Mini-Sooner Intel: News and nuggets

Reviewing a busy week for the Sooners on the recruiting trail.

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.

Reynolds trying to sway Kelly

It’s a good year in the state of Kansas. No, the Sunflower State is never going to be loaded with a ton of top talent. But the ones it has for the 2016 class is pretty impressive.

And with OU getting three players from the state of Kansas drafted in the first four rounds of the NFL Draft last weekend, the Sooners are always in the hunt.

They’ve joined that hunt for Wichita (Kan.) East defensive end Xavier Kelly. Ranked No. 203 in the Scout 300, Kelly was offered by OU two weeks ago by defensive line coach Diron Reynolds.

“It was a bit of a shock because I had never talked to them before,” Kelly said. “I got in touch with Coach Reynolds, and he said they want to offer me. It’s great.”

It’s clear Reynolds and OU weren’t there from the beginning. The offer was around No. 25 for Kelly at the time, but Kelly said he’s not holding that against OU.

He said he realizes Reynolds is new to the staff and that it can take a while before finding a groove. OU might not end up as the spot for Kelly, but it will have nothing to do with the fact OU offered in late April instead of like February.

“He has been in touch with me a lot since the offer,” Kelly said. “It’s like every day there’s something from Coach Reynolds. It makes sense why the offer happened when it did, and it doesn’t hurt them at all. He’s a cool guy and really seems like he knows what he’s doing.”

Kelly was once a Kansas State commitment, still remembering the offer from the Wildcats on Nov. 14. His offer count is at 28 now. He hasn’t visited OU but that will change in a hurry.

Maybe even sooner than first anticipated. Kelly said he is set to embark on a 20-visit month of June going all across the country. OU is included in that list, but with the proximity to Wichita, Kelly said he might visit Norman before June.

Heading into the Dallas Opening regional camp, Kelly had eight offers so he’s picked up 20 in less than two months. It can be kind of overwhelming, but he said right now he really doesn’t have any favorites.

“When Alabama offered, that was a pretty big one for me,” Kelly said. “Alabama, you know, they’re always at the top. But just because they’re at the top doesn’t mean it’s going to be the best choice for me.”

Kelly said he never grew up with a dream school so all possibilities are out there, and he knows about OU’s rich tradition being less than three hours away.

There isn’t a list of favorites right now for Kelly. Instead, he went with the opposite approach. He said, in his head, he’s starting to figure out which ones aren’t the right fit for him. OU is not included in that “not a good fit” group.

No matter how the summer visits go, Kelly has his plan in place. Take all five official visits this fall and make his announcement at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl in January in San Antonio.

His improvement this season hasn’t been about strength or speed, it has been about the little but very important things.

“I’m getting off the ball faster and using my hands better,” Kelly said. “Schools are seeing I’m as big as I’m listed, but they’re also seeing my skill.”

Sooners making impression with Acy

Every defensive back offer made during this spring evaluation period is going to be an intriguing one to watch. The position seems to be in a bit on uncertainty.

It initially looked like the Sooners were going to take three defensive backs with any combination of safeties and cornerbacks (2 CBs, 1 S; 2 Ss, 1 CB). But it’s looking more and more like OU could see some departures from its current secondary.

That could open the door to at least one more take from the secondary pool. And one of those could end up being Dallas Wilmer-Hutchins three-star safety Demarkus Acy.

His recruitment has been an interesting one to watch because just as of February, he had zero offers. Now more than half of the Big 12 has reached to Acy with more schools and conferences entering the picture each day.

Acy’s offer came as a bit of a shock to some, but it’s not like he wasn’t already familiar with OU or defensive backs coach Kerry Cooks.

“It has been real exciting the last couple of weeks,” Acy said. “I went down to campus earlier, and they said they’d look at my film and stay in touch with me. When they came last week and said they wanted to offer me, it was great.”

Acy visited OU for junior day and has really good size for a safety. The key to getting the offer was to making sure he had the speed and movement necessary to be a Big 12-level safety in the eyes of the Sooners.

