Target Spots: Part I

NORMAN, Okla. — The Sooners picked up a very nice recruiting class in 2012, but it was extremely offensive heavy. So, couple that with the players who are set to graduate after the upcoming season and what does that mean for where OU will focus next year? Who are some targets to keep and eye on? Sooners Illustrated breaks it down inside.


Four to five quarterbacks on the roster is desirable, and OU will have four once Landry Jones departs, assuming there is no attrition at the position. Drew Allen, Blake Bell, Kendall Thompson and Trevor Knight fill up the 2013 quarterback roster, so look for OU to go out and get one. With Tyrone Swoopes off the board, it is going to make a serious push at Max Browne out of Skyline HS in Sammamish, Wash. Browne is the No. 1 option, but look out for Kelly Hilinski, and there's a chance OU could still get in on Oklahoma native Brayden Scott.

Running back:

The Sooners got a nice haul on the running back trails in 2012, bringing in junior college back Damien Williams, as well as incoming freshmen Alex Ross and David Smith. So, Dominique Whaley's exit after the following season won't be nearly as detrimental considering the dire straights of the running back situation a few months ago. Still, one or two names should fill up the roster. They have already offered a trio of four-stars, including Greg Bryant, Keith Ford and Dontre Wilson and yet-to-be ranked Justin Davis, Laquvionte Gonzalez and Derrick Green have been extended an offer. More names could easily come into the picture, but these are the main targets right now.

Wide receiver:

It's safe to say OU won't have to pull in too many receivers in next year's class. Signing five will do that. Courtney Gardner, Trey Metoyer, Durron Neal, Sterling Shepard and Derrick Woods, along with athlete Daniel Brooks, gives OU a potential of 10 scholarship receivers still a year from now. With a monster season, Gardner or Kenny Stills could go pro or some other attrition could happen, but right now this is what the numbers project to be. Perhaps OU will pull in one or two prospects here tops. Right now, the only Sooner offers have gone out to Jacorey Warrick from Cypress Falls HS in Texas and Floridians, Rodney Adams from Lakewood HS (committed to Florida), and Travis Johnson from Jesuit HS. Wylie East HS duo Marcell Ateman and Quan Jones could get Sooner offers, and West Mesquite HS junior Eldridge Massington is on the radar as well.

Tight end:

Another spot the Sooners drastically needed help in after 2011 was the tight end position. A pair of players' graduation, along with Austin Haywood's transfer and Max Stevenson quitting football, forced the coaching staff to do a complete overhaul and bring in three new bodies. JUCO transfer Brannon Green, plus freshmen Taylor McNamara and Sam Grant, fit the needs. With the 2012 class complete, now it's time for OU to go out and get another for the future. Hunter Henry and Desean Smith have been offered, but should they miss out on both, they'll have to go elsewhere. Keep an eye on Durham Smythe from Belton HS.

Offensive tackle:

Out of six scholarship tackles, OU loses just one, Lane Johnson, after next season. That is very encouraging news for the Sooners, who won't have to work too hard to pull in another one. J.J. Gustafson, from Jesuit College Prep School, who many think could end up a Sooner commitment, is one of three current offerees. Lake Highlands' Kent Perkins and Harker Heights' Darius James are the others.

Offensive guard:

OU has yet to offer any guards, and there's a reason for that. The Sooners snagged the nation's No. 9 guard in this year's class, Texas HS prospect John McGee, along with three-star Kyle Marrs from Brandeis HS. They also return Gabe Ikard, Adam Shead, Bronson Irwin and Nila Kneubuhl (Kasitati). It's likely OU will look at signing one, and Rami Hammad, Caleb Benenoch and Breyun Owens are three names from Texas to watch.


Outside of Jones, one of the biggest offensive losses next year is center Ben Habern. A guy who can operate the entire offensive line is so valuable and OU will lose that when he graduates. Left behind include Austin Woods and Ty Darlington. That means another center could be on the docket. Or OU could mold in one of their guards and shift Ikard over to center like it did during Habern's absence due to injury last season. That seems likely, and OU could just get another offensive lineman.

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