Hunt for OU's 2016 running back

OU has its QB locked up for 2016, but running back should be an intense battle to watch.

Usually the most stressful search for any recruiting class comes at quarterback. But Oklahoma, who only has four commits for the 2016, that’s not the case.

The Sooners have locked up a huge one with Waxhaw (N.C.) Cuthbertson four-star prospect Austin Kendall, giving OU a real boost to the class.

But lately you wouldn’t call OU a school of quarterbacks or receivers or defensive backs. No, when you think Sooners, you think running back.

From Adrian Peterson to DeMarco Murray to last year with Samaje Perine, it’s running back that’s the spot, if any, where OU can say RB University.

And despite some attrition, the best bet still feels like the Sooners are only going to take one running back for this class.

Coincidentally, the three names OU seems to be focused on will create one heck of a domino effect with some major regional schools.

Beaumont (Texas) Central’s Devwah Whaley

Whaley announced his top 10 last week with the Sooners easily making the cut. It’s readily apparent Whaley is OU’s No. 1 overall target at the position, but you could probably say the same thing with Whaley for schools like Texas and Texas A&M. Whaley has made one trip to OU, a fantastic two-day visit during the spring, but doesn’t feel like he’s any closer toward a decision. Whaley is more of the traditional OU back with the power and the speed and would be a natural fit and a heck of a way for Jay Boulware to begin his tenure as running backs coach.

Houston C.E. King’s Trayveon Williams

This is where it gets interesting because these two backs couldn’t have more different styles. Williams is your home run hitter but doesn’t have the size of someone like Whaley. Adding Williams would be more in line with what first-year offensive coordinator Lincoln Riley usually looks for in his running backs. The biggest thing right now is Williams hasn’t made that crucial first trip to Norman. He has wanted to a couple of times but hasn’t been able to make it. OU made Williams’ top five Monday night, but it’s tough to say if OU will be the choice Friday when he hasn’t visited the campus yet.

McAllen (Texas) Memorial’s Trevor Speights

Nothing much was thought of when Speights visited OU for junior day in February. He had been committed to Arizona for so long that it seemed like it was just to check things out. But then the Aggies offered and other schools started to get in the mix. Speights decommitted from the Wildcats last month and is back on the market. OU visited Speights last week, and you know full well he’s in the short list of any sort of potential offer at the position. The question is whether or not Speights controls his destiny with the Sooners and Aggies, or do the dominoes have to fall first? Regardless, he has plenty of options.

OU caused a bit of a wave when moving Boulware from tight ends coach to running backs following last season. OU has had so much success at the position with Cale Gundy that it definitely shook things up.

Maybe not for the better as former OU running back Keith Ford was very critical of Boulware and stated he was one of the main reasons for transferring. Strangely enough, Ford announced he will transfer to the Aggies late last week as it feels like OU, A&M and Texas are glued at the hip right now regarding the position.

Gundy was able to get the best of the best to Norman. Boulware has the same shot and quality, realistic prospects on the board this year. Running back is going to be one big battle to watch in the upcoming months.


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