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.
Neal ready to see OU
With all of the recent success OU has had on the recruiting trail at defensive end, it wouldn’t have been surprising for either side to decide to go their separate ways.
But in talking to Omaha (Neb.) Central defensive end DaiShon Neal, it’s clear he hasn’t thrown in the towel with the Sooners and OU hasn’t done so, either.
Neal was offered last month after a very brief time of getting to know Montgomery. OU hadn’t shown much interest at all until this last month. At that time, OU had two defensive end commitments in Kenneth Mann and Tyrell Jacobs.
“I’ve always been interested in OU, and my dad likes their tradition,” Neal said. “Nothing has changed. I’m just waiting to get onto the campus and see what the facilities are like and what the players and coaches are like.”
OU isn’t the only school vying for Neal’s signature as he’s going to have a busy final three weeks before he makes his signing day decision. Already scheduled are trips to Nebraska next weekend and Oregon the final weekend. But he also said he wants to fit in an Iowa visit, too.
An Omaha kid leaving Nebraska would certainly make a lot of noise, but Neal isn’t your typical Nebraska kid. He was born in Cleveland and spent most of his childhood in Houston before coming to Omaha. He does admit there is a lot of hometown pressure to stick with the Huskers.
Neal watched OU’s performance in the Russell Athletic Bowl. He downplayed the effect of the 40-6 loss to Clemson and said he was looking at the defensive line only.
“I like how physical and how big the line is,” Neal said. “I know they fell short, but that’s going to happen from time to time.”
As has been the case with a lot of kids recently on the trail, it’s Montgomery doing the heavy lifting for OU with Neal. And especially with Neal’s father.
“We have a really good relationship, and my dad likes him a lot,” Neal said. “He said something my dad really liked – that he can help make my dreams come true. I can’t wait to meet him this weekend and see if it’s the right place for me.”
Neal had to re-evaluate things after Bo Pelini was fired from Nebraska. He’s still committed to the Huskers, but there’s no doubt each school has a chance to win him over before Feb. 4 rolls around.
Neal said his biggest strength is that to go with his height, he also brings a lot of speed to the equation. He has been that tall defensive end for as long as he can remember so he knows how to play tall.
Neal is flying down Friday, while his mother and stepfather are driving down to be with him on the visit. No matter how good things possibly get, he’s waiting until signing day.
“I have to give every school a fair chance and then go from there,” Neal said.
OKPreps come out for Quick Twitch
Clay Mack, found of Quick Twitch training, is doing his best to make the Oklahoma City area a permanent stop every weekend.
Based in Dallas, Mack started bringing Quick Twitch to the area a little less than two years ago. Though trains all sorts of football players, his strength and specialty is without question the defensive backs.
Some of the best ones he has trained recently include LSU’s Jamal Adams, OU’s Marcus Green and Steven Parker and Edmond Santa Fe’s Ashton Preston, committed to North Texas. Mack has also been training OU cornerback target Antoine Stephens.
Last week in Edmond was a chance to look at the future as a lot of top talent for Oklahoma came out in the 2016-2017 classes.
2016 Del City QB Terry Wilson: Continues to receive looks from a lot of Big 12 schools like OU, Texas Tech, TCU and Kansas State. Visited KSU during the season and made multiple trips to OU as well. Actually hasn’t spent a lot of time with OU coaches, though, because he would be getting to Norman too late. Said Josh Heupel leaving is not an issue as Cale Gundy has been his most consistent contact with the program.
2016 Southmoore DL Noah Jones: Made the leap this year from being a fringe recruit to being among the state’s best. In a wide open field, he could make an even bigger leap going forward. He’s at least 6-foot-4 right now and defensive end seems to be his calling card. He said he is hearing a lot from OU, Oklahoma State and Oregon with the Cowboys showing the most consistent interest.
2017 Tulsa Union CB Tre Brown: This is a name to get familiar with now. Brought him up to you originally in August and following a great sophomore season, seriously, remember it now. Said no schools are showing a huge amount of interest yet but that has to change because he’s too dang good for it to stay that way.
2015 Midwest City DL DeMikal Harrison: Interesting spot for Harrison right now. Has some lower level offers but also expects to hear from schools like Louisville and Texas Tech during these final three weeks. His OU situation is simple. Sooners will gladly take Harrison as a preferred walk-on for next season. Harrison said his family could afford at least one year of being a preferred walk-on, but after that, it would be tough so he has a lot of thinking to do. Teammates with Will Sunderland.
Never going to tout a 2019 kid too much but be on the radar for Mustang QB Justin Wardlaw. Crazy how tall and big he is right now. Most of us thought he was a high school sophomore or junior before we found out toward the end of the session he is an eighth-grader.
Big visits across the country
This obviously isn’t just a big visit weekend for OU but for schools across the country. The first weekend after the dead period is starting to get that reputation, even more than that final weekend before signing day visit.
Here are some big ones to be watching this weekend. OU dodged a bullet with Gabriel Campbell deciding to no longer take any visits after initially saying last week he was going to visit both Ole Miss and Mississippi State.
If you still think he’s a legit prospect, outside linebacker Anthony McKee is going to visit Michigan State this weekend. Always looked like it was down to OU and the Spartans, but other schools have certainly entered the picture. He’ll visit Wisconsin next weekend as well.
Top middle linebacker target Arthur McGinnis is heading to Arizona. McGinnis has scheduled an OU visit for Jan. 30 weekend, but Texas A&M is also in the hunt. He was originally supposed to be at OU for Bedlam but had a high school playoff conflict.
Arizona State is the spot for a couple of big targets as cornerback Kareem Orr and juco wide receiver Dominique Reed will both be in Tempe. Orr has already visited OU, while Reed is expected to see Norman the final weekend before signing day.
Houston Cypress Falls safety Nate Dalton recently named his top six with OU easily making the cut. He is going to visit Arkansas this weekend, another one of his finalists. After this visit, he could be ready to make his decision after already visiting OU and Kentucky.
Big January coming up for safety Justin Reid. With only the OU visit in the books, it’s one after another with his top four. This weekend it’s Stanford and most believe the Cardinal are the biggest threat and favorite to land Reid between OU, Notre Dame, LSU and Stanford.
And we’ll see where things stand with LB/S Fotu Leiato after a trip to Washington State. A trip to OU could be in the cards for Jan. 23, but his Jan. 30 visit date is locked in with UCLA. Expect the Sooners, Oregon or Spartans to get that Jan. 23 slot.
Lincoln Riley sort of let the cat out of the bag that OU is thinking about pursuing Dallas Bishop Dunne wide receiver Adrian Miller. Committed to Illinois since July, OU better act fast one way or the other. He has visits planned to California next week and the Illini the following weekend. No offer as of today from OU.