly name, as LSU added to their 2014 class.
After landing Army All-American tight end Desean Smith from the state in the 2013 class, Les Miles and company secured another top in-state player at the position in Westlake (La.)'s Jacory Washington, a consensus four-star prospect with offers from schools like Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Texas A&M, UCLA, and Washington, among many others.
A 6-5, 220-pounder with some work to do before growing into a full-time in-line prospect, Washington has plenty of experience as a receiver because he spends more time playing wide receiver than he does with his hand on the ground.
The other commitment over the weekend was from LSU legacy Will Clapp, an offensive guard from New Orleans (La.) powerhouse Brother Martin. Clapp ended his recruitment after visiting Alabama and Texas A&M. A consensus four-star prospect at 6-3 and 270 pounds, Clapp will need to add some strength and mass to deal with SEC defensive tackles, but has plenty of time to do so.
Former Texas commit Durham Smyhe takes in Stanford
It isn't easy to find tight ends anywhere in the country coming out of high school, but Stanford somehow manages to do it year after year. Then they feature them in their tight-end friendly offense to the extent that at least one tight end has been among the top three pass-catchers on the team for each of the last three seasons, which is no small feat.
Former Texas commit Durham Smythe, a Belton, Texas product, may end up becoming the latest in that long line, though he opted not to commit on his visit over the weekend, which was his second to Palo Alto in the last year.
Oregon and Michigan are the two schools set to receive official visits before Smythe ends his recruitment again, though the fact that Stanford has received multiple visits and were the finalist along with Texas when the 6-5, 230-pounder committed the first time would seem to give the Cardinal the edge.
Former Texas A&M commit Quincy Adeboyejo setting up visits
Besides Echols-Luper, the other casualty at wide receiver for the Aggies as they seemingly added another wide receiver seemingly every week was Cedar Hill (Texas)'s Quincy Adeboyejo.
A longtime pledge taken after a junior season that saw him catch only three passes, the 6-3, 180-pounder was highly productive as a senior and received offers from Ole Miss and Nebraska in recent days. The Huskers and Texas Tech Red Raiders will receive visits over the next two weekends. The Rebels are also in the mix to receive a visit.
Adeboyejo told 247Sports in recent days that the Red Raiders are his leader ($) heading into the final weeks of his recruitment.