This whole recruiting cycle has been about taking a different approach for Oklahoma. Attitude toward early offers has changed. OU has jumped into that game like a lot of other top schools after being reluctant to do so.
Banquet weekend wasn't what it has been in the past. It used to be the hallmark weekend for recruiting. But this year it was just a couple of commits and one big-time visitor.
The big recruiting weekend was two weeks ago when the Sooners had 11 official visitors and pulled out all stops to make it the most successful possible.
Last weekend no official visitors were confirmed to see the campus. Now heading into this weekend, there are still no confirmed visitors for the 2014 class. Two visitors, at one time, were both scheduled for a Jan. 31 visit only for both of those to be canceled as OU decided to look in another direction.
Plantation (Fla.) American Heritage cornerback Juwan Dowels is now committed to Syracuse, while Tallahassee (Fla.) Lincoln defensive back Kendall Randolph pledged to Kentucky last week. Both decisions were made after learning the Sooners weren't in the picture anymore.
That's in stark contrast to what OU has done the last couple of years on the trail. The weekend before the 2012 signing day, OU had four recruits visit in cornerback Zack Sanchez, wide receiver Courtney Gardner, offensive tackle Will Latu and defensive end Michael Onuoha.
All four signed with OU although Latu and Gardner never made campus because neither qualified academically.
Last year was a little different in OU had its first junior day to coincide with the last weekend before signing day. The Sooners had two official visitors in offensive guard Dionte Savage and cornerback Dakota Austin.
Both signed with OU, while the Sooners also landed a commitment from Vontre McQuinnie during the junior day festivities.
This year once again OU is holding its first signing day for the next recruiting cycle, but the Sooners won't have any of their top Class of 2014 targets on campus.
OU has already taken its best shot with all of its elite targets. In fact, for almost every single target, the recruit is visiting somewhere else this weekend. The Sooners will have to hope qualify official visits combined with solid in-home visits will be enough.
The Sooners have their sights on five prospects to close out the group and feel reasonably confident about their position with all of them at this point. OU coach Bob Stoops and his staff have done the work necessary the last three weeks, nobody doubts that. But will not having the top targets on campus this weekend prove to make a difference?