OU week in review

Sooners made the cut for a couple of big-time targets this week.

Final week of the spring evaluation period, and it didn't end with a bang for Oklahoma. As has been the case for the last three months, the Sooners were pretty quiet on the recruiting trail.

Here's what you need to know from the last week of the spring evaluation session.

Sooners climbing with Gibson

When Plantation (Fla.) American Heritage five-star quarterback Torrance Gibson released a top 13 list earlier this month, OU came smack dab in the middle at No. 7.

Gibson was ready to narrow it down some more Thursday evening, and OU has jumped three spots to No. 4, leaping longtime favorite Ohio State in the process.

That's the good news. Bad news is OU still has work to do in trying to leapfrog Tennessee, Auburn and LSU, three SEC schools.

Tennessee has felt like a favorite for a long time and Auburn has definitely been in the conversation, too, so nothing was too shocking about the list.

Gibson visited OU at maybe the worst time possible. It was during spring break with no players on campus. He was with quarterbacks coach Josh Heupel the whole time as not even head coach Bob Stoops was there on the visit.

And OU has a huge chance to make that lasting impression with Gibson when the Vols come to Norman on Sept. 13. The Big 12 announced Thursday afternoon that matchup is going to be a primetime showdown at 7 p.m. CST, ample time for Gibson to make an official visit if he chooses to do so.

Rounding out Gibson's list are Ohio State, Miami (Fla.) and Central Florida. Gibson has indicated repeatedly he will probably play out of state.

Gibson isn't the only OU recruit considering the Sooners and Volunteers. Concord (Calif.) De La Salle five-star defensive lineman Kahlil McKenzie also has OU and Tennessee in his top five.

And like Gibson, the Vols are currently ahead of the Sooners. No idea if McKenzie will take an official visit to OU that weekend or if he'll coordinate with Gibson on trying to take that visit together. What is clear, though, is if OU wants to show McKenzie and Gibson why they should wear the crimson and cream, no better opportunity than Sept. 13.

Gibson is the lone OU quarterback offer not committed anywhere. Jarrett Stidham picked Texas Tech two months ago and Allen (Texas) High's Kyler Murray chose Texas A&M on Wednesday.

It's obvious right now OU is going all-in with Gibson, which could help as schools like Ohio State start getting quarterback commits of their own in recent weeks.

Too early to say it's Gibson or bust for OU and the 2015 quarterback spot, but Heupel is definitely sending a strong message to Gibson about how much the Sooners covet his pledge.

OU in play for Mbanasor

A lot of the week was list related, and that was certainly the case with Pflugerville (Texas) Hendrickson cornerback P.J. Mbanasor.

Mbanasor, a four-star prospect, released his top seven Thursday morning. To the shock of nobody at all, OU easily made the list.

The intriguing thing was the lack of regional powers in the list. No Texas. No Oklahoma State. No TCU even though Mbanasor was a one-time commit to the Horned Frogs.

Instead it's a lot of national schools that will be tough to visit. In no particular order, it's OU, Notre Dame, Nebraska, LSU, Florida, Notre Dame and Michigan State.

Mbanasor made the trek to Norman for junior day but hasn't been back since. It will be interesting to see if he does make a return trip this summer, or if OU will have to wait until the official visit period during the fall.

The Sooners seemed to be the No. 1 school for Mbanasor two months ago. Things have sort of simmered down since then and other schools are making their pitch, too. Still, OU is in a great spot and exactly where it needs to be with Mbanasor right now.

Brown locks down decision date

The other trend this week was some top prospects talking exact dates for when they're ready to pull the trigger.

One of those is offensive tackle George Brown. He tweeted Thursday his decision will come Oct. 28, his birthday.

Brown has been an interesting case for OU fans to talk about. He sent shockwaves through the social media landscape and with OU fans following a tweet after the Sugar Bowl.

He essentially said a bunch of Class of 2015 recruits were ready to be a big package deal and go to the same school. And based on his friendship with OU signee Joe Mixon, there were some thoughts he was talking about the Sooners.

It's now nearly five months later since that tweet and Brown has still not visited Norman. He has talked about visiting OU multiple times and OU visited him during this period, but a proposed spring visit fell apart and no way of knowing if the mutual interest is as serious now as it was a few months ago.

Moore coming back to Norman

One of the more noteworthy offers by OU during this period was to Olathe (Kan.) North tight end Josh Moore a couple of weeks ago.

There are so many things working in OU's favor that it was apparent the Sooners were going to be a factor as long as the offer was made.

The issue was the offer didn't come nearly as fast as everybody thought it would. However, Moore has no sour grapes about the subject and is ready to return to Norman this weekend.

"I'm coming," Moore said. "I'm really excited."

OU has been in constant contact with Moore for a long time, dating way back before his recruitment started to heat up. That has helped the Sooners stay in good standing and the offer only solidified things going forward.

Schools like Florida State and Auburn and Ohio State have entered the chase, but Norman is becoming like a second home to Moore who has already seen the campus.

It looks like OU is targeting one tight end for this class. That allows you to swing and miss with some prospects and that happened earlier this week when tight end Hale Hentges committed to Alabama.

If OU can get Moore this weekend or somewhere down the road, it's mission accomplished for tight ends coach Jay Boulware. Only has to hit the jackpot once, and Moore returning to OU once again is nothing but a positive sign.

Sooners back to Ohio

Last Friday didn't start out with the best news from Ohio for OU as top linebacker prospect Justin Hilliard burst the bubble and didn't include the Sooners in his top five schools.

OU linebackers coach Tim Kish didn't waste any time in finding another Ohio prospect to go after with Columbus (Ohio) Walnut Ridge outside linebacker Anthony McKee.

McKee is a four-star prospect ranked No. 109 overall in the Scout 300. His offer list is impressive but what might help the Sooners is getting in there now.

Although McKee has nice offers, not included in that list is Michigan or Ohio State. With regional powers right now not recognizing McKee, it could help a non-regional school like OU come in and swoop him up.

His initial reaction to the offer has been nothing but positive but things are still a long way from coming together for the Sooners and McKee.

Things got a little more interesting Thursday evening, too, as Wisconsin has thrown its hat in the ring. McKee is already indicating he wants to take a trip to Madison.

Lodge, Moore ready to end drama

One more case of prospects ready to end the drama to close out this edition of the week in review. Cedar Hill (Texas) High star wide receiver DaMarkus Lodge and linebacker Richard Moore said they're going to announce their decision July 1.

At this point, it feels like a safe bet to say OU is not going to be a factor for either one of them. OU offered Lodge more than a year ago and got him to campus a couple of times. But all of that was in the past. Schools like Clemson, Ole Miss and Texas A&M seem like his best bet.

And despite OU's consistent interest in Cedar Hill, Moore never became a name to watch for OU as the Sooners haven't offered him and doesn't look like they will.

OU has made one other offer at Cedar Hill with running back Aca'cedric Ware. Lodge and Moore might be ready to make it official July 1, but there is absolutely nothing at all to suggest Ware is ready to close up his recruitment.


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