OU tapping into the Cali pipeline again?

NORMAN, Okla. — The Sooners have drilled in the Golden State for many top notch prospects in recent days, and never have those panned out better than during the 2012 season.

Three straight weeks, members of OU's "Cali Trio" came up with game-winning plays.

First, it was wide receiver Kenny Stills, who snatched a game-winning 5-yard touchdown on a fourth-and-4 play with 24 seconds remaining at West Virginia.

The next week, running back Brennan Clay rumbled 18 yards for the walk-off touchdown in overtime over Bedlam rival Oklahoma State.

To cap it all off, free safety Tony Jefferson was in on the final play of the regular season, helping bat down a pass that clenched OU's eighth Big 12 Championship.

That's why the Sooners continue to drill the so-called Cali pipeline for elite prospects, because it's worked out so well and players have been receptive to it.

Those three came as a bit of a package deal in the 2010 class.

In 2012 they went back to it, signing tight end Taylor McNamara, who underwent season-ending shoulder surgery, and safety Derrick Woods—he redshirted—as well as former California prep star and JUCO running back Damien Williams.

Sure enough they've went back to it again for this year's recruiting class, first locking up four-star and No. 14 overall safety Hatari Byrd as well as Contra Costa JUCO punter Jed Barnett.

They also appear poised to sign Byrd's year-older former Central High East Campus teammate and 2012 five-star cornerback Tee Shepard pending some academic technicalities.

Could the Sooners be back for even more, though?

They're certainly working on it.

Another piece of the fantastic Fresno four DBs—that includes Byrd, Shepard, Johnny Johnson and L.J. Moore—is on his way for an official visit.

After the Sooner coaching staff visited him this week, Moore rescheduled an official to OU when students and players will be on campus on Jan. 11, as reported by FOX Sports NEXT national analyst Greg Biggins.

And it doesn't stop there.

In fact, it doesn't start there.

Current Southern California offensive tackle soft commit Nico Falah is coming to campus this weekend, also reported by Biggins.

OU would love to land either of those players, and both would be incredible.

But just getting them on campus at this point says a lot about the impact of the Cali trio and Cali pipeline to begin with.

Neither really had OU in their discussion a few days ago.

Now, both are headed east for a visit.

A little in-house recruiting could help seal the deal on another Golden State commitment, which would sweeten the 2013 pot.

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


Sooners Illustrated Top Stories