Sooner Intel, Pt. I: News and nuggets

Sooners getting ready for a big visit weekend in the juco ranks.

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.

Humphrey locked in with Sooners

The season on the field hasn’t gone the way the Sooners wanted it, and it was the exact same way for League City (Texas) Clear Falls wide receiver John Humphrey.

Humphrey, a three-star OU commit, knew the season was going to be a rocky one when Clear Falls lost its quarterback in the first game of the season. Things never really picked up, and Humphrey finished with 28 catches for 502 yards and four touchdowns.

What Humphrey learned, though, is exactly what OU players are learning this year as well. A season like this is going to tell you more about who you are than a perfect season.

“It really taught me how to stay under control when you face adversity,” Humphrey said. “I had to be really focused on my leadership because I had to be one of those guys. It showed me how I needed to communicate with my teammates, especially the younger guys.”

Humphrey was down to OU and Notre Dame before picking the Sooners in August. He had a fantastic official visit in September back when it looked like the Sooners could be playing for a national championship.

Three conference losses have wiped that notion away, but it hasn’t done anything to sour Humphrey on heading to Norman.

“Boomer Sooner is all I can say,” Humphrey said. “I’m still with them the whole way. If they lose, I’m still with them. They’re great people. I love the way they play with their offense.

“I love the fan base. There’s no other place you should want to play for than OU.”

Humphrey said as OU started to struggle, some schools did reach out to see if he was interested in looking elsewhere. He simply ignored them and moved on.

The countdown is already on for Humphrey, who will be a mid-year enrollee. He’s got the days going and crossing them off one-by-one until he hits Norman. It became a little more real two weeks ago when he became the third OU commit to sign his financial agreement.

“It was great to do that,” Humphrey said. “It really sunk in with that about how this is a once in a lifetime moment. I loved it.”

Humphrey said he used to talk to wide receivers coach Jay Norvell or director of player personnel Drew Hill like once a week. Now that the coaches can reach out to him, Humphrey said they talk around three times a week.

Norvell talks about how Humphrey’s speed is desperately needed for OU going forward, while Hill is working more on the academic side and getting things squared away for what classes Humphrey should take to get started.

His parents kept him motivated throughout the tough senior season, but he’s ready to head to OU and team up with Sterling Shepard.

“He’s the one I’m watching,” Humphrey said. “If teams double team him, I’m going to go free. With my speed, look out. I just get so excited thinking about it.”

Hogan interest picking up

This time of year can be interesting. A lot of recruits cannot make visits because their team is still involved in state playoff competition. But once the season ends, it’s game on.

And it’s looks like OU is starting to get involved with Norman (Okla.) North running back Quan Hogan, expected to be one of the top prospects in the state for the 2016 class.

Hogan has been invited to OU’s last three home games as well as OU-Texas last month. Unfortunately, Hogan hasn’t had a lot of time with the coaches.

The Tennessee game was so late that he had to leave early. And OU’s last two home games have been losses so there hasn’t been a lot of quality time with the coaches.

Regardless, it’s still been good experiences for Hogan, who is the only in-state prospect in the initial Scout 300 for the class.

“Yeah, this has been pretty cool,” Hogan said. “I still need to take some more visits to other schools, but I like how things are going.”

It was a disappointing season for Norman North, who failed to make the playoffs. Hogan’s role changed considerably for the team. He became more of a bruising running back and learned how to become more of a receiver instead of a running back catching balls out of the backfield.

The production was actually down from his sophomore season, but a lot of that could be attributed to Norman North not having the same type of quality kids this time around.

He rushed for 774 yards on 137 attempts with 11 touchdowns and caught 33 passes for 675 yards and six more scores. He averaged more than five yards per carry and more than 20 per reception.

“It was really fun to learn something new (receiver),” Hogan said. “I had to mature a lot and learn to take the leadership more. It was different.”

Hogan said he’s still not seeing heavy recruiting interest across the board. A lot of initial letters from schools but nothing to suggest an offer can happen right now.

Hogan will return to Norman once again Saturday for OU’s home game against Kansas.

It’s a juco thing for OU

As of Friday morning, there are three official visitors for the Sooners this weekend. Interestingly enough, all three of them come from the junior college ranks.

There are definitely some grumblings about that since a couple of these targets have seemingly come from out of nowhere in the last week. Usually that could mean a commitment is coming.

Non-marquee home games late in the season usually don’t bring the who’s who in recruiting but also usually produce commitments.

It happened last year against Iowa State with Dwayne Orso and Isaac Ijalana. And it sure looks like it could happen this weekend with at least one of these three: wide receiver Dede Westbrook, safety Ezekiel Turner and cornerback Will Johnson.

The biggest one to be on the watch for is Johnson because he doesn’t have the offer yet. If he gets the offer on the visit, it’s a done deal. He will commit.

Turner’s interest is picking up considerably here down the stretch. And the most intriguing thing about both Turner and Johnson is they aren’t your usual juco kids.

This isn’t about a one-year or two-year thing with them. Turner will have four years for three years of eligibility. Johnson will be a 3-for-3 guy.

The crown jewel is Westbrook for this weekend. He can stretch the field as a receiver and would also make a huge difference in the punt return game.

Trips to Utah and Oklahoma State are in the books. He is coming straight to OU from his trip to West Virginia and should round out things with a trip to Kansas State next weekend.

Westbrook is more of your normal juco case. He is a 2-for-2 guy, but he said he’s looking for one huge season and going to the NFL to support his three kids.

So it’s not the names we’ve been talking about for months, but don’t be surprised if the lack of “Boom” ends this weekend.


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