OU looking beyond star ratings for class

OU has received four commitments this month with three being classified as two-star recruits. Some fans aren't pleased with OU's philosophy, but the Sooners are more concerned with senior film than what happened in the past.

Commitments usually bring about raucous celebrations from fans. Since the season has started, Oklahoma has picked up five commits.

Four of the five are currently rated as two-star prospects. So the celebrations have been tepid. And in some cases, downright nonexistent right now.

People who don't care are the OU coaches. Star ratings? Eh, not a big deal. Other notable offers? Doesn't matter much. Can the kid play and fit the system? Bingo, we have a winner.

This isn't the first time and won't be the last time where OU offers some incredibly under the radar prospect and some fans are left scratching their heads.

It started in September with Mesquite (Texas) Horn Jonathan Alvarez. Regarded as a two-star prospect, schools like TCU were starting to make a push for Alvarez during the season.

OU invited him for an unofficial visit in September, and he committed less than 72 hours later. OU offensive line coach Bill Bedenbaugh liked what he saw.

The Sooners were stuck at 14 commits for nearly two whole months. But November is the month of commits, and OU has tacked on four at this point.

It began with San Antonio Churchill tight end Dimitri Flowers and continued this weekend with Homewood (Ala.) defensive end Dwayne Orso and Los Angeles Pierce College tight end Isaac Ijalana.

The rush of commits didn't end there as Sierra College linebacker Devante Bond pledged to the Sooners on Monday.

Alvarez, Flowers, Orso and Ijalana are all ranked as two-star prospects. Some OU fans have been disappointed OU had to resort to stealing Flowers from Boise State.

Some OU fans have been frustrated that Orso was committed to Western Kentucky and became a top Sooners target despite living in SEC country but not having any SEC offers.

Ijalana was being most sought out by Illinois.

But for OU it's about evaluation. It has been before, it is now with this group despite the influx of first-years coaches: offensive line with Bill Bedenbaugh, defensive line with Jerry Montgomery and tight end with Jay Boulware.

Flowers just completed a tremendous senior season to set himself apart from any other fullback option. He averaged nearly six yards per rush and averaged 19 yards per catch with 15 touchdowns. He played his way into the offer even if in the spring he felt like a two-star prospect.

Orso said the blame is on him. He put too much pressure on himself. He learned to relax and the results have followed. He's a legit 6-foot-5, 255 pounds, who can move. He can be that defensive end in a 3-4 front.

OU simply wasn't going to wait for that first big offer. The Sooners were going to be that offer and end the chaos before it starts. Since OU has offered, Mississippi State, Clemson and Auburn have all shown considerable interest in Orso.

It happened last year with recruits like wide receiver K.J. Young and defensive tackle Charles Walker. Young was most sought out by Boise State until an OU offer after Christmas changed his life.

Iowa State tried to get in late. Oregon and Wisconsin did all they could to flip him before signing day. Being underrated doesn't mean there's no talent.

Walker was taking official visits to New Mexico, Houston and North Texas before the Sooners came calling.

Walker and Young appear to be headed toward redshirt seasons, but then you look at players like linebacker Jordan Evans and cornerback Dakota Austin.

Evans' biggest offer was Ohio before OU swooped in and took the hometown kid. Austin was looking at Nevada and UTEP. The week before signing day the Sooners asked him for a visit and offered him and got his commitment.

Evans has contributed in key spots for OU's defense before an ankle injury and Austin recorded his first interception last week.

None of them were regarded anything more than mid-level three-star prospects and none of them were offered before November of last year.

That's not to say OU can load up on two-star and three-star prospects. A perfect blend of having hungry, under the radar prospects with the can't-miss kids who deliver is a nice recipe for success.

The Sooners are still in the mix for quality five-star and four-star recruits. OU needs to land at least a few to add to the three four-star prospects already on board.

The additions of recruits like Orso and Flowers won't make a class. But they won't break a class, either.

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