Sooner Intel: OU news and nuggets

Get the lowdown on what is shaping up to be another major recruiting weekend for the Sooners. Who's coming? What they're thinking? And a whole lot more.

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.

Crazy Thursday night

Going into this weekend, there was one official visitor that looked like OU had the best shot with in Utah defensive tackle Allan Havili.

Havili, from Tooele (Utah) Stansbury, has been committed to the Utes since February, but he has also made it clear that he was very intrigued by the Sooners.

Intrigued so much that it was down to OU and Utah going into the weekend. It's not a competition anymore. He's a 100 percent solid with the Utes after he revealed OU will not fly him out this weekend.

So why did this happen? It's a great question. Defensive tackle has been such a fascinating tale to tell this season and this just added another chapter to it.

It could be OU defensive line coach Jerry Montgomery likes some of his other options. Not out of the realm of possibility at all.

Notable defensive tackles who have seen the campus in the last month include Lompoc (Calif.) four-star tackle Ainuu Taua and Rowlett (Texas) three-star tackle Cedric Johnson and Fresno (Calif.) Central four-star tackle Tashon Smallwood.

Taua and Smallwood are a long way from deciding, but Johnson is down to OU and Baylor and should make a decision within the next couple of months.

And then another top defensive tackle is also visiting this weekend in Longview (Texas) four-star prospect Zaycoven Henderson. It's possible Havili is just lower on the totem pole than some of the other ones.

When the visit was first being discussed in July, Henderson was committed to TCU. Smallwood was committed to USC and OU looked to be desperate at the position. Both Henderson and Smallwood are back in play now.

Whatever it was, it was enough for OU to permanently close the door on Havili, who sincerely appeared like he could flip to the Sooners if the visit was great so the OU coaches must have a legitimate reason to move on or else it really doesn't make any sense.

A few minutes after Havili said he was done with OU, Midwest City (Okla.) Scout 300 safety Will Sunderland said he's coming back to Norman.

Sunderland, among the state's top prospects for the Class of 2015, was supposed to visit OU earlier this month but said something came up so he couldn't go.

Already offered by the Sooners, Sunderland will be making his second trip for a home game and said he doesn't care how cold it is, he's going.

"I can't wait," Sunderland said. "It's going to be fun."

Oklahoma State has offered him since his last trip to OU, and Midwest City defensive coordinator Jason Sexton said Texas A&M, Alabama and Florida State are among the top schools showing interest right now.

All those schools want is the chance to see Sunderland in person. Not sure when that will happen, but it does give OU and OSU a distinct advantage in that department.

Havili out, Sunderland in simply proves that recruiting never stops on what turned out to be an eventful Thursday night.

Dorton checking things out

Things are crazy at USC right now. That's both a good and a bad thing. Since the firing of Lane Kiffin, there is a lot of uncertainty about the future but also a lot of excitement about where the program is going.

So for now Bellflower (Calif.) St. John Bosco four-star defensive end Malik Dorton remains committed to the Trojans, but it isn't deterring him from seeing the Sooners this weekend.

"I just figured why not?" Dorton said. "They started to show interest earlier in the year. I've always seen them on TV and know how good they've been."

Dorton is another product of the recruiting being done by Montgomery. Things heated up in the summer, and Dorton said he talks to Montgomery at least once or twice a week at this point.

It's going to be tough for OU beat out USC, especially when Dorton grew up a USC fan, but he's not ruling out the Sooners.

"I want to check out the atmosphere and see something new," Dorton said. "I'll go see what's there and go from there. I'm looking forward to meeting Coach Montgomery."

Dorton said he is also talking to Arizona State and Nebraska about potential official visits. Everything will round into form once he knows what is going to happen with interim coach Ed Orgeron.

Because like a lot of recruits have been saying in the last month, it has been Orgeron who has been helping the most on the trail even when Kiffin was there.

"Not to knock Coach Kiffin, but one of the main reasons I committed was Coach O," Dorton said. "It will definitely matter what happens and what coaches stay after all the changes."

McQuinnie finally getting a taste of OU

Allow OU commit Vontre McQuinnie to relax and take a deep breath. It has been a crazy couple of months for the three-star commit.

