Sooner Intel, Pt. I: OU news and nuggets

It's the final week before signing day, but it's also junior day for OU. Add it up, and it's yet another big weekend for the Sooners.

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.

Barnett watch

There are a lot of top visitors coming in for OU's junior day Saturday. The list is packed with one top name after another at different positions.

But if OU could get a commitment from one guy only, a lot of fans would vote Lawton (Okla.) High offensive guard Jalin Barnett be that guy.

Barnett, a four-star prospect ranked No. 3 at offensive guard, received his OU offer 10 months ago and has made more unofficial visits to Norman than anywhere else in the country.

With offers from top schools like Alabama, Auburn and Stanford to go with his childhood favorite Oklahoma State, the competition is fierce and plentiful. Not to say the Sooners aren't in a great spot, though.

"He likes OU a great deal," Lawton coach Randy Breeze said. "He's developed a great relationship with their coaches. I told you before, and I still feel that way that I think he's going to stay in the state."

The relationship with offensive line coach Bill Bedenbaugh has already been established, but Breeze said tight ends coach Jay Boulware is starting to connect with Barnett on a more consistent basis as well.

Breeze can't speak 100 percent for Barnett, but he does feel as though the tide has shifted into what the big man wants to do. Breeze said last month he really felt Barnett wanted to make those five visits and see what's out there.

But something has changed.

"The last couple of weeks, just from talking to him, I've got the feeling he really wants to stay pretty close to home," Breeze said. "He took the right path in saying he wants to see what's out there. But now I wouldn't be surprised if it happens before the season."

Auburn and Stanford have made their pitches to Barnett, who Breeze said has been selected as an Under Armour All-American.

OU, however, keeps making the lasting impression. Is it possible a commitment happens this weekend at junior day?

"I don't know," Breeze said. "He hasn't ruled it out at all, but he also hasn't said anything about committing. I'm like you in waiting to hear, too."

As for grades, Breeze said don't worry about that. He said Barnett's GPA is hovering around a 3.8 right now.

Sunderland, Sooners perfect match?

Another big name to be watching this weekend is Midwest City (Okla.) High safety Will Sunderland. While the Sooners continue to sweat it out for Scout 300 safety Steven Parker for the 2014 class, it's possible OU will lock up a Scout 300 safety for the 2015 class first.

Sunderland has been on OU's radar since he was an eighth-grader. There's no way Cale Gundy, a Midwest City graduate, doesn't know about a top player with the Bombers. Following a spectacular showing at OU's camp last summer, Sunderland was offered in August.

Others offers have followed, but OU continues to show the most interest and the most consistent interest. Sunderland was at Oklahoma State's junior day last weekend, but the Sooners still seem like the clear-cut favorite.

"He loves Cale and his parents would love to watch him play," Midwest City defensive coordinator Jason Sexton said.

The plot does thicken, though. Following a great outing at the U.S. Army All-American combine, Sunderland was approached by the organizers of potentially committing at the game. Basically if he was selected for the game, would he consider committing at the game?

Sunderland has also picked up an Arkansas offer and has already said he intends to visit junior days at Missouri and Kansas State. But there's no doubt he's excited about OU.

"His parents want him to take his time so I doubt there's a chance he'll do it this weekend," Sexton said. "That's just my opinion. You never know because he does love OU."

Whether he commits or not, his recruitment has been another strong sign of the Sooners coaching staff taking care of their business in the state once again.

OU in it until the end with Quick

Back in April 2012, OU defensive coordinator Mike Stoops made a trip to Fresno (Calif.) Central High to offer Class of 2013 prospects L.J. Moore and Hatari Byrd. A little added nugget to that was the offer to a 2014 prospect Michiah Quick.

All these months later that early start and constant attention since has put the Sooners right where you want to be with Quick less than a week before signing day.

Quick, a four-star wide receiver, officially visited OU in October and appears to be done with all his visits following a last-minute cancellation of his UCLA trip.

"He's good to go," Fresno Central defensive backs coach Tony Perry said. "He's ready to sign and get it over with. He kind of has his mind made up right now, but we'll see if things change."

The big variable in the equation is Notre Dame. Quick has made two visits to South Bend, and ND coach Brian Kelly is the coach with the final in-home visit. That's not to say the Sooners didn't attack Quick and make him a top priority throughout.

Perry said Bob Stoops and Mike Stoops have been in town for visits the last two Mondays. Despite the constant recruiting from Mike Stoops, the plan is still for Quick to be a wide receiver first and then potentially a nickelback if he can handle playing both ways.

The signs point toward OU with Byrd and Moore on campus and with his friend, five-star running back Joe Mixon, also committed to the Sooners. Perry believes Quick is his own man, though.

"He's his own dude," Perry said. "He's close to them and Hatari is his cousin. But he's going to somewhere because that's where he wants to go. The real world comes after signing day."

By this time next week we'll have our answer as to whether OU was able to do enough to lure another top Cali prospect to Norman. If it didn't happen, it won't be for the lack of trying.

"They did a great job with Quick," Perry said. "A real good job. They've been on him since the beginning, and I can't think of anything else they could have done."

Perry said he will discuss things with Quick on Sunday and Monday before making a decision on signing day. The ceremony starts at 5:30 p.m. CST (3:30 p.m. PST) so it will be a long wait for OU fans regarding Quick on Wednesday.

***Click here to discuss all things OU recruiting***

***Click here for Part II, discussing OU's defensive line class for 2014***

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