Sooner Intel, Pt. I: News and nuggets

Get caught up with OU recruiting news as the spring evaluation period begins.

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.

Sooners in hunt for Chandler

Three years older. Three years wiser. Three years after first expected the OU offer, it has finally come for Miami (Okla.) Northeastern Oklahoma A&M cornerback Maurice Chandler.

Chandler, who was once pursued by the Sooners for the 2013 class, was offered two weeks ago while on an unofficial visit to campus. That trip was Chandler’s first trip to Norman since back when he was being recruited by OU three years earlier.

“It was something going back like that,” Chandler said. “I was so immature in high school. This visit was a lot more in-depth and really looking at things.”

Chandler committed to Texas Tech but never qualified academically. He’ll have two years of eligibility remaining wherever he goes, and he has become one of the top junior college cornerbacks in the nation.

Chandler said he first got in touch with OU wide receivers coach Dennis Simmons on Twitter before starting to talk with defensive backs coach Kerry Cooks. Since then, his connection has been pretty strong with Cooks.

“I like the vibe I got from him,” Chandler said. “He’s obviously a good coach, and they play in a defensive system that’s basically what we play now.”

OU feels like it could be the team to beat, but there are a lot of other offers out there. Chandler visited Nebraska last weekend and has already been offered by the Huskers. TCU was the latest big-time school to make an offer last week.

But OU does have a special place for Chandler. He admitted he went into the unofficial visit absolutely hoping for the OU offer so the visit was an unquestioned success.

Back in Norman gave Chandler a chance to reconnect with OU defensive end D.J. Ward. The two were a potent one-two punch back at Lawton (Okla.) High, and Chandler said he would be pretty excited to reunite with Ward.

“I did talk to D.J. for a bit on the visit,” Chandler said. “It was great catching up. He’s doing so well. He’s working with the 1s. It would be interesting to be back with him.”

Chandler said the plan is to take all five official visits, but obviously things can change. He said he has worked a lot on his man-to-man technique and feels he is a much physical presence now than he ever was in high school.

“It’s just a blessing the way my recruitment has picked up,” Chandler said. “It’s showing me how all the hard work has been paying off. I’ve been working on perfecting my man coverage, and everything is coming together.”

Walker floored by OU offer

Last month Moore (Okla.) Southmoore offensive lineman Brey Walker let it be known. He’s a Class of 2018 prospect, but if he didn’t hear from OU by his junior season, he was seriously going to consider elsewhere.

Well, that lasted a whole few weeks. Shortly after that statement, OU offensive line coach Bill Bedenbaugh started to get in touch with Walker, and the offer came to him on an unofficial visit two weeks ago.

“They separated us from the rest of the tour group and took us to Bob Stoops’ office,” Walker said. “He was there waiting for us. He said they don’t usually offer freshman scholarship, but he was going to go ahead and offer me.”

Walker said he initially thought Stoops was kidding, saying an in-state freshman isn’t supposed to be in Stoops’ office.

With the OU offer in hand, that gives Walker an offer from both of the in-state powers as Oklahoma State offered in February. He is the earliest in-state offer any recruiting expert can remember when it comes to OU.

Walker, though, was still in the moment and said one of the biggest things he wanted was a picture with Stoops.

Walker got to OU at around 7 a.m. that morning and spent a good chunk of the day with Bedenbaugh. The biggest portion of the day was about film study as Walker was in the room with offensive linemen and seeing everything be dissected.

“It was an eye-opener,” Walker said. “I’m seeing the film study and you’re seeing these big guys being yelled at like they’re little kids.”

Walker admitted he absolutely thought about committing to OU right then and there. He paused and said again that it definitely crossed his mind.

But with nearly three calendar years before he has to sign, nobody is begrudging Walker if he wants to visit other schools, in particular, one area.

“I really like the west coast,” Walker said. “I would love to see some of the schools out there.”

Draper gets first taste of OU

Collinsville (Okla.) High linebacker Levi Draper has been attending OU games for years, but now it looks like he could potentially be heading to Norman in a different capacity.

Draper, a Class of 2017 prospect, has been to OU in back-to-back weeks. His interaction hasn’t been huge so far, but it did make his day when Bob Stoops walked over to Draper during practice and introduced himself to Draper.

Draper was back at OU last weekend for the spring game and is excited about making another trip as soon as he can.

“It was great,” Draper said. “I loved everything about it. I loved the tradition. I’ve been an OU fan since I was really young.”

The interest is all rather new as well. Draper said OU reached out to him only about three weeks ago. He said that has been a common thing since more schools have gotten a chance to see his Hudl film.

It has been a long time since the state has had a natural linebacker. There have been some guys who have blossomed into fine linebackers in college, but Draper is somebody where you know what his position is right now.

Draper, who said he is now 6-foot-3 and 230 pounds, received his first offer from Louisville a few days before his first trip to OU.

“It was a pretty big surprise,” Draper said. “Honestly I think it’s just coaches starting to view my Hudl film and following me on Twitter.”

Draper is going to be pretty busy this spring with trips to Arkansas and SMU already planned. A return trip to OU for the summer camp is also already in the works.

Draper said he has spent a long time working on his speed, and he’s starting to see the difference. He said his 100-meter time is down nearly a full second, saying his latest time was 11.1 seconds. That speed can only help with someone who is already known for his size.

“It’s my speed and size,” said Draper about his biggest strength as a player. “I’m quick, but I’m very physical. I’ve put on around 10 pounds since the end of last season. I can’t wait to get back out there.”


Sooners Illustrated Top Stories