McQuinnie began the season as one of the leaders at Lancaster (Texas) but last week said he was forced to move to DeSoto (Texas). His status in the future is up in the air about whether or not his senior season is over.

"I had to move in with my aunt," McQuinnie said. "It hurt. It was tough, still tough to leave all those guys I've been playing with for so long, basically my whole life. It's a touchy situation. I didn't do anything wrong. I had to move. I'm not a grown man who could live on his own."

McQuinnie declined to comment more on his family situation. He has been practicing with DeSoto and said if he does play, it will be at safety. He was a linebacker at Lancaster.

On the OU side of things, nothing has changed. The first commit of the class in February, he's still as solid as ever even though he hasn't seen an OU home game this season.

OU's first three home games happened on Saturdays when Lancaster had a game, and McQuinnie had no transportation to get to OU for the TCU game earlier this month.

He made it easy this weekend by having it as his official visit.

"It's going to be great to get out there finally," McQuinnie said. "I know I have a bright future ahead of me, and I talk weekly with Coach Mike Stoops. My schedule hasn't been matching up with OU this year so it has been disappointing."

There was a lot of chatter about McQuinnie maybe looking around, but that's all it is at this point. He said he hasn't talked to coaches from other schools in a while but remains in constant contact with Stoops despite the fact McQuinnie is on his third cell phone of the semester.

McQuinnie cannot wait to get to OU, but he would also like to end his high school career in style, or at least end it on the field.

"I'm not ready for high school football to be over," McQuinnie said. "I want to make one last run for a state championship. Went to the championship last year with Lancaster, and I'd like to win one this year with DeSoto."

Back to OU for Todd

Nothing is going to keep La Mirada (Calif.) High four-star receiver Dallis Todd from returning to OU this weekend. Committed to the Sooners since April, Todd was supposed to make an official visit earlier this month.

But the week of the visit, he was told by OU wide receivers coach Jay Norvell to stay home and take the SAT again and come out this weekend.

Todd was initially disappointed because of all the Cali kids that were making the visit that weekend, but he's over that now with how good of a game is to be expected between OU and Texas Tech.

The recruitment is never over for Todd, either. Despite the numerous times he has said he is 100 percent with the Sooners, schools keep coming.

The two most persistent are Ole Miss and Nebraska, but Todd relayed in a text message once again there's nothing to read into it. He's still locked with OU.

His senior season hasn't been everything he hoped as La Mirada is 2-5, but Todd has 29 receptions for 458 yards and three touchdowns.

Henderson back in play?

You can never say never in recruiting, but it sure felt like everything was done between OU and Longview (Texas) four-star defensive tackle Zaycoven Henderson.

The Sooners were Henderson's first offer in February, and he developed a quick and strong bond with former OU coach Jackie Shipp. But once Shipp was removed, OU fell out of Henderson's good graces.

It wasn't too long after that he committed to TCU, insisting he was locked in with the Horned Frogs. That changed last month and Henderson is back on the open market.

More shockingly, though, is OU is back in the mix and Henderson is taking an official visit this weekend.

"It was my first offer," Henderson said. "You never forget it. OU was the first school I contacted after decommitting."

It feels like a perfect match. OU desperately needs defensive tackles, and Henderson can make an immediate impact with the Sooners.

Other schools are obviously in the hunt as he is just coming off an official visit to Ole Miss, but once again Montgomery is putting in the work.

"He's a good guy and knows what he's talking about," Henderson said. "He's coaching them more than just on the field. He's teaching them life lessons."

Another big visit weekend

Third weekend in October that is a big recruiting weekend for the Sooners. OU made the most of it against TCU. Wet the bed against Texas and now get another shot.

If you're expecting a slew of commitments to follow this weekend, hold up just one second. Not likely to happen. From the official visitors, only Havili sounded like something could happen. And since he was told to stay home, nothing is ever going to happen there.

If you want to look at an unofficial visitor who could commit, it starts with Richardson (Texas) fullback Kendrick Igbinoba.

Early in the summer it looked like Igbinoba was the clear No. 1 choice for OU at fullback. There hasn't been much interaction between OU and Igbinoba lately until he got an invite for this game to see the Sooners last week.

