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.
Jefferson’s connections led to OU choice
It only felt like a matter of when. Not if but when would New Orleans Easton Charter linebacker Pernell Jefferson commit to the Sooners.
Jefferson, ranked a three-star defensive end by Scout, is going to be a linebacker for the Sooners at the next level and looked like an OU commit-in-waiting since the offer happened in February.
But as OU was starting to rack up the commitments, and because of how complex things can still potentially get at linebacker for this class, it felt like just maybe things weren’t going to pan out for Jefferson and OU.
The hiccup was getting in touch with his coach. Easton Charter doesn’t function like a lot of schools. Commitments, official visits, almost everything goes through the coaches. Official visits aren’t even allowed during the season.
So as July turned to August, it was about getting his coach’s blessing to make the call. The first day of school Jefferson got the approval, made the call and committed.
“It has always seemed like it’s a great thing to be a part of,” Jefferson said. “Everybody there was so welcoming. I was always really comfortable.”
Of course OU had one major advantage in freshman linebacker Arthur McGinnis being in the exact same spot as Jefferson at this time last year. Jefferson, coincidentally, is replacing McGinnis at middle linebacker for his senior season.
If there were any last-second doubts, McGinnis coming home sealed the deal. Jefferson said he was able to speak to McGinnis during the last week before camp, and McGinnis couldn’t say enough good things about OU or Norman.
“He really likes it, you can tell,” Jefferson said. “He said it’s so crazy how everyone you meet is an OU fan and there’s just this football atmosphere all the time.”
There were other suitors out there for Jefferson. He said OU was the choice over Texas Tech, TCU and Arizona State. He’s not sure if he will take other official visits, but with Easton Charter’s position on visits, it likely won’t matter.
Even his OU visit is going to have to come after the season, and it could be a case of all schools moving on and not waiting to see if he has any second thoughts.
As of now, he absolutely doesn’t have any questions about his commitment to the Sooners, especially based on the relationship he has built with linebackers coach Tim Kish.
Kish was instrumental in helping the Sooners sign McGinnis for the 2015 class and that goodwill carried over into Jefferson’s recruitment.
With his commitment out of the way, Jefferson is all-in with his senior season and the move from defensive end to linebacker.
“Things have been going really well,” Jefferson said. “I can focus on my season now. Things aren’t really different, but I’ve put on a lot of muscle and am a lot stronger than I was before.”
Jefferson was commit No. 3 for OU at the position although it’s crystal clear the Sooners are going to most likely take two more for the cycle.
Broiles getting familiar with OU
OU is going to make a living at Oklahoma City John Marshall the next couple of years. Obviously the Sooners are all-in with offensive tackle Tramonda Moore. In building that relationship, they’re also getting to know 2017 cornerback Justin Broiles.
Broiles was a relative unknown before the summer but put himself on the map with one outstanding camp performance after another. Offers have come from Tulsa and Arkansas State so far, and he was back in Norman with Moore two weeks ago.
“It was a lot different,” Broiles said. “They showed us a lot more things. They paid a lot more attention to us. It was a great feeling.”
One of those camps where Broiles was so solid was at OU’s elite camp, earning a top performer nod in what was a stacked secondary group in Norman.
Broiles closed out his recruiting period with a trip to TCU where the message was clear. He said the coaches said he was the best press corner there. Broiles knows how to man up with a receiver, but there are other things he needs to work on.
“It was amazing to hear that, and it let me know there are certain things I have to work on with my craft,” Broiles said. “I’ve been working on my off-technique. It has gotten a lot better, just working with my coaches here.”
It’s going to be an interesting fall for Broiles and Moore. Though he is focused on his junior season, he’s not about to stop going on the trail. His goal is to see as many college games as he can during this season, especially since his coach understands and gives them the weekends off.
One of those trips should be another one to Norman. The stadium won’t be viewed as something beautiful for this season, but Broiles lit up when talking about the future.
“Those renovations are going to be nice,” Broiles said. “It’s going to be beautiful when it’s all done, can’t wait for it.”
OU’s Cali-flavored week
Recruiting has most definitely taken a backseat the last few weeks. OU hosted a number of top prospects during the first part of camp but things tend to slow down as recruits head back to school and start focusing on their own season.
That has definitely been the case, but there was some news this week regarding two of OU’s top targets in the state of California.
Fresno (Calif.) Clovis West five-star linebacker Caleb Kelly released his five official visits with him setting the TCU game as his next trip to Norman. And Pittsburg (Calif.) High four-star cornerback Jordan Parker said he’ll be heading to OU for West Virginia weekend.
Let’s start with Parker. Again, the door is not shut on recruiting more people in the secondary. But it’s going to have to be the right fit.
Parker could be that guy. There were some questions whether or not OU would fall out of favor because of the Sooners dropping Shurod Thompson from consideration.
Parker and Thompson have felt like a legitimate package deal for a while and most had them pegged as Sooners last month and even a couple of weeks ago.
But with OU looking in another direction with Thompson, it’s not nearly as clear-cut for OU with Parker. The Sooners like what they see from the four-star corner and would accept his commitment in a heartbeat.
It’s one thing to say you’re going to visit, and it’s another to schedule it and make it official.
Texas is the shocker since the Longhorns only offered in the last month, but the Horns and Ducks both feel like token visits with this being a showdown of Sooners, Wolverines and the Irish.
OU still seems like the leader in the clubhouse, nothing has changed in that regard. But Notre Dame is going to get the final visit although OU could get the biggest visit of them all depending on how things fare with the Sooners and Frogs before their matchup.
The list keeps dwindling for Kelly, and OU keeps making it. Don’t expect that to stop anytime soon and maybe not ever.
Getting to know Blake
Health issues nearly took away the game of football from Mustang (Okla.) High’s Blake Williams so he’s enjoying every second he’s getting right now.
One day at North Carolina in the summer put Williams on the map, earning an offer from the Tar Heels at tight end/H-Back. Other offers could have followed, but he has no film to provide coaches across the nation.
The story was the same, he said, show us one piece of even mediocre film, and the offer was his. Unfortunately, not even because of injury, but because of an auto-immune disease, football hasn’t really been Williams’ main focus.
He hopes it can be this year. He said he felt fine after Thursday’s marathon scrimmage event, but that he’s still learning even some of the more basic points of the game.
Williams was diagnosed with autonomic dysfunction with orthostatic Intolerance and high blood pressure. Because of this, some of the difficulties he’s had include , causing improper blood flow that can lead to tachycardia (fast heart rate), bradycardia (slow heart rate), palpitations, chest discomfort, low blood pressure, light headedness, gastrointestinal problems, excessive fatigue, exercise intolerance, nausea, visual disturbances, weakness, shortness of breath, mood swings, anxiety, vertigo and migraines.
Williams camped at OU a couple of years ago and worked out for tight ends coach Jay Boulware, but he’ll have to put himself back on that radar this year if the Sooners are ever going to look his way again.
Oklahoma State continues to show a lot of interest as do other schools. Again, Williams knows it’s all up to him to produce the film to lead to the offers. And after all he’s battled through, fighting for an offer is a piece of cake.
“I really don’t feel any pressure right now,” Williams said. “I’m just so blessed to be in this position with a chance to do what I love.”