Sooner mailbag: Cali Sooners?

OU mailbag examines where Sooners really stand with some noteworthy Cali targets.

The calendar turns to July and the Oklahoma recruiting mailbag returns. Sooners Illustrated publisher Bob Przybylo digs deep into the ‘bag every Wednesday to answer the pressing questions for OU recruiting.

Where does OU stand with its top California targets for the 2016 class? Realistic chances with many of them?

This is a good question. Obviously the Sooners are going to be there until the end for Fresno (Calif) Clovis West five-star linebacker Caleb Kelly. Incredibly tough to imagine that ever changing despite Michigan’s best efforts.

After that, though, the Cali Sooner probabilities sort of take a hit. OU seems to be in the conversation for a number of Cali prospects, but are there really any legitimate targets?

The Sooners are in good standing with guys like Bryce Youngquist, Brandon Burton, Shurod Thompson and David Long. OU has made the initial cuts for all of them, and it does appear OU will get official visits from them.

But guys like Jack Jones and Tyler Vaughns aren’t likely to happen and the Sooners have seen a number of Cali offers commit elsewhere in the last two months.

Sound like a broken record here, but that’s where OU’s play on the field will help dictate the trail. If OU can have success, then the door remains open for guys like Burton.

The longer they wait, the more it gives the Sooners their chance to make their imprint and not get lost in the shuffle.

Will OU land Levi Draper?

A 2017 in-state recruit that is going to be talked about for a long time in the upcoming months. In the end, do believe the Sooners will get Draper’s signature, but it’ll be a battle.

For one thing, you could understand if Draper felt a little insulted by the lack of the OU offer until two weeks ago. Schools like Alabama and Florida State had already thrown their hat into the ring by the time the Sooners came calling.

On the other, you can understand if OU coaches felt Draper wasn’t all-in about being a Sooner. If you’re an OU coach and you’ve been publicizing the elite camp for months, and a top prospect chooses to visit Kansas instead? That’s a tough pill to swallow.

Draper visited OU twice during the spring, once for a scrimmage and once for the spring game. But OU will often ask a recruit to camp in pads because OU is a school where that is a possibility.

You take advantage of something like that, and you end up committed like Harrah (Okla.) High offensive lineman Logan Roberson.

You don’t? Well, some rebuilding of that bridge needs to be done by both sides in this equation. But it should happen, especially if Bob Stoops decides to get involved.

In the end, believe 100 percent the last couple of weeks will have been much ado about nothing. And it’s more about what OU does from here than anything else.

How does OU not make the cut for Jared Mayden and Xavier Kelly? Two guys basically in their backyard?

They’re another example of where OU falls right now in the national pecking order. Few recruits are able to do what Mayden and Kelly did, which was essentially visit every legitimate school in their opinion and make up their mind.

If neither regional recruit could go on unofficial visits, no doubt the Sooners would have been in the mix. But when you get a chance to explore the rest of the country, it becomes pretty clear there is still a lot of work to be done for OU.

Mayden and Kelly seemed like two recruits OU would no doubt be in there with until the end. The Sooners couldn’t make a top seven for Mayden or a top eight for Kelly. No matter how you slice it, not a good sign.

OU wants/needs elite athletes. But more and more, nationally, not sure OU is still regarded in that same breath with the top recruits as Alabama, Florida State and so forth. Perception can trump reality, and OU needs to turn it around on the field first.

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