Unofficial visits don't guarantee offers. It did for Midwest City (Okla.) Class of 2015 safety Will Sunderland and for Mesquite (Texas) Horn offensive guard Jonathan Alvarez earlier this season.

But sometimes it's just to reintroduce everybody to everybody. Edmond (Okla.) Santa Fe three-star prospect Michael Farmer has been to every OU home game this season and could also be a possible fullback offer down the road.

So there's no way to gauge if OU simply wants to see Farmer and Igbinoba together and evaluate from there or if the Sooners are ready to make the call with Igbinoba, who has offers from Oregon State and Houston, among others.

Either way, don't expect a three-commit weekend or anything like that. It should, however, feature the best home game atmosphere of the season.

Scales out?

OU already has two linebackers committed for the class so the panic button isn't going to be hit on this one, but it's not looking good for OU with Cincinnati Colerain linebacker Tegray Scales.

Offered by the Sooners in the summer, Scales has talked about visiting OU for the last few months. No specifics have ever been mentioned. And as time has gone on, it has still been just sort of mentioned in passing instead of something that seems like a top priority.

A recent move by a major local school has changed things up even more. Scales told earlier this week Ohio State is starting to look in his direction. If the Buckeyes become serious about Scales, it's tough seeing the Sooners even getting a token visit.

From talking to Scales, it has felt like he wants to stay closer to home. The Buckeyes would be a natural fit in that case. Not totally eliminating him from consideration, but don't get your hopes up with Scales.

Top targets hitting the road

Last weekend saw a couple of top OU targets taking in other schools, but it doesn't look like either one was blown away.

Fresno (Calif.) Central five-star wide receiver Michiah Quick took his official visit to Notre Dame, while Dallas Pinkston defensive end Trey Carter made an unofficial trip to Oklahoma State.

This was Quick's second trip to South Bend, which allowed him to relax a lot more. He stressed his desire to be seen as a wide receiver more than a cornerback so it will be interesting to see how big of a role that plays going forward.

With the recent indefinite suspension of Trey Metoyer, that could open up a wide receiver scholarship for Quick. No doubt there is no circumstance where OU doesn't accept Quick, but if you trade out Metoyer for Quick then there is no lost scholarship at a spot that needs it more like defensive line or offensive line.

The fun doesn't stop for Carter, who is racking up more offers with each passing day. OSU is the latest major program to jump in the mix. He enjoyed his trip to Stillwater, but still feel like OU holds the edge because of all the legwork Montgomery has put into this one.

Carter won't be at OU this weekend. If he was, I would predict a commitment. But until his father sees OU's campus, a pledge won't happen.

And the last big nugget of the week is Oakley (Calif.) Freedom five-star running back Joe Mixon announced Florida State will be his final official visit.

OU and Wisconsin are co-leaders right now, but the Seminoles are the hot team right now coming off the heels of a 51-14 destruction of Clemson last week and the appeal of playing with quarterback Jameis Winston.

Headington Hall paying off

There were a lot of reasons for the creation of Headington Hall, the newest residence hall on campus that houses almost all of the freshmen athletes.

One of them, no doubt, was for recruiting purposes. It has been on full display this season, and OU coach Bob Stoops couldn't be happier with how it is working on the trail.

"It has been awesome," Stoops said. "They've loved it. It's a huge hit with the current players. All the recruits and their families have been really impressed with it."

The Board of Regents met this week talking about some more stadium renovation. Stoops is all in favor of that, too, although he doesn't think OU needs to compete with anybody.

"I think it's great if that's what they intend to do," Stoops said. "It will help recruiting. It will be fantastic for our fans. Better views. Better suites or whatever they're doing with it. It shows our administration's continued vision to grow and improve. I'm very excited about that."

It's an arms race, or at least feels that way with facilities. Stoops doesn't believe this is in retaliation to some of the upgrades done at places like Alabama or Oregon.

"Whatever plan they have in place I think will be a huge plus," Stoops said. "I believe our administration has had their eyes on this for a while now. Waiting for the timing to be bright. Believe they've had the vision for this before that (other schools' renovations)."

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