State of the Sooners recruiting: early May

NORMAN, Okla. — The Sooners are heavily entrenched in their 2014 recruiting and Sooners Illustrated breaks down where they stand.

The Sooners are heavily entrenched in their 2014 recruiting and Sooners Illustrated breaks down where they stand.

The positives: OU has locked up the quarterback it so desired in local Edmond Santa Fe HS product Justice Hansen. It has secured a verbal from the nation's 21st ranked receiver in Dallis Todd and also has commitments from talented running back and linebacker prospects Samaje Perine and Vontre McQuinnie, respectively. That's a solid base of a pair of three-stars and four-stars to get the ball rolling for what ranks as the No. 22 class to this point.

The negatives: The Sooners haven't made any visible progress in the trenches, failing to lock up guys like Orlando Brown on the offensive line and Tashon Smallwood, Trey Lealaimatafao and Courtney Garnett up front defensively. That's an area of serious concern for the future, a big reason why new coaches Bill Bedenbaugh and Jerry Montgomery have been brought in. They also have a relatively slow start in terms of quantity right now, tying Wisconsin (No. 14) and Virginia (No. 24) for the least number of commitments amongst Top 25 schools. That, however, does speak volumes about the quality of the four members of this current class.

Spot warranting the most focus: This is tough. There are many positions OU needs to bolster right now, but the nod probably goes to linebacker despite already earning McQuinnie's commitment. Another viable replacement for the valuable Corey Nelson is essential. Outside of that, it needs to be stressed again: Bedenbaugh and Montgomery have the pressure of restoring elite recruiting on the lines. And while there might not be any visible progress so far, there has been significant progress made on the recruiting trails because the two have developed strong relationships with their respective prized targets. Expect results in the near future from both of these guys. The loss of seniors Brennan Clay, Damien Williams and Roy Finch following the 2013 season make picking up a second running back next to Perine vital. Then, there's always the need for a dominant defensive lineman despite graduation of just one player following next year.

Secure position: Quarterback. It's easy to say with only one quarterback per class tops needed, but the Sooners are done here. The good news, as previously stated, is OU snagged the signal caller it hoped for. Now, it has a solid future with current quarterbacks Blake Bell, Kendal Thompson and Trevor Knight and the incoming Cody Thomas, as well as Hansen. The latest QB commit is now recruiting guys to come to OU, and that's even better.

Hot on the radar: Remember that part we just talked about with OU not seemingly making any visible progress but actually making some "invisible" progress? Well, here's where that comes into play. Offensively, there are a number of guys OU stands strong with. At running back, it's Joe Mixon from Freedom HS in Oakley, Calif. Mark Andrews is a receiver prospect OU has a good shot at, and Bedenbaugh has developed chemistry with Tyus Barrett, Chad Mavety and Alex Dalton, among others. Don't sleep on Christian Sam at linebacker as well as Steven Parker in the defensive backfield, both possible commits at some point. The fact of the matter is OU could have a flurry of commitments at any moment, and that's a very good issue to be dealing with.

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