Sooner Intel, Pt. I: News and nuggets

First Intel of July takes a look at some OU commits and top targets.

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.

Chandler’s journey finally comes to OU

Miami (Okla.) Northeastern Oklahoma A&M cornerback Maurice Chandler has finally found his home. And it’s at OU, even if it’s three years later than when everybody first anticipated this to happen.

Chandler, a three-star juco prospect, committed to OU two weeks ago. With his phone turned back on, he was able to elaborate on where he’s been, where he is and where he is finally going.

“This was a great decision for me and for my family,” Chandler said. “All the support I’ve gotten from everybody back home just makes this even better.”

Chandler’s stock soared immensely during early spring with schools like Nebraska and TCU, among others, jumping into the picture. But following an offer from OU after an unofficial visit the first weekend of April, it always felt like OU was in the driver’s seat.

When Chandler was a standout at Lawton (Okla.) High, he grew a good connection with defensive coordinator Mike Stoops. His grades didn’t allow him to be a qualifier for the 2013 class, but the connection with Stoops never went away.

But even more than Stoops, this was a major win for first-year defensive backs coach Kerry Cooks as Chandler will go down as his first commitment since coming to OU from Notre Dame in February.

“Our connection is really good because he cares about you as a person just as much as he does as a player,” Chandler said. “You can tell how genuine he is.”

Chandler is a two-for-two recruit so obviously the thought will be about making an immediate impact once he hits campus. He said the adjustment shouldn’t be too hard because the man-technique used by NEO is very similar to what he’ll do at OU.

Offered in April, a lot of OU fans were wondering when Chandler was going to make the call. As more time went by, it got a little worrisome. In the end, though, there really was only one choice.

“It was kind of tough, but after talking to parents and friends, I knew I was doing what was best for me,” Chandler said. “Growing up, I was always a big OU fan so this is like a dream come true.”

Chandler committed to Texas Tech out of high school and spent one year at Butler (Kan.) CC before transferring to NEO last year. It has been a long journey, but it’s all worth it in the end.

“I’m viewing things a lot more maturely,” Chandler said. “I was kind of immature the first time around. Now I understand how important my grades are, and I’m just working hard on making sure everything is good to go.”

Chandler said he would like to be a mid-year enrollee, and with the commitment all wrapped up, it will allow him even more time this semester to make sure he does everything right academically.

Parker with first taste of Norman

Not too much has been said about Tyler (Texas) JC wide receiver Ryan Parker ever since his commitment to OU more than two months ago.

Is that good? Is that bad? He’s not saying much, but he is doing a lot. Included in that was his first trip to Norman a few weeks ago.

“I went, and I just felt like I fit perfectly in there,” Parker said. “I felt like I was at home. That stadium is really nice and got me excited. Going up there for that unofficial has given me a lot of motivation to buckle down.”

Parker said he got to spend a lot of time with all of OU’s offensive coaches, but head coach Bob Stoops was not in town for Parker’s visit.

He said that’s not a big deal right now considering his bond is with Lincoln Riley, Cale Gundy and Dennis Simmons. Parker said he hears from either Gundy or Simmons at least every other day.

And if he needed any reassurance about how much the Sooners want him going forward, he received plenty of that during the spring evaluation period. Parker said Gundy visited twice, while Riley also visited once during the six weeks.

“The biggest thing they want me to do is to try to hit the weight room more,” Parker said. “I was a basketball player for so long, and I wasn’t really ever a big fan of the weight room.”

The other issue remains his academic status. Parker is finishing up summer classes and plans to take two more before the fall semester begins. All of this is with the hope that he’ll be able to be a mid-year guy for the 2016 class.

Parker’s recruitment has picked up considerably since the OU offer. He said schools like Texas and Arizona State have already offered with schools like TCU and Tennessee showing strong interest.

The Horned Frogs could pose a problem since TCU was the only school to take a chance on Parker during his high school days.

But after the unofficial visit, it does sound like OU is exactly where it wants and where it needs to be with the three-star prospect.

“I know there are a lot of other schools that are going to come in and things like that,” Parker said. “I’m 100 percent with the Sooners. I don’t see any good in looking anywhere else.”

Parker said his initial plan is to make an official visit to Norman for OU’s game against TCU, which should definitely be the marquee weekend for OU visits this season.

Moore no longer under the radar

There’s no telling how huge of a year it is within the state for offensive linemen. OU already has the commitment of one in Harrah (Okla.) High’s Logan Roberson. And the Sooners made offer No. 2 two weeks ago to Oklahoma City John Marshall’s Tramonda Moore.

Moore wasn’t on anybody’s radar a few months ago. Not because of his talent, but there were some questions regarding his academic standing. Moore continues to work hard in the classroom and is now being rewarded on the field.

In the span of a week, he was offered by Bedlam rivals OU and Oklahoma State. Moore was a standout performer at OU’s elite camp and his performance sealed the deal for offensive line coach Bill Bedenbaugh.

Moore has numerous ties to OSU with his cousin being former OSU wide receiver Tracy Moore and his high school coach being former OSU star receiver Rashaun Woods. But it’s actually Bedenbaugh who has shown the most interest and the first real interest of any coaches.

“It was just a big surprise to me,” Moore said. “I have a lot more colleges coming in now and showing all the interest.”

Moore, who said he is 6-foot-5 and 350 pounds, looks every bit as big as what he says and also earned an offer from San Diego State, while schools like Kansas State, Arizona State and Texas Tech are starting to show legitimate interest.

It was a bit of a struggle for Moore, who had to sit back and watch as other top prospects in the state earned offers in the winter and spring. Woods told him to be patient, that his time would come. He was right.

“Seeing all those guys in my class get offers and be ranked, it was a little hard,” Moore said. “I had no offers – a guy with my size and my skill. I just had to stick to it.”

The hard work has obviously paid off for Moore. Despite the in-state offers and the pressure from classmates to stick around the area, Moore wants to let the process play out.

His plan is to take all five of his official visits before deciding. Trouble right now is those five visits seem to be changing on a nearly daily basis.

Woods said it’s not surprising to him to see Moore start to receive looks. As someone who has been through the process and seen his family go through it as well, it will come when it comes.

“He’s been here,” Woods said. “He didn’t sneak up or anything like that. He has been on the radar for quite some time. And it’s offer time right now. I’ve been in touch with both of the Gundys so this is not a surprise to me at all.

“Recruiting, you know, this is just a process. It’s a process of how they do things. He’s always had the ability.”


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