Sooner Intel: OU news and nuggets

It's Thanksgiving weekend, but it's still a busy time on the trail for OU.

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.

Mbanasor solid with OU, at least for now

A lot of times in recruiting one single game isn’t going to change things. But a disturbing trend that keeps getting repeated might open some eyes.

OU is still in the driver’s seat with Pflugerville (Texas) Hendrickson cornerback P.J. Mbanasor but the final two games might mean a lot going forward.

Mbanasor, a four-star prospect who committed to OU in June, has seen the confusion and inconsistency with OU’s secondary play. It’s not a good look.

“I’m still with OU, the verbal commit stands,” Mbanasor said. “Things have been rocky in the secondary. There have been coverage busts and some schematic issues. It seemed like things started to turn around at Tech and definitely against KU.”

That type of honesty is refreshing, but it’s also a warning sign for OU that if it doesn’t get its stuff together, there are plenty of other schools still reaching out to Mbanasor on a daily basis.

With that in mind, Mbanasor did have a clear answer on when does OU contact him, “Every day,” he said. “Every single day.”

He took his official visit to Norman back when OU was 3-0 and ranked among the top five teams in the country. Since then, OU is 5-3 and at one point was 3-3. When those setbacks happened, opposing coaches were ready to strike.

“Oh yeah, too many to even name,” Mbanasor said. “I’ll say TCU has definitely been one of them. I’ve been respectful to all the coaches, and it has been surprising to see what coaches fell off (after he committed) and which ones have stayed on longer than I thought.”

Mbanasor was originally a TCU commit before decommitting from the Horned Frogs in March as it started to become clear OU was going to be his future home.

After his OU official visit, Mbanasor said he was done looking, that there would be no other visits. He hasn’t taken one since, but that door is slightly open now.

“I did rule it off early,” Mbanasor said. “Things are the still the same, but I can’t rule out anything. I just finished my season. I’m watching right now.”

And what a season it was for Mbanasor and Hendrickson, eliminated in the second round of the playoffs. He made some eye-popping highlight plays during the season, but Mbanasor said his favorite plays are the ones where he shows great technique and stuff like that.

Despite not having many balls thrown his direction, Mbanasor finished with nine turnovers this season. Interestingly enough, it was one interception and eight either forced or recovered fumbles.

“It was one heck of an experience,” Mbanasor said. “It was a season that let me fully realize that football is the path for me.”

One thing OU has that could help is having Samaje Perine on campus as the former teammates are good friends. Mbanasor reached out to Perine to congratulate him after his record-setting day Saturday. But Mbanasor has said repeatedly Perine’s success doesn’t mean anything for Mbanasor.

His situation is different. He trusts his abilities and wants that chance to compete. OU fans are just hoping he’ll get that chance in Norman and not someplace else.

Delance makes the call and then calls again

It was a great week for OU in regards to its 2015 class as the Sooners picked up a couple of junior college commitments in cornerback Will Johnson and wide receiver Dede Westbrook.

However, what might have been the biggest development was OU getting on the board for the 2016 class with North Mesquite (Texas) High offensive lineman Jean Delance.

Delance, who is 6-foot-5 and 275 pounds, is picking up one major offer after another. OU was offer No. 9 and turned out to be the one that mattered most.

“I couldn’t wait,” Delance said. “It was a great experience. Everything about it was great. The players, the coaches – they’re taking me under their wing.”

Delance arrived on OU’s radar earlier this season, and it was just a matter of time before the offer came along. OU has a strong history of wanting to offer a recruit in person when they visit and that was the case last week with Delance when he made his unofficial visit for the Kansas game.

Delance has built up a strong relationship with offensive line coach Bill Bedenbaugh and knew he was ready to be a Sooner.

“Coach B has had some great offensive tackles,” Delance said. “I know at OU I’m going to win a championship or at least compete for one every single year.”

The way Delance talked about OU in the last month it became very apparent the Sooners were going to be a tough school to beat. Delance explained that, saying he has always grown up an OU fan. The interesting thing is, though, he always thought he would be playing basketball instead of football.

It obviously didn’t hurt OU’s chances with Delance having him visit on a day where freshman running back Samaje Perine set the all-time NCAA FBS single game record for rushing yards in a game with 427 yards on 34 carries and five touchdowns.

“It was great,” Delance said. “He’s only a freshman so hopefully I can make it there in time to block for him. It definitely meant a lot to see the offensive line doing as great as they were.”

Following the visit, it was clear OU had made a huge impression on Delance and only Tuesday afternoon did we all learn just how big. He called OU coach Bob Stoops to try to commit, but he couldn’t get Stoops on the phone.

He then tried Bedenbaugh, and the celebration was on in Norman.

“He said I was like an early Christmas gift,” Delance said. “He’s going to push you to be the best you can be. He’s going to help you in the classroom and on the field. He doesn’t just care about making you a good player, he wants to make you a good student.

“Every conversation I have with him is about more than football. You can tell he really cares about his players.”

The offers won’t stop coming for Delance as witnessed by Miami (Fla.) entering the race Wednesday afternoon. Still have a long, long way until the Class of 2016 signing day, but it feels like OU is off to a great start with Delance’s pledge.

Wariboko, DeBerry top other visits

OU is going to sit on the sidelines this weekend, but this is a huge rivalry weekend across the nation. And with that is coming a lot of top recruits visiting other schools.

We’ll start at Louisville where the Cardinals are practically bringing the house in anticipation for the showdown against Kentucky.

Among the top visitors will be Oklahoma City Casady offensive lineman Josh Wariboko and West Mesquite (Texas) High quarterback Chason Virgil.

It’s all conjecture about whether or not OU will get involved with Virgil, but it’s clear Wariboko remains a huge target for the Sooners.

A one-time OU commit, it will be intriguing to see what impression Louisville makes on the older Wariboko. Fellow OKPreps prospects wide receiver Dahu Green and 2016 quarterback Keaton Torre are already committed to the Cardinals.

And if playing with his brother still matters, Louisville is one of the schools that has already offered Max Wariboko for the 2016 class.

From there, we’re going to Alabama as the Crimson Tide are bringing the who’s who in the recruiting class for the clash against Auburn.

The one name to circle is Mechanicsburg (Va.) Atlee five-star linebacker Ricky DeBerry. He has already made his official visit to OU and now the Tide will get their chance.

With OU still without a linebacker commit, the pursuit of DeBerry is another one that is crucial for the Sooners.

Lastly it’s the Egg Bowl with Ole Miss and Mississippi State and junior college offensive lineman Martinas Rankin. Most believe it’s down to those two schools and OU for Rankin.

After exchanging texts with Rankin earlier this week, it’s clear OU is still in the hunt, and he said he absolutely wants to make his decision Dec. 17, the first day of the mid-year enrollee signing period.

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