Sooner Intel: OU news and nuggets

An exclusive to SoonersIllustrated subscribers, the Intel is a sneak peak at what is happening with OU recruiting.

The Sooner Intel is an inside look into Oklahoma football and basketball recruiting and is solely for Sooners Illustrated subscribers. It is a sneak peek into what's happening with OU recruiting and is not to be distributed anywhere else.

Willis fighting for OU attention

Oklahoma fans were excited when it was revealed multiple recruits from Tulsa (Okla.) Booker T. Washington were going to camp at OU in June.

The headliner was three-star defensive end Jordan Brailford. A lot of people were wondering if OU was finally going to make the offer to Brailford, who has been in contact with the Sooners all spring.

Brailford didn't get the offer and has since committed to Bedlam rival Oklahoma State.

But the surprise of the camp was linebacker Jonathan Willis. It was eerily similar to OU's camp in 2012 when it was another Tulsa Washington recruit that turned some heads.

OU freshman linebacker Dominique Alexander wasn't on OU's radar heading into the camp. Less than five months later, he was a Sooners commit.

Willis wasn't on OU's radar heading into the camp. Three months later Willis is still waiting for his chances.

"I don't have any favorites," Willis said. "I just want to go somewhere and play football."

Willis, who is 6-foot-2 and 210 pounds, is playing defensive end for the Hornets. His college future is definitely at linebacker. Willis got his senior season started with a bang in last week's 24-21 loss to Oklahoma City Douglass.

Despite giving up more than 50-60 pounds against the bigger offensive tackles, Willis found a way to make his presence known. He had five tackles for loss alone in the second half.

"I'm a lot more disciplined this year," Willis said. "I'm learning how to do everything, cover the pass and play against the run. I'm becoming a more complete player."

OU was in a more desperate spot at linebacker for the 2013 class, which made it easier for the Sooners to look back at Alexander. Heading into the fall, that's not really the case for this group.

Linebackers coach Tim Kish has already nabbed two linebacker commits, and Willis might be on the outside looking in. He said the Sooners are still sending letters, but he hasn't had any communication with the program since the summer.

That's OK as it was the same way for Alexander until OU started to open the lines of communication again last October.

"Right now OU is sending me letter," Willis said. "Kansas is talking to me. And Oregon State. Oregon State actually talked to me this week. So I'm just waiting to see what happens."

If he plays like he did last week, he won't have to wait for long.

Alvarez gives OU his word

During the next few months there's going to be a lot of movement with the offensive line. We saw the first step this week when Mesquite (Texas) Horn offensive guard Jonathan Alvarez committed Tuesday night.

OU returns to Mesquite Horn for the first time since the fallout of what happened with De'Vante Harris for the Class of 2012. And the Sooners will likely stay at Mesquite Horn, too, with 2015 offensive lineman Conner Dyer definitely a name to watch.

As excited as the OU coaches were for Alvarez to call and commit Tuesday, they also had a stern message for him.

"They said I had to promise I wouldn't back out and look at other schools," Alvarez said. "I told them that wouldn't be a problem."

With Alvarez in the fold, that should wrap up the interior line issues. Now offensive line coach Bill Bedenbaugh can focus strictly on tackles.

Montgomery looking for offer

And if OU wants one tackle, it can start with an offer to Oklahoma City Douglass offensive tackle Mildren Montgomery.

Montgomery, a three-star recruit, is committed to Texas Tech so it was a bit of a surprise to see him on the sidelines for OU's game against ULM.

"I gave my verbal commit to Texas Tech," Montgomery said. "I went to the OU game because I was invited. I had a lot of fun and expect the offer soon. We'll go from there."

Montgomery camped at OU in June but didn't leave with the offer. Less than a week later, he pledged to the Red Raiders. That series of events made it feel like Montgomery knew the OU offer wasn't going to come.

But he said that's not the case.

"I proved in my opinion and a lot of others that in their mind that I can play at the University of Oklahoma," Montgomery said. "I know I can. They know I can. And that offer is coming."

Montgomery said it was great to watch the OU offensive line create holes all night vs. ULM. He said he has been watching offensive tackle Daryl Williams for a long as Williams has been one of his favorite players the last few years.

Montgomery wasn't known too much heading into the spring, but Oklahoma City Douglass coach Willis Alexander said Montgomery was a name to watch. That was out of character for Alexander, who normally is incredibly reluctant to single out any players.

Turns out Alexander knew what he was talking about.

"I've learned a lot since last year," Montgomery said. "I've worked so hard on my footwork and worked every day. My dad has helped me a lot. The coaches here have done everything they can. I feel like I have improved so much since last season."

And looks like OU might agree with that statement as well.

OU goes after Longhorns commit

It really wasn't a shock to see OU try to jump in the race for San Antonio Brennan four-star defensive end Derick Roberson this week.

Roberson has been committed to Texas for a while, but he has never shown that Longhorn pride that a lot of in-state Texas commits have displayed.

Truth is when he committed, it seemed like he did it out of convenience more than out of passion. With the reassigning of defensive coordinator Manny Diaz, it's no telling if that will play a role with Roberson in the future.

