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.
Williams one to watch
The running back spot for 2016 for OU is in limbo. A couple of four-star backs from Texas are hoping to make their way to OU this weekend, but there is no guarantee.
All of that coincides with fellow offer Abdul Adams tweeting earlier this week he is close to making a decision. From the time Adams was offered, it appeared OU was the school to beat, or at least OU’s priority was Adams.
Problem is there hasn’t been a visit yet from Adams, who has seen Maryland and Penn State in recent weeks. And it’s not crazy to say he’ll commit without taking a visit because of his background with Riley, there’s no reason to be confident, either, regarding his status.
If Williams does indeed make it, will be huge for the Sooners. OU has been talking to Williams for nearly two years now. Names change, but the interest hasn’t.
He said it was Cale Gundy that got things started when he was a sophomore, but now his primary contact has been Riley.
“They have been on my radar for a long time,” Williams said. “I’ve been talking with Coach Riley, and he has said how much he likes what I can do and how I would be a big asset for them.”
He does have an OU connection as Williams said his cousin is former OU defensive end Alonzo Dotson, but the Sooners do have work to do as well.
“I want to take my visits and don’t want to rush anything,” Williams said. “I really want to visit some out of state schools like Arizona State, but I don’t know when that will happen.”
Williams said the biggest thing for him this weekend, if he does attend, is to see how his relationship with the coaches develops.
Garrett gets the call
Since the first time Sooners Illustrated saw Mustang (Okla.) High quarterback Chandler Garrett in fall 2013, it was obvious he was going to be a name to watch for the Class of 2016.
If not at OU, at least some other incredibly quality school. With his size, his toughness, his ability, there would be a number of suitors for Garrett.
Now heading into camp season, it’s still a little befuddling Garrett doesn’t have his first offer, but a huge step was made earlier this week when he was invited to OU’s junior day this weekend.
Garrett, who said he measured at 6-foot-4 and 208 pounds at Oklahoma State’s junior day in January, is one of several top-notch in-state quarterbacks for this class.
But as of now, he’s the only one invited to OU’s even this weekend as Lincoln Riley extended the invitation Tuesday night.
“Coach Riley talked to my coach (after a basketball game) and said he’s really interested in me,” Garrett said. “I didn’t get the lowdown of everything, but he invited me and sounds like he has a lot of interest.”
Garrett has only been to one other junior the day, the aforementioned one at OSU. However, Garrett understands the recruiting game. He gets it. An invite to OSU is one thing, an invite to OU is totally another.
That’s not to say the Cowboys aren’t a fine program, but their method to junior day compared to OU’s is night and day.
“OU is not as open with all their recruiting stuff,” Garrett said. “It’s a different mindset. OSU invites almost all the in-state kids so it doesn’t really mean anything. OU is different. It’s an honor to be invited, and I’m excited to see what their vibe is.”
Garrett will only be one of a handful of quarterbacks on campus. While most recruits are arriving in Norman on Saturday, the quarterbacks will hit the campus Sunday afternoon.
Garrett is not a new name by any means, but his relationship stemmed from his time with Josh Heupel, most notably at OU’s camp last summer.
His mother has been in touch with Riley here lately, and Riley told the family he has been watching Garrett and is well aware of his talent.
Good thing, too, because Garrett is starting to see that attention increase. The offers aren’t there just yet, but UCLA, Notre Dame, Arizona State and Missouri are just a few of the schools who are either in constant communication or sending hand-written letters to Garrett.
“They’re all pretty much equal,” Garrett said. “They all really say the same thing about how they want me to come to a practice in the spring, and they’re going to watch me in the spring.”
One of the connections Garrett has is his quarterback tutor, Joe Dickinson, and it should help because of the relationship Dickinson has with Riley.
It was Dickinson who helped Shawnee quarterback John Jacobs get recruited by East Carolina last year, and obviously it was Riley who was the one who made that happen with Jacobs and the Pirates.
Garrett is excited to show what he can do during this camp season because it’s the first time he’s concentrating solely on football. No more basketball in the winter, he’s all about football.
“I’m starting to use my lower body more in my throws,” Garrett said. “I feel like a new player this offseason.”
Starkel stumbles into OU invite
There are not a lot of quarterback names confirmed for OU’s junior day this weekend, and we might have found out one reason why Thursday.
Argyle (Texas) Liberty Christian quarterback Nick Starkel explained how he sort of fell into an invite to Sunday’s event. Starkel has been in pretty steady communication with offensive line coach Bill Bedenbaugh since the end of January.
Starkel was simply checking in with Bedenbaugh on Thursday when Bedenbaugh was talking about how much he was looking forward to meeting with Starkel this weekend.
That was news to Starkel, who said he hadn’t talked to any OU coaches about junior day. Bedenbaugh said the staff had already had confirmation Starkel was coming.
Not offended in the least, Starkel asked for the details and said he will make his first trip to OU this weekend with his father.
“I’m looking forward to meeting all the coaches this weekend,” Starkel said. “I haven’t actually met any of the coaches in person yet.”
Starkel said the original plan was for Bedenbaugh to visit Starkel in late January, but something came up so Bedenbaugh was unable to visit.
The interest has been steadily picking up for Starkel, thanks in large part to an unexpected offer from Oklahoma State a week after taking a trip for its junior day in late January.
“That was pretty surprising as well,” Starkel said. “Since then, I’m seeing more serious recruiting. Instead of just getting the usual mail, I’m getting handwritten letters.”
Starkel said the lack of attention initially didn’t surprise him. He had no problem saying his film doesn’t make him look like a superstar. He said watching his film, and “it’s nothing special,” but it has been what he has done since his junior season why schools are now interested.
Starkel said he has put on 15 pounds since the end of last season and believes he stands out more throwing in person than he does on film from last year.
He will be at the Elite 11 event next weekend in Arlington and will be at the Rivals QB Challenge in Atlanta the following week. But this weekend is about OU, and he has no idea what to expect.
“I’m going to throw (at home) Sunday morning and then drive up,” Starkel said. “Registration starts around 1:30 or so, and then we’re staying until it’s over at like 4:30 or 5. Right now I’m not even trying to think about what it would mean to get an offer. I just want to see what it’s all about.”
Hardy ready to see OU
A lot of the focus of junior day this weekend has been about the quarterback position. OU is bringing in a few, and then it’s also bringing in guys who play quarterback in high school but don’t necessarily project to that spot in college.
One of those guys is Houston Spring Dekaney athlete Adrian Hardy. A relative unknown in recruiting circles, Hardy started receiving steady interest from the OU coaching staff last month.
In the last few weeks, that has only increased, and Hardy is set to visit OU this weekend with his parents.
“I can’t wait to see the campus and meet the coaches,” Hardy said. “I hope to get a better understanding of everything. I’ve never been to Oklahoma in my life so it’s a chance to see new things.”
Hardy grew up as a receiver but has been forced to move to quarterback at the high school level. It’s clear, based on film, he’s more fit to be a receiver at the next level and even rushed for 12 touchdowns from the quarterback spot last season.
Hardy said his primary contacts have been Bob Stoops and Lincoln Riley, and he will arrive in Norman on Friday night and attend the junior day event Saturday.
“They mentioned they would try me out at quarterback and see what I’m good at with everything,” Hardy said. “I would like to play either position, doesn’t really matter. I started off at wide receiver so that’s what I know more.”
Hardy still isn’t picking up considerable amount of recruiting attention, but it’s clear he has the attention of the Sooners coaches. That might be all he needs in the end.