OU's defensive 'wish list'

One last 'wish list' look at what OU is searching for with its defensive recruiting.

Things are starting to work themselves out on the recruiting trail. It’s time to start looking more intently on Oklahoma’s “wish list” for the Class of 2015.

Here is an idea of where OU stands in January, the last list for this cycle. The number in parentheses indicates the number of recruits OU is looking to sign at the position for the Class of 2015. The names in no way reflect OU’s official board but are the best guesstimate of who OU is targeting.

Defense

DE (2-3)

Committed (3): Burleson (Texas) High’s Kenneth Mann. As his senior film gets out there more and more, it’s looking like Mann could be one heck of a three-star steal for the Sooners. Committed to OU since July, Mann has made multiple trips to OU since then and everything seems solid here six months later.

Ontario (Canada) St. Catharines’ Neville Gallimore. A huge recruiting win by Jerry Montgomery, who simply never let up with Gallimore. Most schools viewed the four-star prospect as a defensive tackle, but OU has been open to him playing defensive end. This was a major recruiting victory for the Sooners going against other high profile schools.

Yazoo City (Miss.) High’s Gabriel Campbell. Following a great official visit to his dream school last month, the countdown was on with Campbell and the Sooners. The clock struck zero earlier this week, and he’s another huge defensive addition for OU. It won’t be easy to keep him, but Campbell seems incredibly happy to be a Sooner.

Favorite: Omaha (Neb.) Central’s DaiShon Neal. Committed to Nebraska, but it feels like it’s just a matter of when things change. No guarantee it will be to the Sooners, however. Neal is very high on Oregon and plans to visit all three of these schools this month. Iowa is also very much in the hunt for this tall defensive end.

On the radar: None.

DT (2)

Committed (1): Jenks (Okla.) High’s Marquise Overton. A lifelong OU fan, it was just a matter of when OU was going to make the offer. Understanding there are limited amount of spots for OU at this position, Overton waited less than two months after the offer to go ahead and decide to commit. Everything has been pretty smooth ever since the pledge.

Favorite: Dallas Bishop Dunne’s Darrion Daniels. He finally broke his silence in August with a top 10. OU easily made that list and most believe it’s really only down to three schools with Texas Tech and Baylor joining that race. His father played for the Red Raiders so it will be a challenge for OU to lure him to Norman. He had a great official visit to campus in October.

Next in line: Cypress (Texas) Falls’ Du’Vonta Lampkin. A one-time OU commit now committed to Texas, but he took an official to OU last month. You just never know. It’s clear Lampkin likes some parts of OU, including Montgomery, but it’s not clear whether that will be enough to sway him from Austin.

On the radar: None. At least right now, it doesn’t look like there’s a new name to be watching.

LB (3-4)

Committed (1): Mechanicsburg (Va.) Atlee’s Ricky DeBerry. The biggest recruiting win of the cycle so far for the Sooners. An incredible job by Jerry Montgomery for OU to land the five-star prospect a week before Christmas. This could be one recruiting battle OU fans remember a few years from now.

Favorite: Murfreesboro (Tenn.) Oakland’s Josh Smith. Still committed to Vanderbilt, Smith is going to make his first trip to OU in a couple of weeks. The Sooners are closing hard and fast for Smith, who seems to be OU’s top priority at outside linebacker for the rest of the class. Smith has plenty of other options so it will be interesting to see it play out.

Next in line: New Orleans Charter’s Arthur McGinnis. In the spring it felt like OU was in play. In the summer it sort of went the other way. But now it’s clear the Sooners will be a player for McGinnis, who was set to have an official visit last month. OU is in his top five, and provided he can get to campus this month, the Sooners should be in even better position. Set to visit Jan. 30.

Columbus (Ohio) Marion-Franklin’s Anthony McKee. Thought this one would be over, but McKee was not ready to make the decision on his birthday as anticipated. OU hasn’t had as much communication with McKee here lately although it could be OU was just biding time until this month for a strong close. McKee said he still wants to return to OU this month, no idea if it will happen.

