Recruiting rankings aren’t going to reflect how successful Oklahoma has been so far for its 2016 class. Nothing new there. OU rarely looks like a top 15 class in April. The trend has always been for a strong surge in the end.
But what OU lacks in commitments (3) and star power (no pledged currently ranked in the Scout 300 as of today), the Sooners have been able to still get the top recruits to campus.
And if it has felt like maybe more offered recruits have seen Norman than usual this spring, well, it’s because they have.
“We had a junior day for one of our practices,” OU coach Bob Stoops said. “We had 20 offers here. In fact, that’s the most we’ve ever had, and they came for a practice and that was awesome.
“To this point in the spring, we’ve had more offered recruits on campus than we’ve ever had. I think we had 15 that day. I think we’re up to about 20-to-25, and we’ve never had that many here on campus at this point.”
There are certainly reasons for that. Offers are given out a lot earlier than the way it used to be even five years ago. And when you’re talking OU in 2015, then you’re talking a bevy of coaching changes.
Recruits have to be able to see what Diron Reynolds (defensive line), Kerry Cooks (secondary), Dennis Simmons (wide receivers) and especially Lincoln Riley (quarterbacks/offensive coordinator) can do live and in person.
Some of it, though, is just luck.
“It’s worked out for them to be able to come, and our coaches have done a good job of getting to everybody and the dates have worked out,” Stoops said. “There’s, with our proximity and state population, most of our people have to travel a little further, but it’s worked out pretty well.”
It has indeed, and OU is in perfect shape to close out the spring as strong as it started with that junior day being the same day as the first practice.
Numbers will always fluctuate because so many things can change when you’re talking about recruits making multi-hour drives on their own dime, but OU has a nice set of recruits lined up with it being headlined by Fresno (Calif.) Clovis West five-star linebacker Caleb Kelly.
Kelly, ranked No. 9 in the Scout 100, will be making his first trip to OU since last year’s spring game. He had the OU offer at that time and has only become a bigger name in recruiting circles and even beyond just that.
Stoops isn’t sure if he would change the way the spring game is done. Some schools have recruiting-centric events at night just to have them under the lights. It has worked out for Texas and Texas A&M, but it can’t just be about the glitz. There has to be substance, too, and that’s where Stoops said his staff has done its job.
“It’s a game atmosphere, it’s just not under the lights, it’s at 2 o’clock,” Stoops said. “We’ve always worked hard to get our recruits here. We worked as hard 16 years ago as we are now to get them here. You’re here all day, and you’ve got fans coming so we’ve always worked it hard to get people here.”