Sooner Intel, Pt. II: OU news and nuggets

Round two of the Intel this week. It's going to be an interesting weekend for OU on the field and on the trail.

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.

Matter of time with Orso

During the second bye week, OU defensive line coach Jerry Montgomery wasn't reconnecting with familiar names. No, the first-year coach was out to find new ones and that he has done with Homewood (Ala.) defensive end Dwayne Orso.

Orso, committed to Western Kentucky since September, will be taking his official visit to OU this weekend. Is a commitment in store? Sure feels like it.

Orso is starting to get looks from Mississippi State and Auburn, but the Sooners bypassed that part of the process. Orso said OU started talking to him less than two weeks ago and made the offer.

"I was pretty shocked like I had to make sure it was who I thought it was," Orso said. "Coach Montgomery left a voicemail and said he was with Oklahoma. I looked on the site, and there he was. I couldn't believe it."

Orso said there was a strong part of him that thought about committing right then and there, but he said it wasn't something he felt he had to do.

Schools like Buffalo, Marshall and Syracuse have been in the picture, but he said it does mean something a little different to hear from the Sooners.

Orso is a 3-4 defensive end, and he said Montgomery told him he likes how Orso plays and how he slants from the position. Orso said he's 6-foot-6 and 250 pounds, but he believes he can gain at least another 15-20 pounds.

"I'm excited to meet the coaches, and I want to have a good experience," Orso said. "I want to make sure it's where I want to go."

Orso said since the offer, he has been working harder than ever because he knows the offer means nothing if he stops doing the things he had to do to earn the late offer.

Homewood has a playoff game Friday night so Orso said he most likely won't arrive in Norman until early Saturday morning. His mother is coming with for the trip. And if everything is good to go, everything should fall into place for OU.

"I want to make sure I'm comfortable, and I want to make sure she's comfortable," Orso said. "If it is, I have a pretty good idea about what I'm going to do."

Ijalana wants to be OU's tight end answer

OU is set with one tight end, Tulsa (Okla.) Union's Carson Meier isn't going anywhere. But the Sooners are gunning for No. 2, and it looks like it's going to be down to two junior college prospects.

El Camino College tight end Jean Sifrin still has some academic work to do before his commitment is officially accepted by the Sooners.

With OU's uncertainty about Sifrin, a new name has entered the picture in Pierce (Calif.) College prospect Isaac Ijalana. He said he doesn't have an offer from OU, but one could come this weekend on his official visit.

"It started like the beginning of last week," Ijalana said. "Coach Jay Boulware came down and saw me. Things have been great ever since."

Illinois entered the picture first, offering Ijalana back in the spring. He still hasn't taken any visits as the OU one will be his first. The pressure is starting to mount.

"It is kind of stressful," Ijalana said. "I'm still finishing my coursework, and my academics are on pace to be a mid-year enrollee."

Ijalana isn't worried at all about the lack of tight end usage by the Sooners. OU tight ends have a combined three catches in the last two seasons.

In talking to Boulware, Ijalana said he knows he can be that guy OU needs who can give it the production at the position again.

"He says I can be that guy," Ijalana said. "He said they need a strong tight end. I like going out on routes, but I can block, too."

Ijalana said he is around 245 pounds now and said he thinks he can be comfortable at 260. He said he is excited to meet Bob Stoops.

He's also not somebody worried about distance. He grew up in New Jersey and on a suggestion went to Pierce in California. That has worked out well because of Pierce's ability to send kids to the next level. OU defensive back Kass Everett is from Pierce, and coincidentally, OU's major tight end target Beau Sandland for the 2013 class was from Pierce.

"I had to keep grinding," Ijalana said. "I knew this was my last year in juco so I had to start doing something. After the first couple of games, interest really picked up."

Ijalana has no idea if he was ready to play at OU coming out of high school. But he knows now he's good to go.

"The reason I'm at a juco is because I wasn't focused with school," Ijalana said. "I had to improve me grades. I've done that. I wasn't nowhere near enough mature to be at a place like OU. I'm ready now. I have three years to play two, and I'm going to make the most of it."

