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.
Things picking up for Mbanasor
Sometimes it's crucial to get in that race nice and early, and it certainly feels like OU has positioned itself well with Pflugerville (Texas) Hendrickson cornerback P.J. Mbanasor.
Committed to TCU at the time, OU was the second school to offer the four-star prospect. That offer meant a lot and the nearly 20 offers that have come since have changed Mbanasor's line of thinking. He decommitted from the Horned Frogs last month.
As Mbanasor has accumulated one top offer after another, nothing has changed regarding his opinion of the Sooners.
"They're still OU," Mbansor said. "They still win game, which I'm sure they're going to do next season. That's something I'm really going to be looking at. I want to see who's about their business on the field and who is just talk."
Mbanasor attended OU's junior day and the plan remains for him to find a way to Norman on Saturday for OU's spring game. The natural connection is with running back signee Samaje Perine, but Mbanasor said he can't get a ride from Perine this weekend.
Perine is one of several former teammates signed with schools that have offered Mbanasor, but Perine has taken a different method toward the recruiting process.
"Samaje hasn't pressured me or anything like that," Mbanasor said. "He's letting me be me. It would be nice to have a teammate around, but tackling him wouldn't be nice. In the end, it won't be a big factor."
The hits have kept coming for Mbanasor as Texas was the latest school to reach out and offer Mbanasor on Wednesday morning. Coincidence or not, the offer came less than a week after a stellar showing at the Nike Football Training Combine event in DeSoto, Texas, where Mbanasor was one of three defensive backs to earn The Opening invite.
Schools like Texas have to play catch up as it's obvious the OU coaches have let Mbanasor know early and often how big of a target he is for the class.
"We talk often, very often," Mbanasor said. "I get a lot of mail from them. I respect all of them. They know how to produce. They know how to take guys into the league. You look around the NFL, and you can see who is from OU. They're obviously doing something right."
Mbanasor said he talks with OU graduate assistant Courtney Viney as well as cornerbacks coach Bobby Jack Wright. The other ace in the hole is Mbanasor's childhood favorite is former OU great Derrick Strait. Mbanasor hasn't met Strait yet, but it's possible that could happen this year because of the OU connection.
Mbanasor wears No. 2 in honor of Strait.
Sunderland's options increasing
Maybe the worst thing for OU has been the emergence of Midwest City (Okla.) High safety Will Sunderland on the camp circuit in the last month.
The Sooners really could have used a silent month from Sunderland to their advantage. All kidding aside, Sunderland has launched himself into the national picture following MVP outings at the Rivals camp in March and the NFTC last weekend that also included an invite to The Opening.
Two months ago it looked like a commitment to OU was just a matter of when and not if. He mentioned several times he was "this close" to committing on the junior day visit but felt he should wait.
"I just don't see it happening right now," said Midwest City defensive coordinator Jason Sexton about a possible commitment this weekend. "You never know, but he hasn't given me an indication of anything."
Sunderland is going to be making his third trip to Norman in the last two months as one of the headlining visitors for the spring game. He was also at a spring practice last month where he was buddy-buddy with Bob Stoops and Mike Stoops nearly the entire time.
Sunderland said he wants to visit Arkansas and Ohio State soon, but it's obvious the Sooners are still the program to beat. Included in his impressive performance at the NFTC was his father, Will Sunderland Sr., wearing an OU hoodie the whole event.
Dyer returning to OU
There's a lot of possibilities this weekend for the Sooners. A lot of prospects where if the chips all fall into place, OU could walk out with a handful of commitments.
Or the Sooners could have zero. That statement illustrates how well OU is in with top targets but also that it cannot quite seal the deal in the last two months.
One of those targets is Mesquite (Texas) Horn four-star offensive lineman Conner Dyer. He was one of the select few to earn his offer in person. When Dyer visited OU for its first junior day, OU offensive line coach Bill Bedenbaugh made sure to let Dyer know how important he is viewed for the class and offered him.
Dyer was also at OU's one-day camp last June and has grown to develop a healthy rapport with Bedenbaugh.
Other notable offers have come his way, but Dyer seems to continue to gravitate toward Norman and will return this weekend.
One big thing OU has working in its favor is having offensive lineman signee Jonthan Alvarez, a former teammate, coming back to OU as well. Some teammates are close but only on the field. Alvarez and Dyer are very tight, on and off the field.
But Alvarez said he doesn't see any fireworks happening this weekend.
"No, it's too early," Alvarez said. "He told me that he was going to release his short list this summer, and I believe he will commit during his senior season or after it."
Agim pumped for OU offer
When an in-state underclassmen prospect gets an offer from OU, it's a sign that he's going to be tough get out of Oklahoma.
That same logic can be applied to Arkansas. When the Razorbacks go after a young kid, tough to see him venturing elsewhere. That, however, won't stop OU from trying with Hope (Ark.) High defensive lineman McTelvin Agim.
Offered by OU last month, Agim certainly passed the eye test at the NFTC last weekend even if he felt he didn't have his best day.
"It was great seeing all these people out here and just competing against the best of them," Agim said. "I didn't feel like I had my best day, but I'll be better."
The OU offer is always going to remain special to Agim. Not necessarily because it's from the Sooners but because of the date it happened.
"It was a blessing because I got the offer on my grandmother's birthday," Agim said. "She died two, three years ago so it's something I'm always going to remember. It's another sign that shows me hard work pays off."
Agim, though, hasn't been active on the trail so far. He said he hasn't made any unofficial visits at this time and the only thing that might be in the works is a trip to Arkansas later this month for the spring game.