Down the Stretch

NORMAN, Okla. — Signing Day is just around the corner, so Sooners Illustrated breaks down the names to keep an eye on as we approach next week's big day.

The Sooners have a better chance with some as opposed to others, but they could potentially lock up all of these in the final few days.

WR Dorial Green-Beckham--Just five days ‘till the recruiting day of the year, the Sooners are still on the short list for the best receiver in the country. Beckham posts a top-four of Arkansas, Missouri, Oklahoma and Texas. This guy, the next rendition of Calvin Johnson, will instantly see the field at whichever school he chooses.

WR Courtney Gardner--He's an Arkansas commit, but many believe if DGB commits to the Razorbacks, the JUCO receiver is headed southwest to the Sooners. Gardner racked up more than 1,100 yards and 14 touchdowns on 61 catches for Sierra in 2011, so he's definitely got big play potential. And he has a nice frame at 6-foot-3, 215 pounds.

RB Damien Williams--The Sooners have been really hot on the running back trail since losing Jermie Calhoun, Jonathon Miller and Brandon Williams to transfers. They've already snagged verbals from four-star Alex Ross and three-star David Smith, but a signature from a JUCO back would provide instant relief to a somewhat deplete group. A 6-foot-1, 207-pound speedster with a 4.5 40-yard dash, he hails from Arizona Western and led junior college backs with 1,931 yards and 26 touchdowns last year.

OT Zach Banner--Will it be OU or will it be USC? Everyone will find out when he makes his decision Monday. The Lakes HS product is an absolute beast of a specimen at 6-foot-9, 295 pounds, and very athletic. He would fit into OU's spread offensive system just fine with his size, length and footwork. Banner seems swayed towards SC, but the Sooners are in his final two.

OT Will Latu--Committed to West Virginia, he reopened his recruitment. Committed two weeks later to Auburn, he de-committed. Now, he's down to OU and Utah and the advantage is likely to the Sooners, who have Latu on a visit this weekend. Latu, who stands in at 6-foot-5, 310 pounds, told Sooners Illustrated earlier in the week pluses at OU for him are quarterback Landry Jones' return and his relationship with tight ends/tackles coach Bruce Kittle.

S/CB Zack Sanchez--One of three Sooner visitors this week, Sanchez is a soft Baylor commit, but it's widely believed that OU could steal him away. He seemed enamored with the OU program earlier in the week, when he talked with Sooners Illustrated, so a positive impression could lock him up. Sanchez stands in at 6-foot, 165 pounds and possesses a 4.45 40-yard dash out of Keller Central HS.

CB Gary Simon--Defensive back Tony Jefferson hosted Simon on his visit and all signs are that it went really well. How well? A commitment would speak volumes to that. He's the 60th-ranked cornerback, coming from Gibbs HS in Saint Petersburg, Fla. Simon is down to OU and Iowa State.

CB Davonte' Neal--The shocker of this class could very well be Neal. He's got so many offers you can hardly count them, but he's still on the board. Ohio State, Arizona, Arkansas, North Carolina and Notre Dame are listed as the ones with the best chance to get him, but his relationship with newly hired Sooner linebackers coach Tim Kish could change that. OU could really use the fifth best corner in the 2012 crop, a four-star athlete.

CB Brandon Beaver--This one's a long shot, but even though his visit to OU was canceled and he's proclaimed he'll play in the Pac-12, Beaver did mention OU as one of six finalists. The others are Washington, Cal (he's visiting this weekend), Arizona, Arizona State and Utah, all Pac-12 schools. Still, the Sooners are in the mix for the 6-foot-1, 195-pound Dominguez HW defensive back.

CB Colin Blake--If Sooner offensive guard commit Kyle Marrs has been in his ears enough, the recent Texas A&M de-commit could be headed to Norman. Blake reopened his recruitment after being committed to the Aggies for four months, and the three schools on top are Florida State, Oklahoma and TCU. Since he was spotted in a TCU jersey on his official visit, some believe they are the leader, but OU could also get the 6-foot-3, 170-pound CB's signature.

DE Mike Onuoha--OU snuck in with a late offer for the 6-foot-7, 230-pounder from just 30 miles north of campus. It appears Onuoha is very serious about that offer, although he really likes what the Missouri Tigers have to offer as well. Onuoha is the third major visitor this weekend for the Sooners and how well it goes will likely make his decision because he enjoyed his trip to Missouri so much last weekend.

Follow me at twitter.com/joeyhelmer10 or facebook.com/joeyhelmer.


Sooners Illustrated Top Stories