Sooner Intel, Pt. I: News and nuggets

Big weekend on the field means big weekend on the trail. Get caught up.

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.

Reid changes plans

Ever since OU offered Geismar (La.) Dutchtown safety Justin Reid, it has felt like the Sooners are in a good spot to land the three-star prospect.

But no talks of a visit or anything materialized in the last month, and Reid explained why earlier this week.

His hope was to make his OU visit with his father being there. This weekend didn’t really work out with his father’s schedule, but then neither did some of the other weekends OU suggested for Reid to visit.

So Reid decided it was time to hit OU, realizing that there was no way his father was going to be able to make the trip.

“The coaches originally wanted me to come for this game,” Reid said. “It’s going to be me and my mom. It’s a big deal to not have my dad there because I really look up to him and his advice, especially since he has been through it with Eric.”

Reid’s older brother, Eric Reid, was a star at LSU and plays for the San Francisco 49ers. So far, though, the Tigers have never entered the picture for the younger Reid.

The Sooners, though, are certainly in the picture. Defensive line coach Jerry Montgomery, who has done an incredible job of getting OU in the hunt for Louisiana kids, has been back at it with Reid as Reid said the two talk at least once or twice a week.

“I can visually see myself playing there,” Reid said. “It’s a big name school, big name program. I love the atmosphere of being in a big-time environment.”

Unlike most official visits, Reid is doing things a little bit differently. He has a high school game Friday so he is arriving at OU on Saturday and not leaving until Monday.

Reid said he has watched portions of both of OU’s first two games. But admits he hasn’t watched anything in the second half. Not surprising as OU has outscored its opponents 42-0 in the first quarter and 20-3 in the second quarter.

“I want to see it in real life in person,” Reid said. “I really want to get to know Coach Mike Stoops more. If I do choose OU, he’ll be the guy I talk with.”

Reid said he has talked to Stoops a couple of times but is looking forward to the one-on-one time with OU’s defensive coordinator.

Schools like Arizona State, Utah, Kansas State, Texas Tech and Stanford are in play for Reid, but he said he doesn’t have any other visits lined up at this point.

Reid said he most likely wouldn’t commit on the spot, but he also said he couldn’t guarantee anything.

“It’s a feeling you get inside,” Reid said. “I have to see if the feeling is legit. I’m probably going to wait. I may or may not have my mind set after the visit, but I’ll probably still wait and talk it over.”

Haughton returns to OU

Reid obviously isn’t the only top prospect heading to OU, and he’s not even the only top safety prospect making the trip.

Waco (Texas) Midway safety Kahlil Haughton is set to make his fourth trip to campus since February with the first of his five official visits.

Haughton, a Scout 300 prospect, was hoping to have his choice made by this point. He looked at an early August decision date. But when the time came, he couldn’t pull the trigger just yet and held off on making a choice.

“It was a pretty tough decision,” Haughton said. “It was deciding if I wanted to take one official visit or take all of them. After talking with my parents, we thought it was best to be on the safe side.”

The Sooners are joined by schools such as Baylor, Arkansas and Texas Tech, and Haughton said he tentatively has a Tech visit set up for Texas weekend and wants to make one at Arkansas pretty soon.

The reason he wanted to make his decision so early was because he didn’t want it to be a distraction during his senior season. But surprisingly through the first few games, Haughton said it hasn’t been a huge concern.

“I haven’t really thought about it that much nor had a lot of people asking me about it,” Haughton said. “I’ve just been focusing on my team and responsibilities. It hasn’t been an issue.”

One of his responsibilities this season has seen him coming down in the box more at safety. It’s working so far as last week Haughton had 12 tackles and a fumble recovery.

Haughton was at OU in February for junior day. Returned in April for the spring game and once again in June for the camp although he didn’t participate.

He is slowly learning all there is to know about OU and its players and coaches. But what he really wants to experience is something like this weekend – a game day atmosphere.

“I want to see everything,” Haughton said. “I want to see the preparation that goes into everything and just be a part of that atmosphere.”

OU gets a little break with Haughton because of his high school schedule. Waco Midway played Thursday night so that will allow Haughton and his mother to make the trip Friday. He’s hopeful his father can make the trip, too, but he said earlier this week he wasn’t sure.

As for committing, it’s not 100 percent out of the question.

“There may come a time when I know,” Haughton said. “No matter what, I’ll talk it over with my parents. I think it’s always a good idea to talk to my parents about it.”

Stoops talks recruiting

OU coach Bob Stoops is no stranger to big recruiting weekends. But few in the last several years stack up to the talent there will be in Norman this weekend.

As of now, there are 14 official visits combined with several top unofficial visits for the weekend. Stoops is ready to go.

“We work hard on both (kinds of visits),” Stoops said. “Unofficials we make as close to official visits as we can. Official visits we have them for a longer period of time.

How does Stoops handle it all?

“I rev myself up Friday morning and tell myself I got 48 hours of going,” Stoops said. “And Sunday I’m pretty tired.”

It’s an interesting weekend for Stoops. With all the official visits and Tennessee in town, it absolutely is going to be nonstop for OU’s coach.

But now in his 16th season, it still gets exciting. And the talks with the recruit and/or parents Sunday in his office still mean something.

“Getting to know their family background and getting to know what they like to do, getting to know their personality a little bit,” said Stoops about his favorite thing of those conversations.

No visit is complete without the host. Through the years, Stoops has done a pretty good job of matching up the recruit with a nice host. It’s not something he takes lightly.

“It’s a big deal,” Stoops said. “I talk to our players quite often about how we can recruit a guy for two years and come here and you don’t take a personal interest and making sure the young man has his questions answered and is treated properly, then we’ve wasted our time.”

Another way Stoops has stressed it for his players is by saying these could be the guys that join you. You want good guys in your huddle. You want to win championships. These guys on campus can help you do that.

He said guys with big personalities make the best hosts. For this year, that’s guys like Sterling Shepard and Eric Striker. But don’t be surprised if David Smith gets called upon again. He has been a guy mentioned often by OU recruits the last two seasons as a host or as a guy who has spent the most time with kids.

This weekend brings about the committing on the spot argument once again. There are certain cases, as discussed this week here on the site, about OU is going to have some tough choices to make. How much pressure will be put on the guys?

“We put on a very hard sell,” Stoops said. “Now am I one to sit there and you only have until tonight to tell us? No, that’s never been me and never will be. I’ll be honest with the guy. If it gets late into recruiting, Johnny, we have one scholarship left at let’s say linebacker and have three of you guys here. I’m not telling you to do it but telling you to be aware.

“You can only take so many at each spot. When it gets to that way, we’re honest. Let them know this is the situation. They appreciate it, and the parents appreciate it. Am I going to sit there and tell a kid he has an hour to make a decision? No, I don’t think that’s right.

“We don’t pressure anybody. We sell our program hard. These are the kind of games and championships we win here. We’ve been doing it for 16 years so why wouldn’t we when you’re here? I don’t pressure people because I don’t believe in it. They should have time to confer with their parents… At the end of the day, you get who you’re supposed to get.”

Sooners Illustrated Top Stories