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.
Decision time for Bond
Could be a matter of weeks, could be a matter of days, either way decision day is looming for junior college linebacker Devante Bond.
Bond originally signed with Miami (Fla.) for the 2013 class but was unable to get all of his academic credits to qualify. Back on the market, the Hurricanes have no interest, and it's down to the Sooners and Nebraska.
He visited OU last month and made his trip to Lincoln last weekend. As expected, the visit has given him a lot to think about.
"I wanted to see what their plan is for me," Bond said. "They were very honest with me. That was the biggest thing I wanted to know, and I liked it."
Bond said the plan is a little different than from what OU is proposing, which makes sense with the schemes not being the same.
One thing that might help the Huskers is Randy Gregory was his host. Gregory was in the exact same spot as Bond last year. A juco prospect venturing far from home. Nebraska has treated him well and certainly gives Bond more pertinent information.
"He knows exactly how this all goes. He's been here before," Bond said. "He knows how tough it is to adjust, but he has done it."
Bond said following the OU visit that if he had to pick right then and there, it would be the Sooners. But he had to see what Nebraska had to offer, and what more could he ask for than the way the game ended last week.
Nebraska won with a Hail Mary as time expired, defeating Northwestern 27-24.
"I might never see anything like that again," Bond said. "The locker room was going crazy after the game. It has definitely made things more difficult."
But the Sooners aren't out of it, and OU isn't backing away. One of the first people to get in touch with Bond following his official visit was OU linebackers coach Tim Kish on Monday evening.
It's not an easy decision for Bond, and there isn't a bad choice. He'll be taken care of regarding his degree at both places. Both schools offer great facilities.
There will be a day, maybe sooner than later, where Bond is going to do a pros and cons list for both schools and try to figure it all out.
"As of right now, these are the only visits I want to make," Bond said. "It might be a month and might be before then. I think it will probably be by the end of this month."
Asked about some of those pros and cons, and it's obvious Bond doesn't know where he's headed just yet. He said he would love to play in the Big 12 because of the competition. But he said the Big 10 offers some of the best linemen in the nation.
"I don't know. There aren't a lot of negatives no matter what I decide," Bond said.
Sifrin with work to do
Another juco prospect a lot of people have questions about is El Camino College tight end Jean Sifrin. The 26-year-old took an official visit to OU in August and has some of the biggest hands you're ever going to find.
A rumor swirled last month from the El Camino campus newspaper Sifrin had committed to the Sooners. El Camino coach John Featherstone attempts to clear things up.
"If he can get everything done academically, he will go to OU," Featherstone said. "I know he visited OU earlier this season and really liked it. From what I understand, it's a mutual agreement on the commitment."
Featherstone didn't say there's no possibility Sifrin won't be able to qualify, but he said he still has a lot of work to be done. They're doing all they can to try to help him out, but it's too early to know if a December signing is even possible.
What Featherstone does know is how talented Sifrin is and how much he can help any program he elects to attend.
"He's a very talented football player," Featherstone said. "He's got some real ability. He's a big guy that can run. He's a nice kid that works hard but just has some trouble with school."
Featherstone said he hopes to know more about Sifrin's status near Christmastime. OU is searching for that second tight end, and Sifrin could be that guy if everything gets ironed out. Top target DeAndre Goolsby, from Derby (Kan.) High, is expected to announce Friday. Don't envision him picking the Sooners.
OU's plan wins over Lattin
Each year it feels like Lon Kruger is gaining more and more with top prospects on the recruiting trail. Last year the addition of Jordan Woodard was a major one for the Sooners and somebody who looks like he will contribute immediately.
But that's an in-state kid, and you're supposed to hold down the fort within the home state. The addition of Houston Westbury four-star power forward Khadeem Lattin, though, is quite another story.
"I always felt it was the best fit," Lattin said. "Coach Kruger is just a really genuine guy. They have a real plan for me going forward."
The plan is what won over Lattin. He said OU is not going to try to force him into being a certain kind of player. Instead the Sooners are going to develop on his weaker parts of his game, while continuing to accentuate all that is good with his game.
And there's a lot to accentuate. A true power forward, he said he loved how OU's offense ran a lot through the point guard and the power forward. A lot of Woodard-to-Lattin connections could be in store down the road.
Lattin took his official visit in September, the weekend of OU's football game against Tulsa. He said he knew right then OU was the place for him, but he wanted to give it time.
"It was hard to fight that feeling," Lattin said. "The atmosphere is amazing. When it came down to it, there was so much that was right about it."
Lattin was hosted by sophomore guards Je'lon Hornbeak and Buddy Hield and said they did a great job as hosts. It was the first time he had met Hield, but he said he felt like he had known him for years.
This wasn't just a recent thing between Lattin and OU. He said almost immediately after Kruger took over at OU, the foundation was set.
And lately Kruger had always been the first coach to say hello in the morning via a text message or something of that nature.
"My mom loved it there and really liked Coach Kruger," said Lattin. "He would call or send a text. It's something you really appreciate. It's the little things that mean a lot."
