Sooner Intel, Pt. II: News and nuggets

Part II of the Intel looks at OU's quarterback commit for 2016 and a mega-prospect for the 2017 class.

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.

Kendall at home with Sooners

The dead period in recruiting started this week, but OU’s quarterback commit for the 2016 class got in just before the buzzer with a second trip to Norman last weekend.

Waxhaw (N.C.) Cuthbertson quarterback Austin Kendall, committed to OU since the first week of April, went on his first visit to campus since pledging to the Sooners. He didn’t come alone, either, bringing his mother for the first time. His father came as well, but he was also with Kendall for the initial visit in March.

“I definitely felt more at home this time around,” Kendall said. “I was able to hang out with the players for the majority of the time. I was with Cody (Thomas), Trevor (Knight) and some of the linemen. It was a great time.”

Kendall said quarterback Baker Mayfield wasn’t a part of the weekend and that Kendall said he spent two days with the team, including a night of golf.

The point of the visit was to simply keep building the relationship between himself and the program and obviously to allow his mother to get her first look at the campus and her approval.

That approval happened as Kendall said his mother was very satisfied with the trip and where her son’s future is heading.

Kendall has had a busy spring and summer, participating in various all-star quarterback competitions. He made the semifinals of the Elite 11 but failed to make the cut for the finals. Though disappointed, he’s hopeful he can use what he learned there into his game going forward.

“The one thing they pointed out was I have a lot longer release than a lot of the other guys,” Kendall said. “They worked on shortening my release so I’m excited to see how that goes.”

As Kendall was on the visit, OU added another quarterback to its crop with the commitment of 2017 Mesquite (Texas) Horn four-star quarterback Chris Robison. Kendall wasn’t in the room with Lincoln Riley as it happened, but he’s fired up.

“He’s the 2017 guy and that’s great,” Kendall said. “I saw it, and I’m really happy. He knows I’m the guy for this class, and he was ready to move on to the next one.”

Kendall has accepted the role of being a recruiter for the Sooners even if it didn’t pay off with Parker Boudreaux. A top target for OU, the offensive lineman picked Notre Dame on Thursday.

His No. 1 target remains Beaumont (Texas) Central running back Devwah Whaley, and Kendall is still confident with where OU stands for the Scout 300 prospect.

The biggest issue for Kendall now is when he’s looking to schedule his official visit. He initially thought it would be following his senior season, but Kendall said he definitely intends to be a mid-year enrollee so he’s not sure. He does know he’ll make at least one more visit to Norman before he’s on campus for good.

As for his game, Kendall said he has noticed a difference in his game since the end of his junior season where he threw for 49 touchdowns.

“My football IQ is definitely a lot better,” Kendall said. “I can read defenses a lot better. I’m a lot more relaxed now that the commitment is done. I can just focus on the season.”

Draper taking everything in stride

Signing day for the 2017 class is 19 months away, but there is already one in-state prospect generating more buzz, more conversation than anybody in recent memory.

Collinsville linebacker Levi Draper has had a whirlwind summer with one big offer after another. After offers from Alabama, Florida State and Clemson in a 48-hour period, OU finally offered Draper a couple of days later.

Is it too late for the Sooners? Was he offended by the “late” offer?

“No, it wasn’t something I was really focused on,” Draper said. “I really wasn’t. Everyone is blowing this out of proportion. I’m grateful for the OU offer, grateful for all the offers.

“Every time I talk to Coach (Mike) Stoops, it’s all good, it’s all positive.”

Draper was invited to OU’s elite camp but had already committed to taking a trip to Kansas. On that visit, he was offered by the Jayhawks. It’s just an assumption, but the feeling is the OU offer also would have come his way had he been in Norman three weeks ago.

Draper grew up a huge OU fan. At one point, it felt like a slam dunk for the Sooners to land Draper. There’s no reason to suggest OU won’t still win in the end, but it’s a much bigger battle than it ever had to be.

And as Draper continues to make one big visit after another, he’s starting to understand exactly what big-time college football is all about.

“That is what I’m starting to realize about all these big-time programs,” Draper said. “Everything is nice and everything is all state of the art, but the biggest thing is going to be where I fit in and my relationship with the coaches.”

Draper is the No. 1-ranked prospect in the state and earned a No. 84 national ranking by Scout earlier this week for the 2017 class.

Offer after offer, and all Draper can really do is try to take it all in.

“It has been nuts,” Draper said. “I still think it’s crazy to think about. It’s something I always dreamed about. I’m incredibly blessed.”

The dead period in recruiting last through next week, and then Draper is ready to hit the road once again. Intended trips? OU, Clemson and USC. He has offers from the Sooners and Tigers and said he really wants to develop the relationship with Bob and Mike Stoops.

Draper is not set to list any favorite or have any timetable for his decision, but the one thing he said was he does plan to perhaps make the decision earlier than others, hopefully by spring.

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