OU-Tennessee recruiting battles

Not uncommon right now to see Sooners and Vols battle it out for recruits.

It wouldn’t seem like Oklahoma and Tennessee would wage war on the recruiting trail. But ever since Butch Jones has taken over in Knoxville, the two have frequently been going after the same prospects.

Class of 2014

There are really four players to look at with this class with kicker Aaron Medley, long snapper Wesley Horky, junior college offensive tackle Dontavious Blair and offensive tackle Orlando Brown.

Medley was a case where OU struck first. The Sooners offered Medley, but he had made it pretty clear that if Tennessee offered, he was going to stay home.

Tennessee did make that offer, and he did sign with the Vols. OU ended up not taking any kicker for the class. Instead the Sooners have pounced on Belleville (Ill.) West kicker Austin Seibert for the Class of 2015, who committed in May.

Blair was an interesting case. Coming from Garden City Community College where OU has had success before, he actually made an unofficial visit to Norman in the spring.

But as time went on, it became pretty clear OU was out of picture. What wasn’t known at the time was how much of that was because he wanted to head to Tennessee.

OU fired back with the addition of Orlando Brown. The son of the former NFL player, Brown was down to OU and Tennessee in his final three in the spring of 2013. He picked the Vols and nobody ever questioned where he’d be.

But on signing day, Brown switched and signed with OU. The thought was there was no way Brown would be able to qualify academically.

It wasn’t easy, but Brown put in the work during the summer and arrived at OU. So far he is redshirting, but OU coaches and players raved about the way he developed during camp.

From the biggest to the smallest with long snapper Wesley Horky. Originally from Tennessee, Horky was all set to walk-on with the Vols when OU came calling after signing day.

After making a visit and offered a scholarship, Horky changed his mind and signed with OU. OU coach Bob Stoops has praised Horky constantly during camp and Horky is seeing action.

Class of 2015

Tennessee got the first one with five-star defensive tackle Kahlil McKenzie. Despite having a great relationship with OU defensive line coach Jerry Montgomery, it never felt like the Sooners were a real player in this race.

McKenzie’s father and uncle went to Tennessee, and nobody at all was shocked when he picked the Vols in July.

There are three targets on the board for both schools. Top quarterback Torrance Gibson was once a solid Tennessee favorite, but it sounds like Ohio State will end up as his destination.

Gibson was originally supposed to visit OU this weekend, but he cannot make any official visits as he does not have any SAT or ACT scores to qualify him for the trip.

Five-star linebacker Ricky DeBerry is set to make his second trip to Norman. He visited with his father last summer and said during the spring he wanted to bring his mother to OU. He’ll get that chance this weekend.

Both OU and Tennessee are in his final eight schools.

And four-star wide receiver Ryan Newsome has OU and Tennessee in his final four schools. Newsome has visited OU three times in the last 12 months and is expected to take his official visit to Norman in November.

Newsome hasn’t said anything to suggest it, but the possibility remains he could take an unofficial to OU this weekend to see two of his top four schools battle on the national stage.


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