2013 Class: Ranking the Needs

NORMAN, Okla. — The coaching staff is hard on the recruiting trail for the 2013 class, but just where are they focusing hardest on? Sooners Illustrated examines OU's top three needs right now.

3. Linebacker--Kellen Jones' departure won't affect the Sooner linebacking corps as much immediately as it may seem. But what it does is put a heavier emphasis on bringing in a nice group of linebackers for the next class. With Jones out, along with Joseph Ibiloye, Jaydan Bird and Daniel Franklin exiting after the upcoming season, OU will have just seven scholarship linebackers and likely only a couple with valuable playing experience. That's four less backers than it would have had in the group once Eric Striker arrives, had Jones not transferred, and three less as it is. Corey Nelson and Tom Wort will return as seniors in 2013, the two with the most experience. But getting some depth there is important. Clearly, there's been a focus, as OU has already offered 13 linebackers and 10 that are still uncommitted: Michael Hutchings, E.J. Levenberry, Dorian O'Daniel, Alex Anzalone, Jaylon Smith, Shane Jones, Courtney Love, Alquadin Muhammad, Chans Cox and Peter Kalambayi.

2. Defensive end--Easily this could end up being the most important spot to fill depending on David King and R.J. Washington's seasons, but the numbers overall here still look really good even with the loss of those two. When they open up next season, the Sooners know they have at least seven returning defensive ends on the roster, including the three that signed in this latest class, plus Matt Dimon has already given his verbal for next year. With a host of guys still out there, this DE class could end up taking OU close to 10 total roster defensive ends for 2013, one above its count this year. OU looks to be strongest with D.J. Ward and Joe Mathis (top three of OU, USC and Nebraska) right now, but also has offers reaching out to Elijah Daniel, Jason Hatcher, Torrodney Prevot, Jonathan Allen, Kylie Fitts, Isaac Rochell and Tashawn Bower.

1. Defensive tackle--OU loses three seniors at this position and almost two guaranteed starters, if two of the three of Casey Walker, Jamarkus McFarland and Stacy McGee keep the pace they were at last year and round out the starting rotation. Regardless of who starts, the Sooners lose a huge chunk of that rotation after the 2012 season because their numbers go from eight to five. That's nearly half of the rotation. The staff likes having eight bodies here, so that means they'll need to get to work. Justin Manning still figures to be an OU lean, although he's yet to commit even after finally receiving his offer at OU's second Junior Day. Greg Webb, Montravious Adams and Eddie Vanderdoes have all also snagged Sooner offers. Any of those would be welcomed in this class to join a group of already talented youngsters on the roster, including Damon Williams, Jordan Phillips, Jordan Wade, Marquis Anderson and Torrea Peterson.

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