Hayes could offer immediate running back help

This is a heavy juco visit weekend, and running back is another spot where somebody is coming in. Lackawanna (Pa.) College running back DeChavon Hayes is ready to see what OU has to offer.

Hayes said he first started to talk to OU running backs coach Cale Gundy a month ago, and they have stayed in contact ever since.

"I couldn't believe it," Hayes said. "He said they need a running back to come in right now. When I heard him say that it could be me, it definitely let me know I've earned it with my hard work."

Hayes visited Kansas last month and is set to see Arizona State in two weeks. He also said USC and UCLA are showing a lot of interest.

Hayes hadn't really paid attention to OU until the interest, but he has been watching the Sooners a lot in the last month.

"I know they have good coaches and send a lot of running backs into the NFL," Hayes said. "It's definitely something I'm interested in."

OU is graduating three running backs, and it sure looks like OU is trying its hardest to replace Roy Finch with Hayes. Hayes doesn't mind the comparison.

"I'm a playmaker," Hayes said. "I have outstanding speed. I believe I can make something happen every time I touch the ball. I'm a home run hitter."

He said he is not sure if he was ready to play big-time college football out of high school. The juco route has taught him to appreciate everything and to mature.

"I had to be humbled," Hayes said. "Now I'm ready."

What to expect this weekend

In October when OU had a couple of big recruiting weekends, it felt like it was a good first step. November visits aren't first steps. These are the final ones. These are when commitments happen.

From multiple interviews, this how it feels things are shaping up heading into this weekend.

Don't expect anything from Houston Lamar four-star cornerback John Plattenburg. The visit can go as great as possible, he's not going to decide this weekend.

It's amazing OU has gotten back into the picture with Plattenburg as it felt like communication had completely dropped off lately.

It's possible names like Dallas Pinkston defensive lineman Trey Carter and College of Dupage offensive tackle Fahn Cooper commit. Carter is more likely than Cooper.

Carter has openly mentioned committing or the possibility of it. When recruits start doing that, it's usually a sign it's coming. Because most kids aren't going to taunt the school out in public like that.

Talking to Carter earlier this week and Dallas Pinkston coaches, there's a strong feeling it will happen. A thumbs up from mom and dad will seal it. Rumors swirled Thursday night of Carter being unable to attend and having his visit rescheduled. Sooners Illustrated cannot confirm that as of Friday morning.

Cooper, meanwhile, is on his own. It's down to OU and Texas Tech. He hasn't ruled it out, but also got the feeling he might see if any other schools want to come knocking on his door.

Commitments should be expected from Homewood (Ala.) defensive end Dwayne Orso and Pierce (Calif.) College tight end Isaac Ijalana. Of course the qualifier is Ijalana needs to get the offer first. If it happens this weekend, OU should add at least two pieces.

Orso feels like a no-brainer. He'll arrive early Saturday morning because of his playoff schedule, but I don't see him flying back to Alabama without flipping to Sooners on Sunday.

It will be a waiting game with DeChavon Hayes. OU should make up a lot of ground, but Arizona State is going to get that visit, and that's when we'll see how things are shaking out.

The question mark is Iowa Western College offensive tackle Sebastian Tretola. Despite numerous attempts to reach him, all I could get was a confirmation the visit was happening. No idea his mindset right now.

And then there's West Valley City (Utah) Granger offensive tackle Kenyon Frison. Committed to Utah, don't bank on a flipped commitment. It could happen down the road but doesn't feel like it's something that will happen this weekend.

Mosley on major visit

If OU didn't have enough visits itself, a recent top target is visiting another program as well. The major one to watch is Pflugerville (Texas) Hendrickson cornerback Trai Mosley.

Mosley, a three-star prospect, has been committed to Nebraska since the summer. OU officially entered the picture three weeks ago, offering him on an unofficial visit with teammate and OU pledge Samaje Perine.

Now Mosley is going to see what Lincoln is all about. Mosley and teammate Chance Waz are taking official visits to see Nebraska this weekend.

A good visit here, and it might solidify things for Mosley and Nebraska. Find out soon enough. OU has been in the Mosley business for a while, starting back in the spring but only made the offer recently.

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