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 suffers setback
It has been a whirlwind of emotions for OU commit and Allen (Texas) High offensive tackle Bobby Evans in the last couple of weeks. It started on the highest of highs with his official visit to OU two weeks and was brought down earlier this week when he confirmed he has torn his right ACL.
Allen was running a sweep play last week and Evans was blocking his man to open up the hole. The defensive end stopped to cut to try to make the tackle. Evans tried to cut back on his right leg and knew immediately something wrong had happened.
“It was a clean tear, doctors said,” Evans said. “It’s very disappointing to miss the rest of my senior season. But I can’t think like that, just got to think about all the positive things.”
Those positive things include things like heading to OU in a few months. Evans and running back commit Rodney Anderson both signed financial aid agreements last week as both intend to be on campus in January.
Evans said his surgery is scheduled for Oct. 7 with a timetable of six months being projected for his recovery although that can obviously change based on rehab.
“I got to know a lot of people,” Evans said. “Recruits I didn’t know before. Recruits I had met a couple of times and got to know better. It was great. The message from Alvarez was about being ready to play. Be in shape, be ready, and you’re going to have some fun.”
Evans said he loved being able to see the game from the sidelines, getting a chance to enjoy the atmosphere and pay attention to some of the little things.
With his agreement signed, things change with the recruitment of Evans. He doesn’t have to initiate everything as offensive line coach Bill Bedenbaugh can now call him and does call him to check in and see how things are going.
“I’m still going in January just like I wanted to do,” Evans said. “I wanted to get a big jump on the season. I know things have changed, but there’s still a lot I can learn.”
Sunderland full of trust with OU program
Recruits will say it all the time. That trust factor is a huge issue when it comes to trying to pick a school. It’s not an issue for Midwest City (Okla.) High safety Will Sunderland with the Sooners. And it’s not an issue with his father, either.
Sunderland surprised a lot of people with his pledge to OU a couple of weeks ago. The decision was shocking that it happened right then and there, but everybody is all-in with the Sooners.
“I was looking at his Buccaneer (little league) pictures and just thinking he could be playing for the Oklahoma Sooners one day,” Sunderland Sr. said. “When he went into the office last year and was offered a full-ride scholarship, I realized it could happen.
“For Bob Stoops to tell you, to tell your son, you have a scholarship to play at a top-10 program like that – it’s something I won’t forget.”
The recruiting process allowed Sunderland Sr. get to know the OU coaches in every way possible. That relationship made him know his son is in good hands.
“I don’t know Bob and them, but I do know them,” Sunderland Sr. said. “He’s the type of man that loves his family. If my son is going to be around a man like that, I’m happy.
“They’re like one big family there. We’re there, and we joke and play like a family. It’s not like that everywhere. If you don’t feel comfortable, you’ll know. When we got down there, we knew we were ready.”
The father knew because of the coaches, but the son knew because of someone who would have every reason to not be 100 percent with OU. No doubt Sunderland probably would have committed to OU anyway, but his talks with Joe Mixon really helped put things in focus for him.
“He said if I come here, our classes can help get OU a ring,” Sunderland said. “Me and him are on the same page, trying to get to the next level. We both got goals. Joe wants to win the Heisman. My goal is to win the Thorpe Award.”
Mixon is suspended for the season from OU because of an off the field incident where he plead not guilty to a misdemeanor. His court date is set for Oct. 27, but Sunderland said Mixon was all smiles during his visit.
“He was just happy, same as always, but you can tell he wants to be out there with the team,” Sunderland said. “When they win it (national championship), he’ll be back on Twitter. You can tell his mindset is on the different level. He could have been starting as a freshman this year. But when he comes back, everybody better watch out.
Mann comfortable with Sooners
Burleson (Texas) High defensive end Kenneth Mann was hoping to see OU’s first home game but family issues kept him from making the trip.
He was able to return to Norman for the Tennessee game, and he’s glad he did even if he did have to leave in the fourth quarter.
“Everything feels so much better,” Mann said. “It makes me feel a lot closer to the team. It was an amazing experience.”
Mann said he loved watching the OU defense and really sees himself fitting in well at defensive end. He paid a lot of attention to what the defensive line was doing and was excited with the passion they played with.
OU’s defensive ends are getting bigger and bigger, which is fine with Mann. He said he’s a lot bigger from last year, and it’s showing.
“I’ve been able to put up really good stats so far because I’m so much stronger than I used to be,” Mann said. “I can handle those bigger tackles a lot better than I could last year. And I’m still too fast for them.”
Mann said he is taking an official visit to OU for the mega showdown against Baylor in November.