Sooner Intel, Pt. I: News and nuggets

Another big week on the trail, get caught up on what's happening with OU recruiting.

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.

Sooners making move for Lockett

OU didn’t host a lot of recruits at either junior day. But the one thing the coaches made clear to every single recruit was if you were invited, you were considered an offer possibility.

A few recruits received those offers at the event itself, while others were told OU would keep evaluating before making a decision.

Manvel (Texas) High cornerback Will Lockett was one of those told the latter. But when days turn into weeks turn into months, sometimes it can be tough to actually believe that some of that is true.

For Lockett and OU, it finally came together last week when he was one of three cornerbacks offered in a 24-hour period.

Lockett, a three-star prospect committed to UCLA since August, is going to take an official visit to Norman this weekend.

“We talked a lot during the spring, but then we didn’t talk as much during the summer,” Lockett said. “My coach was telling me OU was still interested. I guess once they saw my senior film and saw how much better I am, it was enough.”

Lockett and his mother visited OU for the first junior day in February. Obviously he would have loved the offer at that time, but the late offer hasn’t turned him off to OU completely.

He remembers spending most of that day with linebackers coach Tim Kish, who has been his primary recruiter during the process. He said Kish treated his family well, and he definitely knows Kish is a man of his word now.

“Coach Kish came down (earlier this season) and said they were looking at me,” Lockett said. “Coach really did come through with everything with the offer.”

There’s nothing to suggest Lockett and UCLA have had any falling out, and he intends to take an official visit to UCLA later on in the process. But this is the week for the Sooners to try to make the best possible impression.

“Everything has been clicking for me this season,” Lockett said. “The late offer doesn’t hurt their chances, I really want to see how it is. You know, an unofficial visit against an official are two totally different things.”

As has been the case for a lot of out of state visitors, it’s going to be a tiring weekend for Lockett. Manvel plays Friday, and then it will be off to Norman to make sure he’s there in time for the 11 a.m. CST kick Saturday.

“I don’t care. I’m excited because it’s going to be such a great game,” Lockett said.

Lockett has other offers, but he said right now it looks like it’s down to the Bruins and Sooners. He said TCU has shown some interest but not the consistent stuff he has seen from OU and UCLA.

Obviously Norman is a lot closer to Manvel than UCLA, but Lockett said so far his mother and his sister haven’t really stressed staying close to home. He said it could pop up later in the process, but right now, distance doesn’t control anything.

Both schools are looking at Lockett as a cornerback/nickelback.

Barnett, Wheeler worth watching

This weekend hasn’t quite turned out to be what it looked like it would when the schedule was announced, but the Sooners are still bringing a quality bunch to Norman. A short assessment of the top non-OU committed visitors.

Lawton (Okla.) High offensive lineman Jalin Barnett: The last big visit weekend, OU was able to land another Scout 300 in-state prospect with Midwest City safety Will Sunderland. The Sooners would gladly accept this weekend if Barnett is the lone commit. It’s obvious he is down to OU and Arkansas, having already made his trip to see the Razorbacks. One prevailing thought has been Barnett’s next OU trip would be the one where he commits. We’re going to find out this weekend.

Dallas Skyline middle linebacker Anthony Wheeler: A recruit of few words, Wheeler is making an unofficial to campus this weekend. Not quite a huge deal considering he has seen the campus on multiple occasions. He was there in Dallas for OU and Texas, and it still feels like it’s down to Sooners and Longhorns. Wheeler is the No. 1 realistic target for the Sooners at a spot where OU needs immediate help. A commitment would be a surprised, but a welcomed one.

Indianapolis Lawrence Central middle linebacker Darrin Kirkland: A commit to Michigan until Thursday evening when he officially decommitted. He visited Ole Miss last weekend and had a fantastic time. He had OU in his short list before committing to the Wolverines in May so it’s clear OU will play some role. A lot of these visitors are familiar with OU but not Kirkland. For that reason, a raucous atmosphere and an OU win might more crucial with him than any of the other visitors this weekend.

Aledo (Texas) High wide receiver Ryan Newsome: It’s going to be a battle for Newsome so OU needs to get back into it. He has visited Ole Miss, Tennessee and UCLA in the last month. A trip to Texas seems to be in the cards, too, but Newsome returns to Norman for the first time since March. No doubt he is priority No. 1 for OU at wide receiver, but will that be enough in the long run? OU can survive without Newsome, but life would be a lot easier if the four-star prospect signs with OU in three months.

Other OU official visitors include commits Kenneth Mann and Marquise Overton. And the already discussed situation with William Lockett.

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