What is telling is that OU defensive line coach Jerry Montgomery has gone back to work to try to land some defensive ends. The only realistic option among offered ends is Arlington (Texas) Martin's Justin Hollins. But the longer that goes on, the more likely Oregon is feeling like the destination for Hollins.

It remains to be seen if the OU offer means anything substantial to Roberson, but the Sooners have definitely picked the right week to be the aggressor.

Goolsby gets full court press

The only non-commit official visitor last weekend was Derby (Kan.) four-star tight end DeAndre Goolsby. Sometimes you have to wonder how tight ends coach Jay Boulware is trying to recruit the position when OU is without a tight end on the field 95 percent of the time.

With that being said, that's not stopping OU commits from doing everything in their power to try to get him to come along for the ride.

"I talked to the tight end," running back commit Samaje Perine said. "We exchanged numbers to stay in touch. I'll definitely be in his ear. He's very big. A tall guy, very versatile who can get the job done."

OU has the commitment of one tight end in Tulsa (Okla.) Union three-star prospect Carson Meier. Goolsby would be perfect for that second slot, said wide receiver commit Mark Andrews.

"I got to talk to him quite a bit," Andrews said. I'm definitely trying to persuade him to come. He would be a huge addition if we could get him."

It's going to be a while to see if any of OU's efforts have paid off. Goolsby has a top five of OU, Kansas State, Arkansas, Florida and Ohio State. His father was a star for the Wildcats, while based on the limited amount of interviews Goolsby has done in the summer, it appears the Buckeyes are the ones to beat.

"We're going to do whatever we can to get him," quarterback commit Justice Hansen said. "Definitely will be exchanging texts a lot here in the future."

Perine still saying no to Texas

OU worked fast to snatch up Pflugerville (Texas) Hendrickson running back Samaje Perine. Mission accomplished when he pledged in the spring.

But everybody had a pretty good idea his recruitment wouldn't end. Florida State and Texas kept applying the pressure in the spring and Perine politely declined.

Texas won't go away, said Perine. Running backs coach Larry Porter still wants an opportunity to flip him.

"Coach (Larry) Porter keeps trying to get in contact, but nah, that's not going to happen," Perine said. "I'm OU all the way."

Perine said he weighs 235 pounds right now. It's a comfortable weight for him, but the OU coaches do have something in store for him when he arrives.

"Coach (Cale) Gundy said when I get here, they're going to put an additional 10-12 pounds on me," Perine said. "I don't think that will be a problem."

Andrews, Allen OK going separate ways

OU had a lot of competition for Scottsdale (Ariz.) Desert Mountain four-star wide receiver Mark Andrews. None tougher than Texas A&M.

Andrews committed to OU on Aug. 2, less than a month removed from an unofficial visit to the Aggies. A&M was going to be tough to beat since his quarterback, Scout 300 prospect Kyle Allen, is committed to A&M.

The two aren't just teammates. They're the best of friends.

"He's always going to be my buddy," Andrews said. "He's my best friend. We're very happy for each other. I'm not re-thinking anything. I'm hoping maybe we'll get a chance to play against each somewhere down the road."

In-state rush this weekend

Every year one of the first home games becomes an unofficial OKPreps invitational for recruits. Sure appears this weekend against Tulsa is this year's edition.

With Texas A&M hosting Alabama, the Sooners know full well it's highly unlikely for any top uncommitted Texas high school prospect to visit OU. So what OU is doing is taking care of its home turf and inviting several top Class of 2015 in-state prospects.

A couple to be on the watch for are Tulsa (Okla.) Edison's Akylen Mayfield and Clinton (Okla.) High running back Marquiz Simpkins.

Mayfield is forced to play quarterback for Tulsa Edison, but his future definitely looks to be at wide receiver. OU receivers coach Jay Norvell visited Mayfield during the spring. Arizona State is another school showing strong interest.

Simpkins should have no competition in being the state's best running back for the class. Already with a Tulsa offer, he is starting to receive letters from schools such as Oregon and Notre Dame.

But he has given the impression OU is the school he wants to hear from. Simpkins fared well at OU's camp in June and said he is very excited to be returning to Norman this weekend.

It won't be easy to earn an OU offer at running back when you look at some of the ones already offered by the Sooners for the class. It's an exclusive club, but Simpkins might be able to break through.

He got his season off to a fast start against a quality Lawton (Okla.) MacArthur club. Simpkins rushed for two touchdowns before getting dehydrated. He said he vows that will not happen again.

Sooners getting in the mix

Roberson wasn't the only big offer by Montgomery this week. OU is now in play for two of the top 2015 defensive linemen in the country.

OU has entered the chase for defensive tackle T.D. Moton and defensive end Jashon Cornell. From Minnesota, it's tough to see the Sooners becoming too big of a factor for Cornell.

But Moton is another story. A Louisiana product, Moton said he has a strong interest in the Sooners on Wednesday night.

Montgomery obviously has a lot more work to do to fill out the 2014 crop, but offering Cornell and Moton is a nice step in the right direction for 2015.

But when talking 2015 defensive tackles, a lot of OU fans are wondering about Jenks (Okla.) High's Marquise Overton. No new news to report on that front, but I'll be at Jenks-Union tonight and will definitely try to get an update.

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