Sooner Intel, Pt. II: OU news and nuggets

In Part II of the weekly Intel, Sooners Illustrated catches up with several commits and get their thoughts following last weekend's visits.

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.

Academics seal deal for Thomas

OU was able to get one commit from the huge weekend, and it came from somebody who wasn't even legitimately on OU's radar heading into January.

Klein (Texas) Collins safety Jordan Thomas was so firmly entrenched with Northwestern that it felt like a waste of time to pursue him. The Sooners did as cornerbacks coach Bobby Jack Wright never lost contact, and it worked.

It was pretty obvious once Thomas made it to campus, he was going to commit so it was a little shocking that he didn't do it until later Sunday evening.

All a mere formality as Thomas said he needed to tell Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald he switching his commitment.

"I wanted to do things the right way," Thomas said.

Looking for a degree in petroleum engineering, OU is right up Thomas' alley. His family is really connected to the oil and gas industry with his father working for Chevron.

Once the family saw the program was exactly what they needed it to be, the decision came that much easier to make.

It also helps immensely the distance cut down from going to Norman instead of Evanston, Ill.

"I'm able to be my own person, but I'm also to stay close to home, too," Thomas said.

His host for the weekend was defensive back Zack Sanchez. Thomas said Sanchez didn't exactly say anything that caught his eye. The one thing Sanchez did, however, was tell the truth about everything. It made Thomas feel comfortable.

It was obvious heading into the weekend it was OU or Northwestern. And Thomas didn't want to drag it out when he knew.

"It feels amazing," Thomas said. "It's a big step in maturity. This decision is one of the biggest steps we make at this age. I guess you could say it's one step toward manhood."

Paul knows OU is home

Linebacker Curtis Bolton wasn't the only OU commit seeing the campus for the first time. Joining him in that category was New Orleans St. Augustine offensive lineman Joseph Paul.

Paul, a three-star offensive tackle, committed to OU a week before his trip. And following his visit, he knows he has made the right decision.

"It was better than I ever thought it would be," Paul. "It cemented it for me. I know for sure this is where I want to be."

Paul was hosted by defensive end Ogbonnia "Obo" Okoronkwo. The New Orleans-Houston connection was in full force during the visit, and Paul said he appreciated what Obo did for him on the visit and helping him get to know the current players.

One thing that caught Paul's attention was he had Norman and Oklahoma all wrong, a common misconception for people not from the area.

"I thought it would be really country," Paul said. "But it's not. It felt a lot like home. Oklahoma City isn't too far away. Again I don't know why, but it really reminded me of home."

The knock on Paul throughout his senior season has been his conditioning. And one question he had for OU offensive line coach Bill Bedenbaugh was what the coach wanted from Paul in the months before he arrives at OU.

A bit surprising to Paul, Bedenbaugh didn't order him to do anything. Instead they'll address that later. He said he think the goal will be to play around 315 pounds.

Paul is already a massive man and that led to another comparison of a mountain of mass at OU in offensive guard Dionte Savage.

"I spent a lot of time with Savage," Paul said. "Everybody kept saying how I remind them of him."

Paul has been recruited as a right tackle but talks of playing guard were discussed during the visit. Essentially, whatever Paul can excel at, that's where he's going to play.

Paul spent a lot of time with top target Deondre Clark as well. With Clark committed to LSU and from the area, Paul did what he could for OU.

"I just told him I love OU and this is where I want to be," Paul said.

Meier getting back into swing of things

OU tight ends caught a whopping total of three balls this season, equaling the underwhelming number from the 2012 season. Not easy to convince a tight end to consider the Sooners.

But tight ends coach Jay Boulware didn't have to work too hard on Tulsa (Okla.) Union three-star prospect Carson Meier, who has been firmly locked in with the Sooners since May.

All the words about hearing how OU is going to use tight ends are nice, but production speaks louder than words. However, dinner at Bob Stoops' house, Meier was once again reassured tight end is coming back to OU.

"They were telling me they believe that's one of the reasons they haven't played as well as they have wanted to – was because of the lack of a tight end," Meier said. "They don't have that long tight end. Again they were talking to me about being a flexed out tight end."

Meier was encouraged by the coaches to watch as much film of former OU tight end Jermaine Gresham as that is clearly how OU would like to use Meier going forward.

Meier was hosted by tight end Taylor McNamara and what Meier liked more than anything was how involved a lot of the guys were with the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.

"Taylor is really involved and so is Ty Darlington," Meier said. "It was really fun because that's something I'm passionate about."

Meier's senior season went well but ended on a down note with a loss in the state championship game to Jenks. One thing Meier noticed this season is how much stronger he has really gotten.

He didn't quite understand the work he had put in until he was blocking against Jenks in their first encounter in September.

"It was sort of a shocker to me," Meier said. "Blocking those guys last year was so rough. I came out this year and realized I really have gotten stronger."

Meier was selected to the Semper Fi all-star game but was unable to compete because of a shoulder injury. He said it was a huge disappointment because every tight end on the West squad was injured. Even the replacement that was brought in ended up injured.

Meier is expected to start playing basketball for Tulsa Union after being given the approval by the OU team doctors. Meier tore his labrum but right now it doesn't require surgery. The doctors said he would be OK to play so he wants to get back out there with fellow commit Jeffery Mead and bring home a gold ball.

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