Profile: T.J. Pledger
Location: Bradenton (Fla.) IMG Academy
Weight: 200 pounds
Recruiting: Pledger recently cut his list to eight schools but told us at the time he already knew where he wanted to go. That turned out to be the Oklahoma Sooners and the athlete pulled the trigger while on an unofficial visit earlier today. Pledger has already visited the Sooners once before but was accompanied by his parents on this visit and said they fell in love with the school just like he did. The biggest factor in his decision was the coaching staff. Pledger said he really connected with the staff, loves the offense, the RB tradition and felt like the school was the best overall fit for him.
What to Like: Pledger has a ton of ability and combines not just plus physical tools but the natural instincts and feel for the position that you have to have to be great at the next level. He's both quick and fast with the initial burst to explode through a hole and the top end speed to run away from a defense. He has great wiggle and can made a defender miss in the open field but also runs with power and isn't afraid to power his pads and run between the tackles. He has elite level hands out of the backfield and always makes a ton of plays during the 7v7 circuit and is a highly competitive kid who always comes to play. He works very hard off the field, loves the weight room and is a dedicated football player and leader on and off the field and will be a great credit to the University.
Areas to improve: Pledger doesn't really have any weaknesses as a player but can improve in all areas. He's only 5-8 but is a well built 200 pounds and is a very strong, physical runner. He has good top end speed but can get even faster. He clocked a 4.61-40 at the Nike Opening Regional Camp in Orlando last month and although we think he plays faster than that, increasing his overall explosiveness is obviously something he can improve on.
Overall Analysis: This is a big pickup for the Sooners as Pledger was a national recruit with offers from all over the country. He's originally from Southern California area and had offers from both UCLA and USC but felt Oklahoma was where he fit in the best. He's not just a talented player but a great teammate and someone we can envision being a captain down the road. He fits the Sooner offense very well with the ability to be a factor in the passing game as well as the run game. It's a breath of fresh air to see Pledger say he plans to shut his recruitment down and won't take any other visits, that's becoming more rare every year. He's an early graduate and will be able to enroll next Spring and has the talent to make an early impact for the Sooners.