Sooner Intel, Pt. II: News and nuggets

Full breakdown of every position heading into OU junior day.

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.

Junior day edition

Nothing but junior day talk. Last couple of years has seen OU sort of downplay the event, but this weekend is massive. It might just be coincidence that Keyshawn Johnson is bringing 10 legit recruits from Cali to OU on this weekend, but it has made the junior day event pop that much more when you take into consideration all the other big names scheduled to attend.

Quarterback

The big one. While most recruits are heading to campus Saturday, it’s clear Lincoln Riley is bringing his quarterbacks Sunday.

The two names to watch for 2016 are Mustang (Okla.) High’s Chandler Garrett and Argyle (Texas) Liberty Christian’s Nick Starkel.

Garrett was invited Tuesday night, while Starkel earned the invite Thursday. As of now, those are the only 2016 quarterbacks confirmed for this weekend.

They’re not the only quarterbacks, however, as Fort Worth (Texas) South Hills’ 2017 prospect Tracin Wallace is also expected to arrive Sunday. Wallace, and his twin brother Tylan, were both offered by Tulsa earlier this week.

You always had a good feel with Josh Heupel and what he was looking to do. With this being Riley’s first year at OU, no telling his thought process right now. He could offer at the event, he could not. With OU seemingly out in the cold with a couple of major targets, are these pure backup plan options or legit candidates? Both Garrett and Starkel bring a lot to the table.

Running back

This one is simple. If they make it, it’s incredibly noteworthy. If they don’t, well, you just sort of go on about your weekend.

Four-star backs Devwah Whaley and Trayveon Williams both were on the fence as of Thursday night about whether they were going to attend or not.

It’s crucial for OU to get its foot in the door with the prospects as schools like Texas, Texas A&M and TCU are already taking their best shots at them.

In-state back Dae Williams (Sapulpa) should be in attendance, too, but it’s hard to envision things developing beyond just getting to know him better.

It’s Whaley and Williams where the focus will be.

Wide receiver

Wide receiver was a big one three weeks ago. This one? Not so much. Right now only two are confirmed, and there’s no telling if either one will make it.

Tren’Davian Dickson and Devin Duvernay are both in the Scout 100, and it feels like OU will have a better chance with Dickson than Duvernay, especially if Duvernay ends up being a package deal with his brother Donovan.

Dickson is ranked No. 21 in the Scout 100 and No. 3 wide receiver overall. The one-time Baylor commit would be a major get for the Sooners. That first step would be this weekend.

OU obviously has put in a lot of work with fellow Sachse Scout 100 recruit Jared Mayden so that could sway things a bit for OU with Duvernay. No doubt it will be a long battle here, too.

Dennis Simmons did well at the first junior day, but this one doesn’t seem like a huge one for him to worry about.

Offensive line

Attention shifts toward the big uglies, and there are some good ones coming to town. Leading the way is Mineola (Texas) High lineman Riley Anderson. He has been picking up one top offer after another and will be in Norman.

A couple of in-state guys will be in as well with Jenks’ Sheldon Barnes and Broken Arrow’s Rowdy Frederick. Doesn’t feel like an offer will come just yet for either of them, but both are squarely on the radar with Bill Bedenbaugh.

Frederick is going to have to show he can stay healthy because he certainly looks the part. An Anderson offer wouldn’t be surprising in the least.

The unknown factor will be North Mesquite (Texas) High’s Jean Delance. Committed to OU since November, he now has more than 20 offers.

He is expected to make the trip, and it will be interesting to see how the conversations go with Delance and Bedenbaugh and Bob Stoops.

He hasn’t hinted one bit at decommitting, but he has been incredibly active on the visit circuit that OU fans are worried he might be looking around too much.

Defensive line

The first junior day for Diron Reynolds and his big task is to make sure OU remains in the good graces with Scout 100 prospects Mike Williams and Isaiah Chambers.

Williams has been pretty open about the relationship he had with Jerry Montgomery so it’s up to Reynolds to get the ball rolling again.

OU was one of Chambers’ first offers and getting him in from Houston is a major achievement. Cibolo (Texas) Steele’s Mark Jackson confirmed he would be coming earlier but nothing is concrete right now.

If Reynolds only has three guys to worry about, that’s a pretty stout group.

Linebacker

All eyes will be on New Orleans Warren Easton Charter’s Pernell Jefferson. Teammates with OU signee Arthur McGinnis, this is huge for OU to get a visit from Jefferson. McGinnis has talked nonstop about OU to Jefferson so we’ll see if that has some influence.

Another major name making the trip is Houston Alief Elsik middle linebacker Dontavious Jackson. He has a busy weekend planned with trips to A&M, OU and OSU, but he said he’s excited to have friend Ogbonnia Okoronkwo showing him around.

Jackson is a major need for OU during this cycle, and Tim Kish has developed an incredibly great early bond with Jackson for the last year.

Some fringe targets to watch for include Tulsa Metro Christian’s Abe Anderson and Burleson (Texas) Central’s Hunter Donnelly.

Anderson has to play quarterback in high school, but he seems suited for linebacker. And Donnelly has some early offers and is seeing his profile increase each week.

Defensive backs

Kerry Cooks would super busy three weeks ago, and he might be even more busy this time around. The focus will be on Shreveport (La.) Calvary Baptist’s trio of Chanse Sylvie, Rodarius Williams and Andraez Williams.

Sylvie, in a rather unique move, is actually making his second trip to junior day. He was at OU’s first one. After that event, OU offered the Williams twins, and now all three are making the trek to Norman.

Being that it is so rare to attend both junior days and because Sylvie said he would not tweet any favorites or anything, the commit watch is on with Sylvie.

Elsewhere, Waco (Texas) La Vega cornerback Parrish Cobb will get a lot of attention from Cooks. A recent offer, Cobb seems like the perfect fit for what Cooks wants to do at OU.

The Cali invasion

Former NFL receiver Keyshawn Johnson is bringing a boatload of top prospects from his 7-on-7 team in California.

As it stands now that list is at 10 players coming to Norman on Sunday so OU coaches essentially decided to split things up. Most recruits are Saturday, followed by the Cali kids and quarterbacks Sunday.

It is quite an elite list of guys in the 2016 and 2017 classes at various positions. Johnson is doing this all weekend, starting at Texas A&M on Friday and Texas on Saturday.

No way of knowing at all if this leads to anything, but OU has established a nice foothold in California and Simmons obviously knows the area well from his time at Washington State.

Don’t expect any commitments at all from the 10 recruits, but perhaps an offer or two that could be combined with a potential official visit down the road would be enough to quantify it as a success.


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