Sooner Intel, Pt. I: News and nuggets

OU recruiting news and notes as the Sooners move forward for 2016 class.

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.

Examining the QB spot

Now in April, and we probably have a better understanding of what the Sooners are looking for and looking at for quarterback than ever before.

Shea Patterson is gone to Ole Miss. Shane Buechele has found his home at Texas. K.J. Costello has committed to Stanford. Jarrett Guarantano sounds like a near guarantee to Tennessee.

So you’re basically just looking at Dwayne Haskins and Austin Kendall. But when you break it down even further, this is a one-man race. It’s Kendall, and it looks like right now that’s the only man it needs to be.

Haskins has felt like a realistic target for OU since being offered in the winter, but there are no signs right now of him ever making that trip to Norman. He has visited Notre Dame, Duke and Florida in the last week, and it doesn’t feel like OU is in the cards.

Kendall does, however. The one-time Tennessee commit could be days away from making his selection, and OU feels like the school right now.

Kentucky had held the edge with Kendall because his brother is a walk-on with the Wildcats. But after last week’s visit to OU and offer that happened on the visit, the Sooners have positioned themselves as the school to beat.

He hasn’t been very vocal about the trip so far. He has given a lot of pro-OU text messages but said he was busy this week with homework since it’s the last week before spring break.

With spring break on the horizon, it could certainly be the week where Kendall decides to pull the trigger since he’ll have time to reflect and think things through.

If Kendall does jump in with both feet, the question remaining will be if OU decides to bring in another quarterback for the class? It still feels like it will, but with Kendall being such a top priority and a four-star talent, that could change.

And getting Kendall could change the minds of some of the spring eval options. Chandler Garrett said it might be tough for him to be the No. 2 guy when in his heart he believes he’s a No. 1 guy. Nick Starkel already has an offer from Oklahoma State and is impressing each week at different camps.

Augie DeBiase has made two trips to OU in the last month but also has other offers locked and is busy on the visit circuit. Saying you’re OK being a second option and actually accepting that are two different things.

When OU’s second junior day rolled around, there didn’t appear to be a big-time favorite for OU at the position. Now that Kendall has emerged as the go-to guy and could very well be that guy by this time in a couple of weeks, it’s going to give the other quarterback recruits something to think about.

Garrett takes in practice

It’s going to be an interesting couple of months coming up for Mustang (Okla.) High quarterback Chandler Garrett. The first offer is in the books with Air Force but plenty of more could be on the way, including one from the Sooners.

Following a great junior day visit last month, Garrett was back at OU last weekend as one of only two quarterbacks to watch OU’s first scrimmage. It was important for Garrett to get a chance to see how OU offensive coordinator Lincoln Riley ran the show.

“It was good to see how he coached the quarterbacks and watching the scrimmage live,” Garrett said. “You can really see the speed of the game and how much faster it is. You can see his offensive philosophy.”

Garrett said he didn’t get a chance to talk to Riley too much, only for around 15 minutes. The message is the same. Riley will come evaluate Garrett during the next couple of months and make a decision about whether or not to offer him.

Seeing the scrimmage gave Garrett an idea into what Riley is looking for and what OU fans can expect from the first-year coach.

“You can tell what he’s asking for,” Garrett said. “He likes to go short to open up the deep game. He likes the quarterbacks to the play the game with their eyes.”

Also in town was 2018 Moore (Okla.) Southmoore quarterback Casey Thompson. The younger brother of former OU quarterback Kendal and son of former OU quarterback Charles Thompson, Casey Thompson said it was great to meet Riley for the first time to start building that relationship.

Relationships are being built seemingly by the day for Garrett, whose stock has increased dramatically in the last couple of months. His OU trip came on the heels of a six-hour visit with Tulsa the day before, an Oklahoma State visit earlier this week and he hopes to visit Kansas State in this next week.

Garrett seems be in the short list at places like KSU and Tulsa, but the tone remains the same there as well about coaches wanting to see him in the spring and then make a decision.

Garrett said West Virginia and Texas Tech have also shown considerable interest. He can relax now. With the Air Force offer in his back pocket, he can evaluate everything and make the best decision.

“I definitely like Air Force,” Garrett said. “It’s not the best football school, but you won’t get a better academic situation than you will there.”

With two visits to OU in the books in the last four weeks, Garrett said he doesn’t anticipate heading back to Norman next weekend for the spring game.

“I’ve seen what I needed to see,” Garrett said. “There are a lot of other visits I want to take and places I want to see. I’m in contact with OU, but I need to see what else is out there.”

Lookout sticking with OU

The news came as a huge shock to Moore (Okla.) Westmoore wide receiver Deshawn Lookout when he learned Josh Heupel and Jay Norvell had been relieved of their duties as the offensive coordinators for the Sooners.

Lookout, a Class of 2016 prospect, had committed to the Sooners in the summer to play both baseball and football. The scholarship is for baseball, but he would be a preferred walk-on for football.

A lot of that was because of the bond he had built with Heupel. Lookout said he had been talking with Heupel since his freshman season.

With Lincoln Riley taking over, Lookout wasn’t sure where he stood with the coaches, but he had all of that answered in January.

“I’ve talked to them several times,” Lookout said. “They came to Westmoore one day and talked about it with my coaches. I’m really liking what Coach Riley is bringing to the table and nothing has changed.”

The issue for Lookout remains the balancing act between football and baseball. Participating in a football camp here means missing a baseball tournament there. Going to a baseball tournament on one day means missing a football camp perhaps on the same day.

Lookout doesn’t regret doing things the way he has chosen to do them, but that doesn’t mean it’s the easiest thing in the world.

“I’ve played both of them since I was little,” Lookout said. “It’s a hard decision, but I’m happy with it. It’s a strictly baseball scholarship right now.”

Lookout has been able to make a name for himself in football, too, with Arkansas State having offered him. He said if a school offered for both sports, it could be interesting, but it would take some sort of special offer to sway him from the Sooners, or to even think about testing the waters again.

Lookout missed the majority of football camps last spring and summer because of baseball tournaments, but he said he’s looking to hit as many football camps as he can in the next few months. Lookout was at the Opening regional event three weeks ago.

If he does stick with OU, that brings along the prospect of playing with Dahu Green once again. The two have been a scary one-two punch combo at Westmoore the last couple of seasons and would love to do it again, this time at OU.

“That would be great,” Lookout said. “I’m so pumped for Dahu and glad he got that opportunity. I’d be so happy to play with Dahu again.”


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