The Sooner Intel is an inside look into Oklahoma football and basketball recruiting and is solely for Sooners Illustrated subscribers. It is a sneak peek into what's happening with OU recruiting and is not to be distributed anywhere else.
Parker starting to narrow it down
A lot of the focus was on the visitors from California last weekend, but another familiar face also returned to OU as well in Jenks (Okla.) High Scout 300 safety Steven Parker.
Parker visited OU for the ULM game and was looking to take it easy. But as happens a lot in recruiting, he hasn't slowed down. He made an unofficial visit to Arkansas two weeks ago and was back at OU last weekend.
Despite the fact Parker has seen the campus more than any commit at this point outside of quarterback Justice Hansen, even Parker admitted it was a different atmosphere last weekend.
"It was definitely different having all those kids from California here," Parker said. "It was pretty cool. I saw a lot of them during the summer at camps."
One player Parker was talking to a lot was Fresno (Calif.) Central five-star recruit Michiah Quick as the two were able to get to know each other during the summer. Parker said it was good to catch up with Quick as well as Cedar Hill (Texas) High OU commit cornerback Marcus Green.
Parker was introduced to Green by OU defensive coordinator Mike Stoops at OU's one-day camp in June. Green participated in the event, while Parker was there to talk with the coaches.
"I got to talk to Marcus again, and I feel really comfortable with him," Parker said. "It was a lot of fun as always."
Unlike some recruits who thought about committing and didn't, that thought never crossed Parker's mind on this visit. As tough as it is for some OU fans to hear, Parker is simply in no rush.
"It was a good experience," Parker said. "They showed me the ropes, the whole campus. I felt like I did when I've seen all the other campuses."
The only positive for OU was Parker didn't hang out with any of the football players. He attended for the Razorbacks' entertaining loss to the Aggies and said he didn't want to go in there because he wasn't sure what the environment would be.
As for the OU game, Parker stayed the entire time and hung out afterward with OU freshman receiver Jordan Smallwood, who continues to recover from his foot injury.
One school high on his list is Oklahoma State, but he has not seen the Cowboys yet this season. Don't read much more into that.
"You're right. I haven't seen OSU yet," Parker said. "I've got plans to see Bedlam so that's what I'm looking to do."
With Texas hosting the recruits this week, it seemed like Parker would be a shoo-in for an invite, but Parker is staying home. Not only does Jenks have a mega-showdown against Broken Arrow (Okla.) High on Friday, it's homecoming weekend.
"I'm staying home this weekend," Parker said.
OU trying to add more Fresno flavor
No secret the Sooners are faring well by staying at Fresno Central. OU added defensive backs Hatari Byrd and L.J. Moore last year and are in the hunt for two more this year with Michiah Quick and four-star defensive tackle Tashon Smallwood.
Both Quick and Smallwood made official visits to Norman last weekend and both came away very impressed, said Fresno Central defensive backs coach Tony Perry.
"They loved it, absolutely loved it," Perry said. "What they kept talking about was how the players are so real. They're like a family there. They treat you right."
That's a positive sign to hear because that's the exact message Byrd and Moore have been relaying back to Perry regarding their freshmen seasons. But it's one thing to hear it and another thing to see it for yourself.
One thing that is going to mean a lot to both of them moving forward is their relationship with the head coach. In that aspect, the Sooners fared well with Bob Stoops.
"They really like Bob," Perry said. "Bob treated them very well, and they can tell he cares about all his dudes."
Not a shock to anybody, there was no talk about committing. Perry said Smallwood was hosted by a defensive end, while in the biggest no-brainer there is, Quick was hosted by Byrd, his cousin.
A lot of regional schools are going after both prospects, but Perry said it simply won't matter where the school is located.
"The kids that we bring up, they're young men," Perry said. "I don't care how far away it is for you. If it's good for you, that's where they're going."
Perry said Quick liked what he saw from the offense and likes the thought of OU being stacked at quarterback for years to come. As of now a decision about whether Quick will be offense, defense or both hasn't been communicated.
I've said all along this visit would only be a success if Moore and Byrd are happy at OU. Perry gives the breakdown.
"They can't complain," Perry said. "As true freshmen at a school like OU, it's great to play in some games. They know they have to wait their turn, but they're doing a great job up there."
Carter with even more to think about
The first unofficial visit to OU cannot be defined as anything other than a complete success for Dallas Pinkston defensive end Trey Carter.
Carter, offered by the Sooners last month, was able to see the campus. He was hoping his father could come, but his father had to return to Louisiana for a funeral.
With his father not there, the odds of a commitment shrank to zero, but he still had a great time and learned what it's all about to play college football.
"I enjoyed myself," Carter said. "I felt like a kicker. I went down there and saw those guys. Those guys are like giants. So this is how it feels to be face-to-face with players? I liked it."
The importance of the visit was for Carter to connect even more with OU defensive line coach Jerry Montgomery. Montgomery started to show interest in Carter when he was in Louisiana and the interest has only intensified since the move to Dallas.