Lattin said he intends to make it back to OU at least a couple of times to watch the Sooners play at Lloyd Noble Center.
McNeace appreciative of OU opportunity
Before OU added Lattin, the Sooners had already picked up the pledge of another power forward in Allen (Texas) High's Jamuni McNeace.
Nobody was shocked more about OU's interest than McNeace himself. Some recruits have an over-inflated opinion of their talent. Not the case with McNeace.
"I really didn't think I was good enough to play for them," McNeace said. "I wanted a chance, but I had figured I would be at a low-to-mid-major school. I was fine with that."
OU assistant coach Steve Henson drove to Allen earlier this school year and decided McNeace had made that leap from no longer being a maybe candidate for an offer.
McNeace said he has only been playing since his sophomore season so he still has a lot to learn. He's not quite 6-foot-10 yet, but he said he has the wingspan of 7-4.
Allen High has been kind to OU, obviously, in football, which gave McNeace more comfort in his decision. Allen football players Tay Evans (2014) and Bobby Evans (2015) have both committed to OU. The Sooners are also in the running for 2016 offensive tackle Greg Little.
"I actually took my visit the same weekend Tay was taking his," McNeace said. "It's a big reason because I know I won't be alone there."
Evans' father, Bobby Joe Evans, played basketball for the Sooners. Since McNeace's commitment, he has been talking to Bobby Joe and said he likes what he's hearing.
What stood out for McNeace was seeing the way Kruger interacted with his players during a practice on his visit.
"If he's upset with you, he'll tell you in a calm manner," McNeace said. "I don't like somebody in your face and yelling."
McNeace visited on a monster football weekend against TCU but ended up being the only commit of the weekend at this point. That's fine by him.
"It was a big load off my shoulders," McNeace said. "I can't wait for Nov. 13 to be able to sign and make it official. When I told him I wanted to commit, he hugged me and my family. It was great."
Singleton still learning the game
Put this name in your memory bank and store it for later. He's not there yet, but Edmond (Okla.) Memorial defensive end LaManuel Singleton is going to be a player to watch for the Class of 2015.
Singleton has registered five sacks this season after having not played last season.
"The thing about him is that he's just so raw and so full of potential," Edmond Memorial coach Justin Merideth said. "He wasn't here last year, and we're still trying to teach him the game. He has the potential to be so good."
Singleton moved from Louisiana to Edmond last year and is a legit 6-4 and 225 pounds. He was a day one standout at OU's summer camp, but he hasn't visited for a game yet this season.
Singleton has the look of a big-time player, while 2015 running back Warren Wand doesn't have the look but has the production of a major player.
Wand might be 5-6, but for the second year in a row, he is putting up monster numbers. Wand iced the game last week with a 55-yard touchdown run to beat Edlam rival Edmond Santa Fe.
He has rushed for 1,574 yards and 13 touchdowns this season, averaging more than seven yards per carry. Right now, though, it's not translating into any interest.
"It has to be his size," Merideth said. "He has gotten some letters from Big 12 schools but no calls or anything like that. I wish some of these guys could see him in person. He's so strong. That's what I don't think people realize. He doesn't quit. He'll fight for every last yard."
McGinnis getting familiar with Sooners
It doesn't look like OU's quarterback for the 2015 class is going to emerge from within the state borders. But if there is a candidate, it's Oklahoma City Heritage Hall quarterback Connor McGinnis.
A legit 6-4 and closer to 6-5, McGinnis has shown flashes of greatness this season. He's also had some uneven outings. Through it all, McGinnis is just learning from the experiences.
"Everything is something I can learn from," McGinnis said. "In a good game you can learn. In a bad game, you got to move on."
Some of his early outings got him noticed by OU quarterbacks coach Josh Heupel, and McGinnis has made three unofficial visits to campus this season.
He has had some early talk with Heupel, but as is Heupel's M.O., the talk has been about Heupel revisiting things following the season.
He did ask McGinnis to send a highlight tape of his first five games of the season, which does feature a couple of quality outings for the junior.
For the season, McGinnis has thrown for 1,598 yards with 11 touchdowns and eight interceptions. He has also rushed for 541 yards and five more scores in help guiding Heritage Hall to another playoff berth.
"I grew up an OU fan, but you never know what's going to happen," McGinnis said. "I just want to play college football at a high level."
Quick, Parker headline weekend visits
Guess there's a major game in Tuscaloosa, Ala., this weekend or something. Despite the fact a myriad of top recruits are visiting Alabama for the LSU game this weekend, there isn't a lot of overlap with OU recruiting interest.
This visit is crucial because going into the season, the only campuses Quick hadn't seen were OU and Alabama. He has gotten his taste of OU, now it's the Crimson Tide's turn.
The Aggies do have room for another safety, and Parker loved the atmosphere in the spring so no telling what he'll think of a game day one.
Parker is beginning to make all of his visits as well. Last weekend was Arkansas, his first official visit. He has already made three unofficial visits to OU this season.