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.
Rhodes with OU on the mind
It became clear a couple of months ago OU coaches were expecting some attrition in the secondary. With a slew of offers to junior college cornerbacks, any news about players transferring wasn’t surprising.
One of those offers went to Kilgore (Texas) CC cornerback J’Marcus Rhodes, who is ready to start seeing some of his top schools.
Rhodes will have to make an immediate impact as he does not have a redshirt season left, will have two years of eligibility remaining.
The spring was exciting for Rhodes, who now has a lot more offers in his hand and more to consider going forward.
“A lot of new schools have come into the picture,” Rhodes said. “It made me want to wait a little bit, but July 15 is when I’d like to make a decision. It’s the middle point of the summer, and I think it would be perfect. If not July 15, then I’ll have it done before summer is over.”
Rhodes will begin his trips with a visit to Arizona State next weekend. He wants to visit OU as well, but he’s not sure if he’ll be able to do that unofficially or have to wait until an official visit.
Unlike most juco recruits, it wasn’t about academics for Rhodes. Qualified out of high school, Rhodes was a receiver when he signed with SMU. Believing he could play at a higher level, Rhodes bet on himself and went the juco route. That move is paying off now.
“Juco definitely helps you get your mind right,” Rhodes said. “It gave me a lot of determination and focus. I’m a lot more mature now and have a lot of experience.”
Rhodes has tried to use his wealth of receiver experience help him as a cornerback as he said he believes he knows the instincts of receivers and can use that to his advantage.
OU defensive backs coach Kerry Cooks offered a week after seeing Rhodes in person and Rhodes said the relationship is developing well.
“He has a lot of connections to the NFL, and it’s hard to say no to somebody who has had so much success,” Rhodes said. “To be honest, everything is out there on the table. Bob Stoops wants me to come up for an unofficial visit. I don’t know how it’s going to go.”
Rhodes said he would like to see as many of his top schools as possible as Missouri and Baylor are also in the conversation. But if Rhodes did say if he feels like he has found the right fit, he won’t hesitate to end the process right then and there and stop taking any visits.
Sooners making run for Williams
If there’s one spot OU needs a lot of signees for the 2016 class, it’s linebacker. But if there’s one spot where the Sooners have positioned themselves going forward, it’s also linebacker.
Add one more target to the list with Plano (Texas) Prestonwood Christian linebacker Deonte Williams, offered by OU two weeks ago.
“It’s a pretty big offer for me,” Williams said. “Looking at the linebacker position, and there are spots to play, they said, if I’m a hard worker. I believe I am a hard worker.”
Williams has not made a trip to OU yet but said he is hopeful to be able to do that during the summer. OU has been a school he has thought about in the past because of its proximity to home.
To go with OU, Williams said Texas Tech, Iowa, Baylor and Washington are also showing steady interest. Everything is in play as Williams said he was unable to make any visits in the spring so there are no clear-cut favorites right now.
He does have an idea of when he wants things to be done, however.
“I was talking about that with my dad, and we think July is when I’d like to make a decision,” Williams said. “When I’m visiting, I want to see the defensive scheme and see how they treat the players on and off the field. I really like colleges that take care of their players.”
Williams was receiving some looks at running back, but he said all of his top offers are at linebacker. It took him a while to learn what being a linebacker was all about, but he understands it now.
“My dad used to tell me about needing to have a motor,” Williams said. “When I was younger, I didn’t know what he meant. Now I would say my motor is my biggest strength. Making play after play and never stopping.”
Williams is being recruited by linebackers coach Tim Kish, who he said he likes how Kish keeps everything down-to-earth and says how things exactly are.
Let’s go camping…twice
This weekend marks OU’s first camp of the summer as the Sooners will have campers Saturday and Sunday.
For the first time ever, the camp has been divided up as a special elite one-day camp will also be held Wednesday in Norman.
The division is nice, but it might mean a lack of real star power this weekend in Norman. No jaw-dropping names have been confirmed for this weekend, but you never know who will show up.
They might not participate, but showing up is crucial. Two years ago it was Ricky DeBerry who made an appearance in Norman. Last year saw Kahlil Haughton, Dominique Hearne, Rodney Anderson, Will Sunderland and Anthony Wheeler all show up. Wheeler (Texas) was the only one to not sign with the Sooners.
OU is going all-out for the Wednesday camp, evening creating special invitations for those welcome to attend. It’s too early to know for sure who will be able to make it from out of state, but it’s definitely going to be one fun Wednesday at OU.