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.
Evans not looking around
He now has the distinction of being OU’s first commit for the 2015 class but Allen (Texas) High’s Bobby Evans remains as quiet as ever.
Evans, a four-star prospect in the Scout 300, committed to OU in July 2013. After some early trips to campus, Evans actually hasn’t been to Norman as many times as you would have expected at this point.
That’s also not a sign of worry, though.
“I try to talk to Coach (Bill) Bedenbaugh on a weekly basis,” Evans said. “If not talk, communicate somehow all the time.”
It wasn’t long after the OU commitment that other schools started to flock to the younger Evans. Throughout last season and the winter, Evans had to deal with it.
And when Josh Wariboko and Du’Vonta Lampkin both decommitted, it felt like OU was a temporarily sinking ship. Schools like LSU, Texas A&M and USC kept at it regarding Evans, who simply wouldn’t budge.
“No, what the other guys were doing didn’t affect me,” Evans said. “I was still pretty strong with my commitment.”
The message has gotten through, it seems, as Evans said he’s no longer dealing with multiple schools trying to sway him from Norman.
Evans said he is 6-foot-5 and 277 pounds now and is ready to lead Allen back to another state championship. A lot of stars have left, and he said being one of the leaders is the main difference going into this season.
Of course Evans wouldn’t be the only Evans at OU. His older brother, Tay Evans, is a freshman for the Sooners. So far so good, said Bobby.
“Tay likes it a lot so far,” Evans said. “He said it has been pretty cool. Right now they’re planning on redshirting him so he’s just trying to stay positive and continue to work hard.”
The younger Evans, like so many other commits and top targets, said he is going to take his official to Norman in two weeks for the Tennessee game.
Barnett heading back to OU
As OU’s offensive line class gets stronger and stronger by the day, everybody is wondering who No. 5 will be for the line and when Lawton (Okla.) High’s Jalin Barnett is going to join the group.
Barnett, the top-ranked prospect in the state, is hoping to return to Norman this weekend for OU’s season opener. It’s not guaranteed, but Barnett said he is pushing for it with his family.
If he does make it back, it will be his third trip to Norman this summer. He was there at OU’s camp and also returned earlier this month for one of the first camp practices.
Barnett will come anytime he can because he has an open invitation from offensive line coach Bill Bedenbaugh to do just that.
“He said anytime you want to hang out with the guys, just let us know,” Barnett said. “You’re always welcome here. I have a great relationship with Coach Bedenbaugh. I’ve been talking to him the longest.”
Barnett released a top two of OU and Arkansas last month and seems like those are the schools still standing out as he enters his senior season.
He said he’s not really focusing on any other schools and trying to set up visits. Instead, he’s trying to figure out when he can set up his visits to OU and Arkansas. Nothing is settled, but his trip to Fayetteville could come in October.
As with Bedenbaugh, his relationship with the Arkansas coaches is now going well beyond football. And both schools are letting it be known there is no timetable.
“No, sir, that hasn’t happened at all,” said Barnett about either school pushing him. “There hasn’t been any pressure from either of them.”
Barnett dropped 20 pounds in the spring, and despite suffering from a nagging elbow injury, he was back at OU’s camp in June. He said he wasn’t asked to do it, but he just felt like if he could get more coaching from Bedenbaugh, he should take advantage of it.
His size you cannot teach, but Barnett is now working on a lot of the little things. He believes it has paid off.
“I think I’m a much better technician going into this season,” Barnett said. “I’m always working. I know I can get better.”
Samia enters the fold
It’s not unheard of for the Sooners to be able to win a recruiting battle, but it was definitely made a lot tougher when the offer didn’t happen until earlier this month.
The offer happened Aug. 7 on his unofficial visit, but the seeds had been planted by defensive line coach Jerry Montgomery during the summer.
“At the last All-Poly camp, Coach Montgomery started to come up and talk about the recruiting process with me,” Samia said. “I hadn’t had much contact until that point so it kind of shocked me.”
With the Sooners in the picture, he knew he had to check out Norman to see what it was all about. In the end, UCLA could have still been the choice, but he needed to know.
When he got to OU, one thing immediately stood out.
“How big all the players were,” Samia said. “I’ve seen a lot of big guys, but I’ve never seen the entire team be that massive.
“When you’re a kid and have this idea of what college should be like, that’s exactly what OU is. It fits that idea.”
Samia was able to get to know Montgomery and offensive line coach Bill Bedenbaugh a lot more during the trip and interacted with offensive guard Nila Kasitati, who is a distant relative.
The trip couldn’t have gone any better than it did, but it still wasn’t a slam dunk the Sooners had done enough to overtake the Bruins.
Samia wasn’t even sure of it at the time, but he had set his Aug. 22 deadline and wasn’t about to back away from that. The day before his decision, he talked to the UCLA coaching staff and said he still needed more time.
By last Friday morning, it was clear the choice was going to be OU.
“Just getting away from California and becoming my own man,” Samia said. “It’s kind of weird right now when I look on Twitter and read my own bio that says OU commit. It’s still crazy.”
Samia is set to play right tackle for OU and said the only official visit he’s taking is the one to Norman to see the campus once again.