On the radar: Boutte (La.) Hahnville’s Dwaine Thomas. Committed to Louisiana Lafayette, Scout has Thomas ranked as a two-star safety, but OU views him as a linebacker. Once the Sooners get a crack at his senior film and see where they stand with other offers, it will become clear whether or not the Sooners want to get into the hunt or leave him be.

CB (2-3)

Committed (2): Pflugerville (Texas) Hendrickson’s P.J. Mbanasor. The Sooners recent defensive victories on the trail should be enough for OU to hang on with Mbanasor. OU realizes how important he is for the class and communicates with Mbanasor at least once a day. Additions of DeBerry, Haughton, Gallimore, have Mbanasor feeling a lot more confident than he was at this point last month.

Rochester (N.Y.) Monroe CC’s Will Johnson. Unknown with no offers one week and committed to OU the next. Simply just how fast things can work in the recruiting game. For most, it’s Sooners taking a chance at somebody not worthy, but OU certainly went out of its way to make he arrived and offered and had him commit. Johnson signed and will arrive next week.

Favorite: Chattanooga (Tenn.) Notre Dame’s Kareem Orr. Coming off a great official visit last month, it’s now a waiting game for OU. Orr is going to make multiple visits during this month, but OU has certainly positioned itself in a great spot heading into this final month. The Sooners made his final six late last month.

Cypress (Texas) Falls’ Nate Dalton. It’s still incredibly unclear what Dalton’s ceiling is at cornerback, but OU sure wants to find out. He had a great official visit to campus last month but is sticking to his plan of seeing other schools. It feels like OU will wait this one out with Dalton for as long as it is deemed necessary.

Next in line: Lawton (Okla.) High’s Darreyl Patterson. The question regarding Patterson had been an academic one for several months. With that issue now squared away, it’s clear OU wants in with Patterson. The Sooners offered last week and Patterson said he’s making the trip next weekend. Heck, he could leapfrog everybody and end up being the guy.

San Marcos (Calif.) Mission Hills’ Dechaun Holiday. He was supposed to visit OU last month but things fell apart at the last minute. It’s obviously never going to happen if Holiday doesn’t make it to Norman this month. We shall see.

Dallas Kimball’s Antoine Stephens. A fringe guy in the fall has become a real player for OU now. Stephens is 6-2 and moved to cornerback this season and registered seven interceptions. He will visit Norman later this month although he said he doesn’t know the exact date of his visit right now. Offered earlier this week.

On the radar: None.

Safety (2-3)

Committed: (2) Midwest City (Okla.) High safety Will Sunderland. Fifty-four weeks after being offered, Sunderland committed in September. Major boost for OU in getting a top in-state prospect and a Scout 300 prospect at the same time. Sunderland is going to end up being one of the biggest recruiters for OU in the class.

Waco (Texas) Midway’s Kahlil Haughton. Just one of several big-time defensive recruiting victories for the Sooners in the last month. Haughton made all five official visits before picking OU a few weeks ago. OU made Haughton priority No. 1 for a long time and the constant attention paid off with his pledge last month.

Favorite: Geismar (La.) Dutchtown’s Justin Reid. After getting the offer from LSU, it felt like he was a lock for the Tigers. But as more time has passed, don’t be shocked to see the Sooners still standing tall with Reid once again. OU has done everything right with Reid, and Reid and his family have certainly recognized that.

Next in line: None unless you count Dalton. The secondary seems set right now.

Names removed from last month: DL Tyrell Jacobs; DL Deonte Reynolds; DL Joseph Wicker; LB Cassius Peat; LB Anthony Wheeler; LB Darrin Kirkland; LB Michael Scott; CB Ykili Ross; CB Justin Martin; CB Juwuan Briscoe; S Ezekiel Turner; CB Colin Samuel; CB Will Lockett.


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