Sooner Intel, Pt. I: News and nuggets

Sooners starting to make some moves on the recruiting trail.

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.

Sooners making push for Audie

Some offers seem to resonate a bit more than others and that certainly feels to be the case regarding OU and Plano (Texas) East wide receiver Adewale Omotosho.

Known as “Audie,” Omotosho was offered by OU just hours after an impressive satellite camp performance in the Dallas area.

OU definitely wasn’t among the first offers, but you don’t get the impression that will matter in the long run, especially with the relationships he is developing with the OU offensive coaches. A bond that increased immensely because he was at the camp.

“I wanted to go because I wanted to continue building those relationships with the coaches,” Omotosho said. “I got to perform and also got to see their coaching styles. It was kind of a short day, but I did what I could.”

It was enough to get the offer. Omotosho was at the first of OU’s two camps on that day and was officially offered following the second camp.

The offer took a bit longer than most expected, but the connection had already been established. Omotosho said he has been in constant communication with OU coaches Dennis Simmons, Cale Gundy and Kerry Cooks.

Omotosho has a different perspective as to why the offer took as long as it did to happen.

“They were kind of hesitant at first because they wanted to make sure I was highly interested in their program,” Omotosho said. “I definitely am, and I thought going to the camp solidified that interest.”

Omotosho wasn’t looking to get the offer at OU’s camp, but he had a feeling it would come his way if he performed up to his abilities. He said his mindset was a business one, and he was ready to roll.

The Sooners made his top 10, which he released last weekend. You don’t want to sound too confident, but it sure appears like OU is in the very short list even if the offer took until June.

“I had spoken with Coach Gundy on the phone before and learned about the situation they were in,” Omotosho said. “I realized that if I showed up and did what I know how to do, everything would work itself out.”

Omotosho hasn’t been too busy on the recruiting circuit, but he has seen several schools already like Arkansas, Oklahoma State, TCU and SMU. He said he would like to visit UCLA, California, Maryland and OU.

Because he hasn’t seen so many of his top schools in person, it did lead to the question about whether or not he would commit on the spot at if he felt comfortable at one of the campuses.

“I don’t want to rush my commitment,” Omotosho said. “My commitment is an example of the person I am so I’m going to take it seriously. A great visit could play a big influence in me, but it wouldn’t be the smartest decision right then and there in the heat of the moment.”

Omotosho has a quality list in his top 10 and no school has the initial edge. Although Omotosho said he played football growing up, he admitted he didn’t watch much of it and never had that childhood dream school.

OU, NEO a perfect match

Detailed the connection that is starting to form between OU and Northeastern Oklahoma A&M, the only in-state junior college that plays football.

And with OU getting the commitments of defensive end Austin Roberts (2015) and cornerback Maurice Chandler (2016), nobody better to describe their game than recruiting coordinator and defensive coordinator Zach Allen.

Chandler was quite the character on and off the field during his high school days at Lawton (Okla.) High. Sounds like that has not changed.

“The thing about Mo is he never has a bad day,” Allen said. “He loves to compete and has excellent speed. He’s not going to be afraid to get in front of whatever wide receiver is in front of him.

“He’s very coachable and is going to be very contagious with his attitude. A lot of our teams drifts toward Mo because he’s so much fun to be around.”

The coachable part is a huge point because it’s something Chandler said he has really learned while in junior college. He has the maturity now to listen to what is being taught to him and applying it instead of believing he knows what’s best.

Roberts, of course, is more about the academic struggle. We’re going to know soon enough whether or not things have panned out on that end. On the field, however, no doubts.

“Austin is an absolute animal of an athlete,” Allen said. “He has hands that feel like they stretch the whole rule. What sets him apart is his incredible first step off the ball. Once he’s able to hone in on everything, he’s going to be scary.”

Taking raw talent and developing them seems to be what the M.O. is going to be first-year defensive line coach Diron Reynolds. On paper, it sounds like the perfect match. The only issue remains Roberts finishing his two summer classes in a strong way and arriving on campus.

Roberts said earlier in the month he had B’s in both of his classes. If all turns out well, he reiterated once again this week July 26 is the date he has circled for when he would arrive in Norman.

Is Baccus next?

No talk of OU and NEO for the 2016 class would be complete without mentioning the potential of linebacker Chris Baccus joining the group.

Baccus played running back at Beggs (Okla.) High but has made a tremendous transition to being a true linebacker and not just a converted project.

Roberts, Chandler and Baccus all went to OU for an unofficial visit the week before OU’s spring game. It gave him a chance to see the coaches in action and to see where he stands among the other linebackers in the program.

His primary contact has been linebackers coach Tim Kish, but the offer hasn’t been extended just yet. It’s not a big shock as OU seems to be targeting so many top high school linebackers. But once the Sooners start falling off with a couple of them (and you know that will happen), Baccus could come right back into play.

Baccus said he plans to take official visits to at least OU and Nebraska and said the Sooners and Huskers are his top two schools. He does have the offer from Nebraska.

Growing up, he said OU and Oklahoma State were his two favorites. But as it turned out, things just weren’t going to pan out at running back.

“I came up here, and they told me I was playing middle linebacker,” Baccus said. “I didn’t know what to think. I had never done that before, playing offense in high school. My redshirt year was big for me to learn the position and grow into the position.”

Running back has helped Baccus in terms of what he’s looking for at linebacker. Using that natural running back instincts, it has allowed him to play linebacker better because he can anticipate what is a running back’s natural thought.

Baccus is a two-for-two guy so he’s going to have to find a home where he feels he can contribute immediately. Other schools are starting to come into the picture, but again, the schools mentioned the most continue to be OU and Nebraska.

He was around 190 pounds when he arrived at NEO. He’ll enter this season, the team’s leading returning tackler, at right around 230 pounds.

“My size was the biggest adjustment,” Baccus said. “I have a big frame so I was able to put the weight on naturally. I think open-field tackling is my biggest strength. But I can cover, too. I can guard No. 2 wide receivers, and I know not a lot of linebackers can do that.”

Baccus has approached double-digit offers, but the general feeling remains that if OU were to make the leap, it would land another NEO recruit who was originally an OKPreps prospect.

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