Sooner Intel: News and nuggets

Intel returns this week highlighted by OU perhaps finding its answer at tight end.

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.

OU gives Herndon something to think about

Eventually the pieces fit. They always do with recruiting. It might take a little longer at some positions, but guys are always found.

Tight ends coach Jay Boulware might have found his tight end for the future. It became clear when Olathe (Kan.) North tight end Josh Moore committed to Ohio State last month that it was back to the drawing board for OU.

But Boulware didn’t have to look too far. Because even though he hadn’t been offered, North Forney (Texas) prospect Hunter Herndon has been on OU’s radar for a while.

Boulware visited Herndon, a Rice commit, during the spring. It wasn’t just a simple visit, though, as Boulware looked at his transcripts and talked to Herndon’s parents. His message was clear – there’s a good chance we’ll be back.

And as most recruits are finding out with OU, when a coach says that, strong chance it will happen somewhere down the road.

The time was Monday afternoon when Herndon tweeted his OU offer.

“It’s a huge deal,” Herndon said. “It was a total surprise to have it happen now. I talked to them a lot during the spring. Then the summer came, and there was a lot of distance so I didn’t know.”

Herndon was up close and personal with the OU coaches earlier this summer at OU’s satellite camp in the Dallas area. He said it was crucial to get that quality time with Boulware, and he was even more surprised by his interaction with Bob Stoops.

“Coach Stoops was awesome,” Herndon said. “You have a camp like that, and it’s almost like you’re lucky to talk to the head coach. But he came up to me and talked to me. It definitely meant a lot.”

Other schools are looking into Herndon, who plays quarterback at North Forney and will once again this season. He said Texas, Baylor, Kansas State and Oklahoma State are the most notable ones, but nobody has done as much as Boulware has with the Sooners.

It was clear Monday afternoon the offer definitely changed his mindset about his recruitment although he’s still committed to Rice.

“An OU offer – that’s as big as it gets,” Herndon said. “I want to take a visit as soon as I can. I’ll see when things can get arranged.”

Herndon is a three-star tight end prospect, and Boulware has already explained how he feels Herndon fits in at OU. Herndon said Boulware said he’s the prototypical tight end for what he’s looking for.

The Sooners seem to be set on taking one tight end. And when they’re able to get Herndon to campus, their search might be over.

Guarantano to check out OU

There continues to be little-to-no news regarding OU and the quarterback search for the Class of 2015, but a huge bit of news hit the search for 2016.

Oradell (N.J.) Bergen Catholic quarterback Jarrett Guarantano released a top four of OU, Ohio State, Alabama and Clemson.

The strangest part of that equation is the fact Guarantano has not visited Norman once although quarterbacks coach Josh Heupel visited Guarantano in the spring.

It’s not something Guarantano takes lightly, either, because he knows OU doesn’t offer many quarterbacks and rarely ever offers a quarterback that hasn’t seen campus.

“It means a lot to me to get a chance to play at Oklahoma,” Guarantano said. “I really like Coach Heupel and talking to him multiple times a week, just getting to know him.”

Guarantano, in a way, made OU show its hand. He had made it clear he was going to release his top list during the summer before his junior season started. At the time, OU hadn’t offered the four-star prospect.

Clemson has made a huge impression as did the Tide on a recent trip to Alabama. The Sooners get their shot next month as Guarantano said he’s set to see the campus for the first time for Tennessee weekend.

“We play Thursday night so I’m going to be able to fly out Friday and get a feel of everything,” Guarantano said. “I definitely want to see everything and see what the school has to offer.”

And this process shouldn’t drag out long. Guarantano has been consistent in saying he’ll have his decision before next spring. He’s gunning for a January or February decision date.

Guarantano is one of three OU quarterback offers for the Class of 2016.

Sooners in the mix for Daniels

He finally broke his silence, and it’s good news regarding OU and Dallas Bishop Dunne defensive tackle Darrion Daniels.

Daniels, a four-star prospect, released his top 10 Saturday morning with the Sooners easily making the list. It wasn’t in order, but Daniels said it wasn’t a tough decision for him to include OU.

The Sooners jumped in with Daniels right from the start as they were one of his first offers. OU was also able to get Daniels to campus for junior day. Since then, it hasn’t panned out, but Daniels isn’t very active on the recruiting front.

He’s not active in going to schools nor is he very vocal about what’s going on with his situation. No doubt Texas Tech is going to appear to be the favorite. His father played for the Red Raiders, and it looks like Baylor will join the Sooners and Tech.

OU’s best chance continues to be the great job defensive line coach Jerry Montgomery does. Daniels said he has really developed a strong bond with Montgomery and will definitely be back on campus sometime this fall.

McNeal gets his wish with Sooners

Better late than never as it pertains to OU and Mesquite (Texas) Poteet recruit DeAndre McNeal. Loaded with offers from coast to coast, the Sooners only recently entered the mix.

But it did mean something as McNeal visited OU two weeks ago, his first trip to Norman since an unofficial visit for last year’s game vs. Texas Tech.

He said he enjoyed the visit, saying he got a real sense of what OU has to offer going forward. His position remains a huge question mark going forward.

Some say tight end/H-Back, some say linebacker. McNeal said he prefers wide receiver, but it would shock a lot of people if he actually ended up at receiver in college.

For OU, seems like he’s in the mold of Dimitri Flowers as a hybrid of that tight end/fullback spot. He said he’s very comfortable being in that role.

McNeal stressed OU offering so late doesn’t mean anything negative. What OU has working against it is the fact he has been so active on the trail. He hasn’t missed a chance to visit schools like Ohio State, UCLA and Alabama. He has offers from all three schools.

Following his visit, he released three of his official visits with Miami (Fla.), UCLA and Oklahoma State making the initial cut.

McNeal is not looking to waste any time, saying he wants to take all five visits and decide by October or November.

As of now, though, it feels like OU will go 0-for-2 at Mesquite Poteet. Five-star superstud linebacker Malik Jefferson said he is going to announce Dec. 19. There’s a chance the two will pick the same school, but there’s a better chance right now that neither heads to Norman unless something changes in the fall.

Offensive line clears up in a hurry

How much offensive line news can happen in one week? In case you missed it all, let’s recap. It started last week when Oklahoma City Casady four-star offensive guard Josh Wariboko publicly announced OU is back in the picture.

That was followed by Scooba (Miss.) Eastern Mississippi junior college offensive tackle Jamal Danley admitting last Friday morning he was going to commit to OU but was advised to visit other schools first.

Danley will make his first visit to OU for the Tennessee game and also has plans to visit Florida and Mississippi State. As of now, OU remains the strong favorite.

Arlington (Texas) Bowie four-star offensive tackle Madison Akamnonu was next by choosing Texas Tech instead of the Sooners on Saturday afternoon.

That bit of bad news was wiped away Monday when Pineville (La.) three-star lineman Cody Ford confirmed he had flipped his commitment from TCU to OU.

Ford said he really wanted to wait until he was back on campus to tell Bob Stoops in person, but he couldn’t wait any longer and got it over with.

So OU now has three offensive linemen commits with a fourth one on the way? If you read between the lines with Danville (Calif.) San Ramon Valley four-star tackle Dru Samia, the Sooners might secure their second tackle.

Samia earned his OU offer last week but has been in constant communication with offensive line coach Bill Bedenbaugh for some time. After the OU visit, he was supposed to visit UCLA once again. But he did not make it to the Bruins practice.

In the last week, Samia hasn’t tweeted one time. Sometimes that means absolutely nothing, but sometimes that means a recruit is ready to make the call. Samia has been consistent throughout the summer saying he wants to commit before his senior season starts.


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