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.
Bundage shocked by offer
There were a lot of names being thrown out there for who would be the first in-state offer for the 2016 class. Not sure Edmond Santa Fe safety Calvin Bundage was at the top of the list, but he earned the honor Wednesday morning.
The biggest surprise about the offer is Bundage had literally no contact at all with the OU coaching staff before Wednesday. Zero interaction.
“It was really a shock,” Bundage said. “It came to me as a huge surprise. I haven’t talked to the OU coaches in person yet, but I plan on being at Bedlam.”
Bundage, who is 6-foot-3 and 200 pounds, is one of the nastiest hitters around so it’s not shocking schools are starting to seek him out. His older brother, Cayman Bundage, was a star at Oklahoma City Douglass and has been a starter at Arizona at offensive guard for the last two seasons.
No chance of Bundage making it to OU this week as he already said he would head down to Arkansas to see the Razorbacks. However, the Sooners got his attention in a major way with a Twitter direct message telling him to call OU coach Bob Stoops.
“I called him, and he said I’m one of the best defensive players in the nation he has seen in a long time and wanted to offer me,” Bundage said.
Bundage thought it was just going to be a little introductory speech to start building the relationship, but he obviously wasn’t disappointed about getting the offer.
Being an Oklahoma kid, the dream for a lot of players is to be a Sooner, but Bundage said the thought of committing never once entered his mind. The process has just started, and it’s clear he wants to enjoy it, at least for a little bit.
Bundage said he is being offered as a safety, but said Stoops made it clear that if he grows into a linebacker, OU won’t be disappointed, either.
He was set to be a lineman like his older brother, but he slimmed down and that has made the difference. Bundage had 81 tackles and a sack this season and said the transition to safety went as well as he could have hoped.
“Because I was a former lineman, the hitting part was natural,” Bundage said. “I love to hit people. I’ve just been working on my covering people.”
Bundage has been working with QuickTwitch, the training service that has been a part of the success for defensive back Ashton Preston (North Texas), wide receiver Denver Johnson (Iowa State) and Dahu Green (Louisville), among several others.
Bundage visited his older brother once this season and introduced himself to the Arizona coaches but nothing was talked about in terms of recruiting. He said TCU is also showing strong initial interest.
Targets hitting the road
In terms of top visitors, this isn’t a huge weekend for OU. The Sooners are bringing some guys who might contribute but not the household recruiting names people know.
But there are a lot of top targets who are going to be visible this weekend. Let’s start at UCLA as a couple of top recruits should be on hand.
UCLA cornerback commit William Lockett (Manvel, Texas) will make his official visit this weekend. He made an unofficial visit during the summer so he is familiar with the program.
Lockett made his official visit to OU two weeks ago. It’s possible the Sooners would have been in the driver’s seat with a strong performance but that didn’t happen.
Lockett said he needed to take this UCLA visit and then reevaluate things with his mother and sister and make his decision. A quality visit this weekend would close the door with the Sooners, it would appear.
UCLA is also the destination for Oklahoma City Casady offensive lineman Josh Wariboko. He has also made an unofficial to UCLA in the past but is coming back for an official visit.
Don’t be surprised if Wariboko adds an official visit to OU for Bedlam. He has already gone to Ohio State, and it’s sort of up in the air about the other schools he could visit. His plan is still to announce at the Under Armour All-America Game in early January.
Five-star linebacker Keisean Lucier-South is also making another trip to UCLA and could be ready to commit after this weekend. He told Scout’s Greg Biggins he is done with the rest of his official visits.
Been a down couple of weeks for Auburn, but Neville Gallimore is headed to see the Tigers this weekend. OU is no doubt among his favorites and this will mark visit No. 3 for Gallimore. OU and Florida State have already taken their shot.
OU is fresh off making the top five for Indianapolis Lawrence Central linebacker Darrin Kirkland. He will make his third visit this month, heading to Tennessee. OU and Ole Miss have already made their case, while USC and Texas remain for the high four-star middle linebacker.
And lastly junior college offensive lineman Martinas Rankin is getting closer and closer to his decision, which should get some clarity after his trip to Mississippi State this weekend. He visited OU in September, and it seems clear it’s down to OU, Ole Miss and the Bulldogs for Rankin.
Get to know Mr. Johnson
Every now and then even recruiting gurus can come across a name and say who? That is the case when OU hosts Rochester (N.Y.) Monroe CC cornerback Will Johnson.
Not on OU’s radar before this week, he could leave Norman as a commit to the Sooners. He’ll have to pass the eye test.
“He said the only way I wouldn’t have an offer is if I wasn’t taller than 5-foot-9,” Johnson said. “I know I’m taller than that (laughing).”
The school’s profile lists Johnson at 6-1 and 175 pounds.
Johnson is a juco kid, but he will have a little longer than most juco recruits. Johnson will have three years for three years of eligibility. Originally from Calvert (Md.), grades kept all schools from looking at Johnson out of high school.
He doesn’t place blame anywhere but himself, saying he had a 1.9 GPA and nobody could take a chance on someone like him.
He went to a prep school to get better and was really hoping to end up at juco on the west coast because of the history those schools have or sending players to top Division I schools.
It never materialized, but Monroe offered him a shot. He had never heard of the school and decided to give it a chance.
His OU connection goes back to his childhood as he used to play basketball with junior defensive end Charles Tapper when the two were growing up in Baltimore. Now he might have the chance to play football with him in Norman as Mike Stoops has turned up the interest.
“I heard from Mike Stoops like two days ago (Monday),” Johnson said. “I sent him the tape, and he said he liked it a lot. He said I would have a chance to come in and compete right away.”
Johnson said he is hearing from Utah State, Fresno State and some MAC schools, but OU was the first school to get right to the point. Other schools are waiting around to make sure everything is good academically, while Johnson said OU is already sure things will work out.
Johnson said he’s not sure if he would commit on the spot, but it will help him that his mentor, Corey Robinson, is going on the trip with him. If that name sounds familiar, it was Robinson who helped convince Tapper to switch from basketball to football in high school.
Robinson had to do the same thing for Johnson. Because like Tapper, Johnson dreamed of being a huge basketball star.
Johnson said juco gave him a second chance. School still isn’t easy for him, not even close. But he spends more time studying to make sure he can get there and said he’s at a 2.7 GPA now.
That determination, he said, is why he feels he’ll make it at a Division I school.
“I battle every play,” Johnson said. “My technique is my biggest strength. I use a lot of technique when it comes to my game. I’m a lockdown guy. My defensive IQ is huge. I grew up a quarterback so I understand that part of the game more. I’m willing to do whatever it takes to succeed.”