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.
Westbrook will wait, visit OU later
This visit weekend is seemingly changing by the day, tends to happen this time of year. Brenham (Texas) Blinn CC wide receiver Dede Westbrook was supposed to be on his official visit this weekend, but it has been changed.
Westbrook said the OU coaches talked to him last week about changing it from this weekend to two weeks when OU plays Kansas.
That’s not strange, happens a lot. But the reasoning is a little peculiar because Westbrook said it was a night game so he was asked to stay home.
The assumption always was that OU-Baylor would be a primetime showdown, but it’s at 11 a.m. CST so not sure if wires got crossed or what.
Either way, OU coach Bob Stoops made sure Westbrook knows there isn’t a lack of interest with the Sooners. Westbrook talked with Stoops on Monday night.
“It was for a few minutes, maybe like 10 minutes,” Westbrook said. “He was just checking in to see how things were. He said if you had me on one side and Sterling Shepard on the other, we would dominate.”
The change in plans is going to make for one heck of a 10-day stretch for Westbrook, who intends to be a mid-year enrollee.
He is going to take an official to West Virginia on Nov. 19 and stay in Morgantown for the Mountaineers battle against Kansas State on a Thursday. He is going straight from that trip to OU for the Sooners and Kansas on the weekend.
Then the following weekend he is taking an official visit to Manhattan to see Kansas State battle the Jayhawks.
“I feel like if I went to OU, we would win a national championship,” Westbrook said.
This will be a pure business decision. Westbrook has three children, a son and two daughters. He’ll be leaving the Texas area for the first time in order to do what’s best for his future and their future.
“I plan on being there for one year and then doing what I have to do,” Westbrook said.
He said he has told college coaches his intentions of just being on campus for one season. He has two years of eligibility left.
Staying relevant in recruiting
This season has seen OU step up its game in the recruiting world. Most notably the Sooners made some national news with having commits featured as the cover of Wheaties cereal boxes.
Compared to what some other schools have done, it’s a little tame, but it is a lot better than what the Sooners had been doing in the past.
“Just different ways to catch a guy’s attention,” Stoops said. “We’ve got guys in the office that are thinking of that kind of stuff. That’s what Jeeb (Rajeeb Hossein) and Drew (Hill) and those guys are working on.”
Stoops is pretty hands off when it comes to the materials and design of the recruiting elements, saying all he really wants to make sure is that it’s OK with compliance.
There have been times in the past where Stoops has had to step in and veto some ideas although he wouldn’t elaborate on which ones.
“I’m not going to say,” Stoops said. “You know me, certain things, whether I don’t think it’s the right taste or might be a little, I don’t know, like I said, they make sure it’s alright in the way I look at it.”
A lot of that has been with the addition of Hill. OU’s former director of player personnel, Reed Case, left the program during the summer to head to Texas. Enter Hill, coming to OU from Colorado State. Stoops said he feels Hill has done a great job during his first season in Norman.
“Excellent job organizing our guys recruiting and recruiting weekends,” Stoops said. “We had a gigantic recruiting with Tennessee – 14 recruits and probably 30 other people. Coordinating all of that and getting them where they need to be and directing the staff in recruiting with everything they’re doing. He’s doing a great job.”
Stoops obviously couldn’t name names at this point in time, but he was asked about commitments taking other visits. Juco offensive lineman commit Jamal Danley has said repeatedly he is going to visit other schools before he signs with OU.
Danley has said OU has given him the OK, and Stoops tried to elaborate on that.
“That’s what you’d like,” said Stoops about someone staying committed. “We’re not going to tell him he can’t be committed to us. If he’s still committed to us, we’re going to allow him to be. But as far as how we continue to recruit, we’ll continue to recruit.”
In other words, OU will continue looking for offensive linemen and has been doing that ever since it became clear Danley wanted to look around. For his part, Danley has been tweeting nothing but positive OU thoughts, including one last weekend where he said he’d love to play with fellow OU target Martinas Rankin.
East Lansing is the spot to watch
With a number of top games across the country, you’d figure there would be a lot of visits to watch with OU top targets.
Not really, just keep your eyes glued to Michigan State and Ohio State. The Spartans are hosting two of OU’s top linebacker targets in Mechanicsburg (Va.) Atlee’s Ricky DeBerry and Columbus (Ohio) Marion-Franklin’s Anthony McKee.
Both DeBerry and McKee visited OU for Tennessee weekend and both still seem like realistic targets for the Sooners at this point, especially McKee.
McKee is in a weird spot. Last week he was a guest of Ohio State although he didn’t get an offer from the Buckeyes. This week he’s against OSU, making the trip to see the Spartans.
McKee announced last Sunday he will commit Dec. 21, with the favorites being OU or Michigan State. He also said he wants to visit each school at least one more time. Picking that decision date might have been McKee’s way of saying Ohio State isn’t going to offer so time to move on.
McKee is doing just that with visiting MSU this weekend, but it’s not clear when he’ll be able to see Norman again, especially with high school playoffs starting to heat up.
As is, it still feels like OU has a slight edge but that could change in a hurry if Michigan State is able to make a huge impression this weekend. It felt like the Spartans had that edge in the summer and a lot of people were a little surprised when he didn’t commit in the summer.
It’s clear OU’s need for linebackers so it’s not about that with McKee, who said he views himself as the next Eric Striker for the Sooners.