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.
Campbell makes the call
It’s only fitting with Yazoo City (Miss.) High defensive end Gabriel Campbell. For months he talked about OU being his dream school. So what better way for him to know in his heart OU was the place for him than in a dream?
Campbell said he had a dream about committing to OU on Monday night and knew he was going to commit to the Sooners on Tuesday.
He finally did make that call to OU co-defensive coordinator Jerry Montgomery late in the evening to become the Sooners’ 19th pledge for the 2015 class.
“I spent all of Tuesday making calls to let people know about what I was doing,” Campbell said. “I didn’t want there to be any surprises. But I knew Monday night it was going to happen. I’m so glad it has. I’m loving it right now.”
Campbell, a high three-star defensive end, made his official visit to OU last month for Bedlam weekend. His commitment actually marks OU’s first pledge from any non-committed recruit that visited OU during its three home losses this season.
However, this one wasn’t tough to figure out. Campbell loved his first trip to Norman. He had talked about a trip to Kentucky before 2014 was done but said he didn’t need to make the trip.
It was clear that as much as OU had been his dream school, the reality of being a Sooner was even better than a dream.
“The coaches were amazing,” Campbell said. “It was like they had known me for three or four years already. They were real laid back. I had a great time with the players. It just felt like a family.”
Campbell called Montgomery about wanting to commit, but Montgomery actually didn’t accept it at first. Montgomery told Campbell to talk to his family and really think it over. And when he had done so, to call Montgomery back.
That call did happen, and Montgomery had no problem welcoming him to the OU family. Campbell also spoke with OU coaches Courtney Viney and Bob Stoops on Tuesday night.
“He (Montgomery) said he has butterflies just waiting around for me to call again,” Campbell said. “He was walking around in circles. They were really excited. I’m on top of the world right now.”
OU fans are pretty pumped, too, but the Sooners are going to have to withstand a charge from the two in-state powers. Campbell said he had already set up visits to Mississippi State next weekend and Ole Miss the following weekend.
He said he wants to be a man of his word and take those visits. But he also said OU fans have nothing to worry about.
“I’m committed to them for a reason,” Campbell said. “I feel like we’re going to be great. I’m really excited to get up there. I’ve made a really good decision here.”
Campbell said the best coaching relationship he has with anybody is Montgomery, just another example of why it was so smart of Stoops to promote Montgomery earlier this week.
Johnson living the dream
It’s almost here for Monroe (N.Y.) CC cornerback Will Johnson. Years of being overlooked or not even noticed about to all be worth it when he arrives in Norman this weekend.
The road has been long and featured some strange twists and turns, but he’s ready to see what’s up ahead for himself.
“I’m prepared to have a lot of butterflies,” Johnson said. “I’ve had them at every stage. Starting high school, starting juco, all of them. It’s natural.”
Johnson hasn’t been able to relax too much because he just wants 100 percent clarification that everything is good to go with his transcripts. He feels incredibly confident about it and made sure to take seven classes this semester just to leave no doubt.
Unlike some other juco recruits, there was no big ceremony for Johnson. He just walked into Monroe and faxed his letter of intent to OU. It’s time to go to work.
“It was a big relief to have it all done,” Johnson said. “It’s day one of a new journey. It’s about winning. Winning the workouts, winning the competition, showing them all what I got on the field.”
Johnson will join Charles Tapper as the only two Baltimore natives on the OU roster. The two were close before Johnson’s signing and have become even closer since then. Johnson said they ate dinner together earlier this week.
After OU took interest, other schools came calling. It didn’t matter. His mind was made up, and he was going to be loyal to OU no matter what.
“They showed interest and loyalty to me when basically nobody else was around,” Johnson said. “A&M called and showed interest, but I’m loyal to OU. I’m going to lead by example and show everybody why I belong.”
Johnson will have three years of eligibility remaining when he arrives. He’s not questioning the future of OU’s secondary nor the scheme. For him, it’s not about disrespecting the players or coaches already at OU, it’s about making his name and leaving his mark as a Sooner.
OU door finally opens for Patterson
OU has made a living in Lawton, Okla., for this recruiting cycle. Most of that was because of four-star offensive guard Jalin Barnett. But as things have cooled off with OU and Barnett, things are heating up for OU and cornerback Darreyl Patterson.
Cornerback seems a strange thing to say for somebody who barely played the position as a senior. In order to help the team, Patterson moved to running back this season and rushed for 2,071 yards and 20 touchdowns.
Safe to say, his athleticism and versatility have been noticed across the nation. But don’t think for a second he’s thinking about running back in college.
“It was pretty fun to be able to score a lot and have the ball in my hands,” Patterson said. “I want to be defense, though. Some schools have talked about maybe running back, and I’ve told them I want to play defense.”
Patterson came onto the scene in the spring when he was adding one top offer after another. OU defensive coordinator Mike Stoops showed a lot of interest, but everything sort of died down once Patterson didn’t make the trip to OU’s camp.
“After a while, I just thought it wasn’t going to come,” Patterson said. “I had a visit, I don’t remember when, and I didn’t go so OU thought I wasn’t interested. Everything changed last month.”
Not coincidentally, last month was when Patterson learned he had qualifying test scores and now was going to be good to go going forward.
He has already made a trip to Iowa State, but OU’s offer last week seems like a real game-changer for the three-star prospect.
“I was talking to Coach Stoops when he made the offer. It’s a big deal to get the offer from him because it shows they’re really interested.”
The plan is to announce his commitment after all the visits, but he didn’t rule out the possibility of just getting it over and done with once he knows.
“I’m not sure, really,” Patterson said. “Honestly, I don’t know. If something happens, it happens.”
Patterson said his main contact has been Boulware, and he enjoyed his trip to Norman for the spring game in April. He’s excited about getting the chance to know the players and coaches better this time around and see how things go from here.
“I really like OU a lot,” Patterson said. “It’s so close to my family, and they could see me play. I’d like that a lot.”
Calm before the storm
OU did this last year and sounds like it’s going to be the M.O. for the Sooners for this cycle. That first visit weekend after the dead period was when OU came after recruits hard for the 2014 class.
It’s going to be that way once again. Next weekend sounds like OU is bringing in just about a who’s who remaining in their target board and going to make a serious, serious run at finalizing the class.
As of today, Sooners Illustrated can confirm these visitors for OU next weekend.
*CB Antoine Stephens, offered earlier this week
*CB Darreyl Patterson, offered last week
*Juco WR Dominique Reed
*K Austin Seibert, committed to OU since May
*TE Dalton Wood, committed to OU since September
More could be coming. But getting Seibert and Wood is a nice touch because it always helps to have some commitments involved on those visits. And Seibert and Wood are OU’s only two commits who hadn’t taken an official visit yet.