Sooner Intel, Pt. I: News and nuggets

Get caught up on the week that was for OU on the recruiting trail.

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 enter race for Virgil

Ever since things fell apart with Mississippi State, things have gone 100 m.p.h. for West Mesquite (Texas) High quarterback Chason Virgil.

Expected to be a mid-year enrollee, it has been a chaotic month for the high three-star dual-threat quarterback. After the Bulldogs coaching staff said he no longer had a committable offer, it was game on once again to land Virgil.

Virgil’s misfortune could turn into OU’s treasure. Not involved with Virgil too much the first time around, the Sooners are going all-in to try to land Virgil this time around.

It started with quarterbacks coach Josh Heupel making an in-home visit with Virgil the first day coaches were allowed to hit the road. From there, an official visit was set up for last weekend, which was followed by the offer.

Now it’s a waiting game. Virgil will visit Fresno State this weekend and then be ready to choose. OU, SMU, Fresno State and Louisville look like the four finalists.

Virgil, through it all, has stayed pretty quiet but did talk about his trip to OU last weekend.

“It was a great visit,” Virgil said. “It was great to get out there and see everything. See all the facilities and talk to the coaches. This has been a real tough process to deal with.”

Virgil said OU was never in the picture initially, and he has really never paid attention to the Sooners until these last few weeks.

What is helping the Sooners, though, is that unique language only a quarterback can understand with Virgil and Heupel.

“It’s a great relationship right now,” Virgil said. “The conversations we’re having are so different because the quarterback language is so different compared to everything else.”

Virgil’s host was another quarterback who would know a thing or two about plans changing in Baker Mayfield. The two were able to bond through a lot more than just that.

“He talked to me about a lot of stuff and told me things I really wanted and needed to hear,” Virgil said. “He talked to me about Coach Heupel and how serious he is about what he does. “

The plan was for Virgil to take the visit and earn the offer, provided everything went right. The offer wasn’t a surprise in that regard, but Virgil does understand that getting a quarterback offer from OU does put you in select company.

“To get an offer from OU definitely means a lot,” Virgil said.

Virgil is OU’s fourth offer at the position for the class and is no doubt the most realistic option remaining on the board.

It’s true the game didn’t turn out the way OU was hoping for as the Sooners were upset in the Bedlam showdown. But Virgil said that can’t have an impact on anything because it doesn’t really make sense if it does.

“This visit was about going down there and seeing the coaches as people,” Virgil said. “I’ve lost several times in high school. If that plays a factor in my recruitment, then nobody should be recruiting me. You’re not going to win every game.”

It felt like Virgil was falling into OU’s lap, but don’t you dare count out the Mustangs. Virgil had a tremendous relationship with Chad Morris when he was the offensive coordinator at Clemson. Now that he’s the head coach at SMU, it’s almost as if it was destiny.

Virgil might have bitter feelings toward Mississippi State, but he sure as heck isn’t expressing anything. Instead, all he’s looking to do is move forward and make his decision next week.

“I’ve learned a lot,” Virgil said. “I’ve grown as a person. It has made me a better person. I’ve had to understand the business side of things a lot more. But God has a plan and everything happens for a reason.”

Bundage enjoys first taste of OU

So far the in-state class for 2016 doesn’t look like it’s going to be too top heavy like the last couple. OU did recently offer the first prospect with Edmond (Okla.) Santa Fe safety Calvin Bundage.

Bundage, about as hard-hitting a safety that has come from the state in years, was offered by OU and Oklahoma State in back-to-back days last month and made his first trip to Norman last weekend.

“I had a lot of fun down there,” Bundage said. “Everything was real nice. I really like the coaches and getting to know them better.”

OU asked Bundage to arrive early, and he was there two hours before the game, which gave him the opportunity to start building the bond with Mike Stoops and the other OU coaches.

It was Bundage’s first OU home game, and it’s something he is definitely going to remember even if it was in a losing effort.

“It was real crunk down there,” Bundage said. “You can tell everyone there, all those fans love their Sooners. They want them to win so badly.”

Bundage said he enjoyed watching the game, was trying to visualize where he might fit in best in their respective defense.

Recently offered by Iowa State, Bundage said TCU and Arizona are both showing interest. His older brother, Cayman Bundage, is an offensive lineman for the Wildcats.

He said he enjoyed the visit and loved hanging out with Josh Wariboko and OU sophomore linebacker Jordan Evans.

“All he said was to just keep doing what I’m doing,” Bundage said. “Just do what got me the offer in the first place and keep working. It’s great. I love the school. It definitely opened my eyes.”

Banquet weekend

Once upon a time the biggest weekend of OU’s recruiting calendar was banquet weekend. But for the second year in a row, it’s a light week for visitors.

The only one confirmed is Miami (Okla.) Northeastern Oklahoma A&M cornerback Justin Martin. The four-star prospect is sought after by several Big 12 and SEC schools.

OU isn’t home territory for Martin, but he admits he is pumped about making his first official visit and having it at OU.

Martin, originally from Tennessee, will have four years to play three years of eligibility and was among OU’s rash of cornerback offers in early November.

It originally looked like Martin was heading to Texas this weekend, but he confirmed Thursday night he’s heading to Norman and only Norman.

The only other prospect rumored to be visiting was cornerback Dechaun Holiday. The Sooners have had interest in Holiday for a long time but haven’t been able to get him to campus. That will change this weekend as Holiday tweeted late Thursday night he’s heading to Norman.


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