Sooner Intel, Pt. I: News and nuggets

Sit back and get comfortable for Sooner Intel this week.

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.

OU back in mix with Delance

Stop if you’ve heard this one before. A Scout 300 offensive lineman commits to OU as a junior, decommits from Sooners during spring before his senior year but says OU is in the hunt rest of the way.

It’s déjà vu for OU. Last year it was Josh Wariboko. This year it’s North Mesquite (Texas) High’s Jean Delance. Wariboko eventually signed with UCLA on signing day. As for Delance, we still have nearly nine months to play that game.

Delance pledged to OU in November following an unofficial visit to see OU’s win against Kansas. In the months that followed, however, the offers started to pile up, like really pile up.

The whole time Delance said he was 100 percent with the Sooners and things seemed to be really rolling well following an outstanding junior day visit March 7.

That would all change 24 hours later when the SAE fraternity incident occurred at OU and the racial video chant that went viral would be the cause, in Delance’s words, for his decommitment.

What always seemed a bit odd at the time was Delance didn’t talk to Bill Bedenbaugh, Cale Gundy or Bob Stoops about his decision. He simply made his choice and then talked to the coaches.

Delance said the SAE incident was disgusting, and he couldn’t tolerate that. No argument there, and OU has taken all the necessary steps to make sure it won’t happen again and to address what actually did happen.

Instead of throwing in the towel, Bedenbaugh has dug his heels in even more and won’t let up in trying to get Delance back to OU.

“They have recruited me basically the same way as always except now it’s a little different,” Delance said. “They’re recruiting me harder. They haven’t given up on me at all.”

Delance’s offer sheet is now around 30, and there’s no doubt there is going to be steep competition the rest of the way. He said he honestly would love to visit every single school he has interest in, but he knows that’s not financially possible.

He is starting to work toward a list, saying earlier this week he would like to release a top 10 in June. It’s almost a certainty the Sooners will find themselves in that list and even a top seven or top five should have OU fans feeling pretty safe.

Delance is open toward making another trip to OU, the only question is when will it be. This experience has definitely given him perspective on things.

“My advice for anybody is before you make a decision like this in the recruiting process, make sure 100 percent you know it’s where you want to go. Know in your heart, for sure, it’s the best fit and you’re ready to call that place home.”

Browning gets the call

It’s possible to be a 2017 recruit and still feel like any offer is sort of about time. When you’re as good as Kennedale (Texas) High linebacker Baron Browning, no need to wait it out.

OU ended the suspense earlier this week with the official offer. Not really a surprise to Browning, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t appreciate the opportunity.

“I did kind of see it coming,” Browning said. “Coach (Mike) Stoops came down a couple of weeks ago, and I thought it might come then. I wasn’t tripping about that, though. Then Coach (Tim) Kish came this week, and I knew it was coming.”

Browning said Kish made the offer Monday and has OU officially in the mix. Browning said the Sooners didn’t show a lot of interest initially, but ever since the visit by Stoops, he has been trying to learn more and more about the program.

Browning knows the best way to do that is to make a visit, and he said intends to visit Norman for the first time this summer.

For Browning, the attention and recognition is nice, but he wants to earn it on the field now. He played one game last year before tearing up his shoulder and missing the rest of the season. He was a sophomore prodigy back then. He’ll have to be a junior leader now.

“I’ve spent a lot of time watching film,” Browning said. “I had to learn how to watch film. I always just wanted to go out and play. I knew what I had to do but not what everyone else was doing.

“I know where everyone is now. I know what the assignments are. It’s making things a lot easier. There’s no thinking, no hesitation.”

Browning said he is 6-foot-3 and 227 pounds with most schools viewing him as an outside linebacker. Don’t expect any early decision as Browning said his sole focus coming up will be on his junior season although he wouldn’t mind seeing a few schools.

“I’ll be going to Texas this weekend (track),” Browning said. “I would love to make up to OU and LSU this summer, too. We’ll see what happens.”

Bundage still taking his time

The multiple trips make it feel like it’s a matter of when and not if, but it’s not that simple regarding OU and Edmond (Okla.) Santa Fe safety/outside linebacker Calvin Bundage.

Bundage is the unquestioned No. 1 prospect in the state and the only OKPreps representative in the Scout 300 as of this time. OU offered in November, seemingly knocking out other schools before they had a chance to compete.

But a commitment didn’t happen and most likely won’t anytime soon. Other major schools have thrown their hat into the ring, and it could get interesting.

The good news for OU is Bundage keeps making OU a return visit. He visited for Bedlam, visited for junior day and was back again for the spring game last month.

“It went really well,” Bundage said. “I really enjoy my trips there. It was a real good atmosphere, and I enjoyed watching the game.”

The biggest thing OU has been doing is trying to get Bundage to develop that rapport with first-year coach Kerry Cooks. Bundage received a lot of attention from Cooks at the first junior day, and Bundage said Cooks continues to make an impression now.

“He’s a real good coach, and he’s in touch with me all the time,” Bundage. “But I’m not ready to narrow anything down yet.”

Bundage also visited Arkansas for the second time, going to the Hogs’ spring game. However, it’s one out of region school that is standing out the most right now with Michigan.

Despite his brother being an offensive lineman for Arizona and having the offer from the Wildcats, it’s the offer from the Wolverines that really stands out.

What will be interesting to see is if Bundage camps at the Michigan satellite camp in June to get to know the coaches. Bundage was inactive this spring on the camp circuit, not participating in either the Dallas Opening regional or the Semper Fi event last month in Oklahoma City.

He’s just been focused on getting better and improving his game with QuickTwitch training, which he feels he has done.

“I’ve gotten a lot faster than I was before,” Bundage said. “My footwork is a lot better. I think it’s going to make a huge difference.”

After all the waiting, the time is here for OKPreps. Oklahoma spring high school practice officially begins Monday.


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