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.
Sunderland adjusting to being a commitment
Second thoughts certainly haven’t come to the mind of Midwest City (Okla.) High safety Will Sunderland regarding his OU commitment.
But life has been a little bit different since pledging to the Sooners on his official visit nearly two months ago.
“It does feel a little different,” Sunderland said. “People have been talking about me more. Friends that have been OU fans for a long time have been congratulating me. Everywhere I go, people want to take pictures of me.”
That was on full display two weeks ago as Sunderland returned to Norman to see the Sooners and Kansas State. Sunderland said fans were calling his name constantly and showing him love and support.
He’s already committed, and he’s already seen the campus more times than any other prospect in the last two seasons. But for Sunderland, it’s imperative for him to keep coming back to OU for the rest of the season to talk to the other recruits.
“They know I’m committed, and I was in their shoes at one time,” Sunderland said. “It gives me a chance to tell them why I think OU is a great place to be and why they should join me at Oklahoma.”
Circled for Sunderland are a couple of very familiar names as Sunderland said his goal is to get Wariboko and Lawton (Okla.) High offensive lineman Jalin Barnett to be Sooners with him. If it happens, it would give OU a sweep of the top four prospects in the state for the class.
As for this season, Sunderland said he’s not really worried about OU’s two-loss month in October.
“You’re going to win some and lose some,” Sunderland said. “I know OU is better than Kansas State, but it happens. You just have to keep your head in the game.”
Sooners Illustrated will see Sunderland for a third time this season Friday when Midwest City takes on Barnett and Lawton in the No. 1 game in the state.
McKee still loving the Sooners
It’s always easy for a recruit to talk highly of a school it just visited. If the commitment hasn’t happened, hearing what he has to say a few weeks later can be more telling.
For Columbus (Ohio) Marion-Franklin four-star linebacker Anthony McKee and OU, that means good things for the Sooners.
McKee visited OU during that mega recruiting weekend for the Tennessee game and said he might have committed to OU had his parents been with him on the trip.
Nearly two months removed from the visit, and things are still as rosy for McKee about OU as it was Sept. 14.
“I loved it,” McKee said. “I’m planning on trying to get back to OU for another game, but I’m not sure yet.”
McKee said if he does return, it will definitely be with his parents. His relationship with linebackers coach Tim Kish continues to be solid and McKee said they communicate at least once a week and sometimes at least twice a week.
It felt like an OU and Michigan State race in September, and it still feels like it’s down to the Sooners and Spartans heading into November.
“I talk to Michigan State about once a week,” McKee said. “I like their coaches a lot. I’m going to take my official for the Michigan State-Ohio State game (Nov. 8).”
Kentucky is also a major player for McKee, but it will be interesting to see how McKee is feeling following another trip to see the Spartans.
OU was McKee’s first visit in a while, and sort of surprisingly so, McKee hasn’t made one visit since his initial trek to Norman. It’s clear OU has made a solid impression with McKee, but no telling if it will be enough.
“I’ve been watching OU when I can,” McKee said. “I like Eric Striker a lot. I could definitely see myself being like him. He’s so explosive and knows how to hit.”
OU going CB crazy
This time around it’s at cornerback. The Sooners went nuts on the trail at the position with three offers to 2015 prospects since Wednesday afternoon.
All three are three-star prospects and two are committed to other schools. It began with Miami (Okla.) Northeastern Oklahoma A&M cornerback Justin Martin.
Don’t the “Okla.” fool you, though, as Martin has little ties to the state outside of playing there for junior college. Martin feels like an SEC guy with Tennessee and Georgia both looking like favorites to land the two-for-two prospect.
Thursday saw a couple of offers to committed prospects, starting with Waldorf (Md.) Stone’s Juwuan Briscoe. Committed to Tennessee since May, this is the first time Sooners Illustrated has heard of Briscoe with anything to do with OU.
The other one, however, was a familiar name as Manvel (Texas) High’s William Lockett tweeted his offer later the same day.
Lockett committed to UCLA in August and there hasn’t been a reason to suggest he is looking around. But he is familiar with the Sooners. Lockett was at OU’s first junior day.
The story of both of OU’s junior days were not a lot of prospects, but the ones there were legitimate offer contenders. It might have happened months too late for the Sooners regarding Lockett, but the offer has come.
So why the offers? Could be a couple of reasons. Could be another case of attrition starting to happen. OU has a few cornerbacks where it wouldn’t be surprising to hear if things have gone south.
OU has some targets out there like Ykili Ross (visiting next weekend) and Dechaun Holiday, but it’s tough to gauge just how legit that interest is. The Sooners need a second cornerback in the class to join P.J. Mbanasor.
The other issue could just simply be OU doesn’t feel like the talent is there at cornerback right now. Julian Wilson will be gone after this season, and Zack Sanchez will have the opportunity to do so. Seems pretty nuts to suggest Sanchez leaving, but technically he can.
It looked like we’d be talking about the second cornerback race all this season, but we might just be a year off. Jordan Thomas has seen some time this season, especially earlier in the year, but it should be wide open for that spot in 2015.