He said he didn’t get a lot of one-on-one time with Bob Stoops during junior day, but his relationship with Cooks keeps improving every single day. And since the offer, it has been going to even new heights.

“He seems like a real laid back person with a chill personality,” Acy said. “He’s always trying to give me motivation, sending me motivational quotes and stuff like that.”

It feels like a pure Big 12 battle right now as Acy said Iowa State is the school showing the most interest, but KU, KSU and Texas Tech are there, too. The plan, though, is to definitely make a return visit to Norman before any sort of decision is made.

“I don’t plan on committing anytime soon,” Acy said. “I think I might wait a bit and see what’s all out there.”

Acy said Miami (Fla.) was his dream school growing up because of the late Sean Taylor. The Hurricanes are not in the picture at all with Acy now, and he doesn’t have a problem with that.

The issue right now is whether Acy is a cornerback or safety. Some say corner, some say safety. Some, like OU, say hybrid.

“I’ve had a couple of schools say I’d be perfect for that cornerback/safety hybrid spot,” Acy said. “I can play both so it honestly doesn’t matter to me. I prefer cornerback, but it’s not a big deal.”

2017 RB offer Bruce Jordan-Swilling

Week in review

OU was all about the state of Texas last week for its offers. This week, the Sooners went east and into SEC country with the states of Georgia and Louisiana.

And you don’t have to look very far to find quality recruits in that part of the country, and OU wasn’t bashful about making the offers.

New Orleans Edna Karr DE Andre Anthony

This was actually last Friday night, after the Intel had been posted. Diron Reynolds has really hit the ground running during this eval period and Anthony is another of his latest offers. Anthony said the offer meant a lot to him, and OU did take it the next step with Reynolds visiting Anthony earlier this week. Will be tough to pluck out of SEC country, but OU and Reynolds doing the right things as of now.

Ellenwood (Ga.) Cedar Grove LB Elysse Mbem-Bosse

Georgia has never been a real hotbed for the Sooners, but OU is trying to change that with the 2016 and 2017 classes. Mbem-Bosse is another prospect that is seeing interest pick up considerably since the eval period has started. Way too early to start prognosticating on this one, what Mbem-Bosse does from here will tell us where his interest is going forward.

2017 New Orleans Brother Martin RB Bruce Jordan-Swilling

From film and talking around, this could end up being the best offer OU made during the week and that’s really saying something. It seems unfathomable that Miami is Swilling’s only other offer. Adopted by former NFL star Pat Swilling, Jordan-Swilling has his personal life on track and is excelling on the field. The Sooners were incredibly smart to get in there so early, but no idea if it will matter if any of the traditional New Orleans schools come calling.

2017 Lawrenceville (Ga.) Archer CB Jamyest Williams

The smart thing OU is doing with offers in Georgia is having some sort of connection already formed. There’s a natural one with the Sooners and Williams with OU having already offered four-star safety teammate Isaiah Pryor. Pryor’s father played for OU, while Williams said his father is also from Oklahoma. Pryor has camped at OU the last two summers. If he returns, have to expect Williams to make that trip as well this time around. Both should be in Scout 300 without a problem.

2017 Suwanee (Ga.) Peachtree Ridge LB Breon Dixon

Like Williams, there is a natural connection for OU and Dixon. Peachtree Ridge is the same school as redshirt freshman offensive tackle Orlando Brown. Linebacker depth is going to be a concern, for sure, going forward, and you can already see OU and Tim Kish identifying the top targets a lot earlier for this cycle and the next compared to the last couple of years.

Springhill (La.) North Webster RB/LB Devin White

The biggest question will be what is he going forward? White was by far the best running back at the Dallas Opening regional two months ago. But with OU only taking one running back, is he really the answer? The other option is linebacker, and you can easily see where his physicality could play a role into things. His offer sheet is incredible, based in large part because of what he did at the regional two months ago.

2017 Los Angeles Salesian DB Deommodore Lenoir

How about that first name? Clear sign of Dennis Simmons putting in the work out west. Always a wait-and-see approach with OU offers in Cali without a Tony Perry influence or natural connection. Way too early to say one way or another but don’t get hopes up too much for this four-star prospect.


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