Oklahoma should welcome one of the Big 12's best recruiting classes on Signing Day. The Sooners have secured the commitments of 23 incoming players days before, including the nation's top all-purpose running back prospect and five four-star skill position commits, all part of a class that currently ranks No. 18 on the 247Sports Composite.
And the Sooners could still add a few studs, including four-star safety Steven Parker and four-star athlete Michiah Quick, who announce this week. A good couple of days could push the Sooners past No. 12 Texas for the conference's best class.
Two of Oklahoma's recruits, tight end Isaac Ijalana and outside linebacker Devante Bond, enrolled early and arrived on campus in mid-January. Bond, a three-star outside linebacker out of Sierra College in California, chose Oklahoma over Nebraska, though he originally committed to Miami in December 2012. He should provide immediate help to the linebacking corps, given his size and strength at 6'3 and 230 pounds. Bond was rated as the No. 7 outside linebacker and the 127th junior college player nationally.
Ijalana is an impressive tight end recruit out of Pierce College in California. Ijalana has a three-star rating and is rated the No. 6 tight end recruit nationally. He also held offers from Florida Atlantic, Purdue and West Virginia.
The top of Oklahoma's class is exclusively on the offensive side of the ball, led by running back Joe Mixon. The Oakley, Calif. product is the consensus No. 1 all-purpose back and No. 18 overall recruit nationally. Mixon had offers from nearly every top program, and chose the Sooners over UCLA, Florida State, Wisconsin, Cal, and Washington. While he has all the skills needed of a top back, Mixon's size -- he enters at 6'2 and just 195 pounds -- could force him to gain weight before making an impact.
He runs with good velocity in between the tackles and finishes runs aggressively, but will need to fill out his 6'2, 195-pound frame due to his slender build in order for that attribute to fully translate to the college level. While the power element of his game is still evolving, the main ingredient of his skill set (and what has attracted such an impressive amount of suitors) is his ability to consistently win footraces in the open field.
The Sooners also welcome a trio of four-star wide receivers. Scottsdale, Ariz. product Mark Andrews will present a huge target to Oklahoma quarterbacks for the next four years. The 6'6, 230-lb. Andrews was a top target of Texas A&Mm, and held offers from the likes of Alabama, Notre Dame, Florida State, Ohio State, Michigan, and a dozen others. He is joined by Dallis Todd, another tall, physical receiver out of La Mirada, Calif. Todd stands 6'5, weighs 210 pounds, and picked Oklahoma over Nebraska and Ohio State. Jeffrey Mead, a 6'5 wideout out of Tulsa's Union High School, is the third big wideout in OU's Class of 2014. Mead held offers from eleven programs, including Clemson, Nebraska, Oklahoma State, and Texas A&M.
As Crimson and Cream Machine notes, Oklahoma's emphasis on big, physical wideouts is not a coincidence:
Over the summer, the coaching staff decided to add a wrinkle to the offense by throwing in the zone read and option in order to utilize their dual threat quarterbacks more efficiently. However, read plays require a few cogs to make them work at an optimal level. One of those pieces is a set of wide receivers who present a challenge vertically while possessing the ability to get off the line of scrimmage without being jammed. This occupies the safeties and keeps defenses from stacking the box allowing a guy like Trevor Knight to get outside of the tackles.
Four-star dual-threat quarterback Justice Hansen, a consensus top-five player in the state of Oklahoma, committed to the Sooners almost a year ago out of Edmond, Okla.'s Santa Fe High. Samaje Perine, a four-star running back from Pflugerville, Tex., is Oklahoma's sole four-star commitment out of the state of Texas. Three-star tight ends Carson Meier and Dimitri Flowers could quickly find a place in the Oklahoma offense that has stockpiled potential tight ends over the last three seasons. Three-star guard Joseph Paul and two-star interior lineman Jonathan Alvarez could be projects, as could be tackle Alex Dalton.
On the defensive side of the ball, Oklahoma welcomes outside linebackers Curtis Bolton and Tay Evans, defensive ends Brandon Glenn and Dwayne Orso, and defensive backs Marcus Green, Tito Windham, an Vontre McQuinnie. All seven players are consensus three-star recruits. The Sooners failed to sign a four-star defensive prospect in 2014, but will make up for it with quantity.