Carter got a lot of quality time with Montgomery despite the fact Carter showed up almost as the game was kicking off. Because he arrived late, he stayed late and said he didn't get home until 2 a.m. Sunday morning.
"It was all worth it," Carter said. "I spent a lot of time with Montgomery. He told me he's very interested in me. They welcomed me with open arms. He said he would want me to be around 275 pounds when I enter as a freshman so I could play both end and tackle."
Since his father wasn't there, Carter was accompanied by Dallas Pinkston coaches who also came away very impressed by the visit.
Carter said it was great to see all the championships and banners and seeing the crowd.
"I was on the second row, so close to the field," Carter said. "I've never experienced anything like that in my life. I felt like I could picture myself in there. I was daydreaming about me playing with the team."
That won't happen just yet as he said he still wants to stick with his plan of making a commitment following his senior season. But he did say the visit was so good that he wants to bring his father up for an official visit as soon as it can be arranged.
Carter said he might visit Arizona State, but he knows where he'll be this Saturday.
"I got the invite to be at OU-Texas so that's where I'm going to be," Carter said. "It's last man standing between OU, Texas and TCU."
Johnson happy with OU offer
OU has told this to a few recruits lately. Basically, show up and earn your offer. That was the case again last week for Dallas South Oak Cliff defensive back Jamile Johnson.
A lot of Dallas Metroplex recruits watched Notre Dame since the Irish were at Cowboys Stadium, but Johnson, a Class of 2015 prospect, opted for OU and came home with the offer.
"I loved the fans the energy," Johnson said. "There is a real excitement around the players right now. They showed me everything."
Johnson said he also got home around 2 a.m. and said the interest between him and the Sooners started in August. The coaches told him he had an open invite to attend any home game he wanted. Last week just worked out best for him.
The Sooners have been on the mind of Johnson for a while because he said he likes the stability of the program.
"Coach Stoops has been there a long time," Johnson said. "It just feels like a family there."
Johnson said he spent a lot of time watching OU cornerbacks Aaron Colvin and Zack Sanchez and said he came away impressed with the defense.
"Their defense right now – I love that defense," Johnson said. "I'm a hard hitter but someone who can also play man-coverage. I can do it all."
OU opinion changes for Booze
Fan allegiances go out the door in recruiting and that's starting to happen now for Edmond (Okla.) North linebacker Caileb Booze.
Booze, who is starting to soar up the charts among in-state 2015 prospects, grew up a huge Oklahoma State fan and hadn't been bashful about letting people know about that.
When talking to him in August, he said he liked OU's academics, but he's always been a Cowboy.
Booze was able to attend his first OU game as a recruit last weekend, and now the Sooners are starting to look pretty good to Booze.
"It was a humongous difference watching the game as a recruit compared to being in the stands," Booze said. "I could see what the players do and the work they put in. It helps put things in perspective."
Booze has been invited by the OU staff all this season, but last week was the first time he could go. He stayed the entire game and made sure to introduce himself to OU defensive coordinator Mike Stoops.
As for the game, Booze said he came away very impressed with what he saw from the Sooners defense.
"The defense played awesome," Booze said. "Especially the defensive line. Actually, the whole defense in general was on it."
He said he still likes the Cowboys, but he's keeping an open mind about OU from this point forward.
"I've always been about OSU, but I could see myself going there," Booze said. "I have no hard feelings. This visit opened mind into all the work I need to put in. I'm starting to really get a feel of everything."
Edmond Santa Fe duo familiar with OU
In the preseason, Edmond (Okla.) Santa Fe offensive guard J.R. Hensley said he was still hoping to hear from OU. He's not hoping anymore as he and teammate Michael Farmer made their third unofficial visit to campus last weekend.
Hensley, projected to be one of the top linemen for the state in the 2015 class, said he is loving everything about OU right now.
"It's just so awesome to be able to see everything and to experience it all," Hensley said. "It's so much different being there on the sidelines than being in the stands."
Hensley said he still isn't communicating a lot with OU coaches, but he is starting to get accustomed more with offensive line coach Bill Bedenbaugh.
Farmer is a different story. The three-star recruit has been switched from running back to a hybrid defensive end/linebacker for Edmond Santa Fe and is making it count.
Sooners Illustrated saw Farmer again last week where he had two sacks and a fumble recovery. His speed on the edge was way too much for any offensive tackle to handle.
"It has been a long time coming," Farmer said. "It feels great to be able to show what I can do again and help the team."
Farmer has been having trouble understanding the offense so he has been buried on the depth chart at running back. He doesn't blame the coaching staff. He said the staff has provided him with a lot of guidance and encouragement.
But OU is giving him something to think about.
"I keep talking with coach (Cale) Gundy, and he's talking about how they're looking for a bigger back for this class," Farmer said. "It's up to me to show him I can be that guy."
With Texas hosting recruits this weekend, Farmer knew he wouldn't be heading to OU-Texas this year. Instead he'll be making an official visit to Washington State.
"We'll see how it goes," Farmer said.