Sooner Intel, Pt. II: News and nuggets

Busy week for OU - making offers and welcoming junior college signees.

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 a huge addition for OU

OU added three junior college signees Wednesday, topped by Blinn (Texas) CC four-star wide receiver Dede Westbrook.

Westbrook, ranked No. 22 in the juco Scout 100, committed to OU in late November and there was no drama about getting his signature.

“He’s a really dynamic playmaker,” wide receivers coach Jay Norvell said. “He reminds me a lot of Jalen Saunders, but he’s bigger. He’s super competitive. We’re really excited about him.”

Westbrook said signing with OU is a huge milestone for him, and he is ready to get to work when he gets to campus in January. OU needs game-changers and should get in Westbrook, who will only have two years of eligibility left when he arrives in Norman next month.

But with somebody as talented as Westbrook, Norvell said he’s not really concerned about that timetable.

“He has great hands and is sneaky fast, streaky fast,” Norvell said. He’s somebody that can play in the slot or outside. He’s a good route runner. He’s a great addition.”

About a few hours after signing, Westbrook received a call from Pittsburgh as the Panthers hoped to offer. Of course, that’s all moot now that OU has him signed.

Westbrook, from Cameron (Texas) Yoe, actually returned to the school for his signing and said it was great to do in front of his family and friends.

After committing to OU, he returned to Norman for Bedlam and said he could already notice the difference in his life.

“It felt great,” Westbrook said. “Everybody was real welcoming. You look at what Coach Norvell has done with wide receivers and the guys he has put in the NFL and the legendary coach that is Coach Stoops, this is the place to be.”

Westbrook said the in-home visits with the OU staff only made him more sure that he has definitely made the right choice.

Danley makes it official with Sooners

Don’t always get honesty when it comes to recruiting, but OU offensive line coach Bill Bedenbaugh didn’t pull any punches regarding the addition of junior college offensive lineman Jamal Danley.

Danley, ranked No. 49 in the juco Scout 100, committed to OU in September, but there was always speculation about him looking around.

“I always had confidence he was coming here,” Bedenbaugh said. “I trusted him from the time he committed. I wasn’t really truly concerned. Did he talk about making other visits? Yea, he did, but he ended up not doing it.

“Do you always worry? Yea, that’s the way it is. That’s recruiting. If you’re recruiting the right players, you’re going to have those concerns.”

Bedenbaugh said it was easy to want a guy like Danley. At East Mississippi, Danley helped lead it to a 24-0 record and back-to-back national championships.

He knew how tough it was going to be to come into Mississippi, SEC territory, and try to lure away a top juco prospect.

“It is hard,” Bedenbaugh said. “Kids that grow up in that region are generally SEC kids. The thing I liked early on in his recruitment is he has those types of guys recruiting him, and he understands. He understands the tradition at OU, the guys produced here on the offensive line.”

Bedenbaugh said Danley is a guy who can play both guard and tackle. He said Danley has practiced at center but doesn’t have film at the position. He’s going to start Danley at guard and take it from there.

That’s good news for Danley, who wasn’t shy in saying he prefers to be at guard instead of offensive tackle.

“I like guard a lot,” Danley said. “I’m around 295 pounds right now. I lost a little weight. But when next season comes around, I want to be around 330.”

Danley said even if he would have taken the other visits, there was never a time when he wasn’t 100 percent solid with OU. His only regret was not getting Martinas Rankin to join him in Norman.

Rankin, ranked No. 9 in the Scout 100, picked Mississippi State instead of OU on Wednesday. Danley did all he could to recruit Rankin to be a Sooner.

“He wanted to stay close to home and play, and I can understand that,” Danley said. “OU is where I need to be, will help me get to where I want to be.”

OU enters these final weeks with five offensive linemen committed. Bedenbaugh said he won’t turn away any late juco tackles, but it’s definitely not a priority going forward.

“I feel good about our guys,” Bedenbaugh said. “Will we turn down any talented guys? No, we won’t turn down great players if we think they can help.”

Week in review

The first 48 hours after the dead period usually start to tell a bit of a story of what’s going on with the program. The Sooners certainly made some noise with four reported offers.

One of them was with three-star junior college wide receiver Dominique Reed. The timing seems a bit odd for Reed because he’s not really what OU has been recruiting, but he told Scout’s Derek Young he intends to visit OU next month.

And what looks like might be the first signs of OU trying to find some backup options at linebacker or safety, OU offered Steliacoom (Wash.) linebacker Fotu Leitao.

Leitao is a late bloomer, for sure, but it does look like OU is preparing to go down its board now to try to find the players it believes will fit best. A recent UCLA offer might placate OU fans a little more, but there’s also no guarantee Leitao wants to head to Norman just yet.

A notable offer was to Nebraska commitment DaiShon Neal. Interesting for any offer among the defensive line because that is one position where the Sooners are not hurting for the 2015 class.

Neal, who is 6-foot-8, is a three-star defensive end. He’s from Omaha, but it’s clear he’s looking around right now. Oregon and OU are both in the hunt.

OU also is making a charge at Baylor commitment Jameson Houston. A three-star safety, it’s completely unclear right now if OU can make any sort of imprint with Houston.


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