OU commit in focus: Juco TE Issac Ijalana

Breaking down the impact of three OU commits in 48 hours, starting with juco tight end Isaac Ijalana.

It had to take convincing. There really was no other way. Pierce (Calif.) College tight end Isaac Ijalana was digging the OU atmosphere, but it's not about atmosphere as a junior college player.

It's about immediate impact, and the Sooners haven't really used a tight end in two seasons. And nothing changed last weekend when Ijalana, a two-star prospect who is 6-foot-5 and 250 pounds, was on his official visit.

Nothing swayed Ijalana, though. As he was leaving Norman on Sunday, he told OU tight end coach Jay Boulware he wanted to commit. Boulware told him to be sure, think it over.

Ijalana had three hours to think, not much else to do on a flight from Oklahoma City to Los Angeles. When he touched down, he still felt good about his selection and Boulware accepted Ijalana's pledge.

Boulware's mission was a tough one heading into this season, his first with the Sooners. Recruit tight ends even though there isn't a true tight end featured in OU's offense. OK, good luck with that.

It became apparent in the last month what Boulware's strategy was going to be. Take one high school tight end and look for that immediate impact player in the juco ranks.

The high school part was easy, look in your backyard. OU found Tulsa (Okla.) Union's Carson Meier, a three-star prospect, and landed his commitment in May.

The juco part wasn't so easy. Needed to be a quality player but also needed to be able to graduate and be a mid-year enrollee. Check and check for Ijalana, which should turn out to be the difference between him and El Camino (Calif.) College tight end Jean Sifrin.

Ijalana is a pure receiving tight end. He said he doesn't mind blocking, but his tone of voice changes when talking about making plays in the passing game. That's what he wants to do.

Now we'll see if he can do it at OU. Ijalana said Boulware has stressed to him that Ijalana is that guy. That the reason OU doesn't have tight ends featured in the passing game is because the talent on campus to do what OU wants them to do isn't there.

Ijalana is coming to OU to restore some of the tight end tradition the Sooners have. With Brannon Green graduating, it will be another juco tight end to replace him.

The opportunity is going to be there, and it will be up to Ijalana to make the most out of it.

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