Sooner Intel, Pt. I: News and nuggets

First weekend of September and the Intel returns with a healthy dose of OU news.

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.

Valentin ready to take in Norman

When the opponent isn’t a major one, there’s no telling how things will shape up in terms of official visits. Last year the Sooners had zero when Louisiana Tech came to town.

OU has three this weekend and perhaps none more important than Philadelphia Imhotep Charter offensive guard JohnCarlo Valentin.

Valentin, a high three-star prospect, wasn’t on OU’s radar at all until The Opening. It was at the event when he formed a bond with former OU star Trent Williams, and all the sudden, the ball got rolling toward OU.

“He put in the word with me there,” Valentin said. “I guess all the people there (OU) realize how much I resemble Trent as a player. They offered a few days later.”

Valentin flirted with the idea of visiting Norman during the summer, but that obviously never happened. Instead, his first trip is this weekend.

He said it didn’t bother him not having the OU offer going into the summer. He said it would have been nice had he had one heading into The Opening, but it’s not a big deal. What is a big deal is the relationship he is forging with offensive line coach Bill Bedenbaugh.

“He’s a great coach,” Valentin said. “He’s helped so many offensive linemen in the past get to where they want to be. You know he’s going to get you right.”

If you’re hoping for a commitment this weekend, you’re out of luck. It took Valentin less than a second to shoot down that theory. Valentin is visiting OU by himself this weekend so he said he’ll have to most likely bring his parents with him to the school he likes so they can see it.

Valentin has a trip set for Arizona State, and he’s still waiting to hear from other schools. This weekend is all about the Sooners.

“I want to see what it’s like being an Oklahoma Sooner,” Valentin said. “I’ve been talking to Coach B, Coach (Bob) Stoops and the offensive coordinator (Lincoln Riley). I’m ready to see it.”

Listed as an offensive guard by Scout, it’s one question Valentin doesn’t know the answer to right now heading into this visit. He’s not sure if OU views him as a guard or a tackle, but he added it doesn’t really matter, either.

Valentin said he has a lot of versatility to his game, but he does plan to ask Bedenbaugh that question during the visit.

It’s clear OU’s connection for Valentin is through Trent Williams. But why exactly did Valentin and Williams hit it off so well?

“That’s a good question, I don’t know,” Valentin said. “I guess maybe it’s because we look alike and play alike. He has been through all the things I’ve been through, all the struggles. He’s somebody I can see myself modeling my game to be like.

“I look at everything he has been through and where he is now – that’s where I want to be. He’s a great guy.”

Alvarez happy with Robison commitment

OU and Mesquite (Texas) Horn has been a back and forth relationship. OU went hard after 2012 defensive back De’Vante Harris before he ultimately switched to Texas A&M out of the blue.

OU struck gold in two-star center Jonathan Alvarez for the 2014 class but couldn’t get his running mate, Connor Dyer, to join him in Norman for 2015.

Still more than a year away, but OU is rolling once again with the commitment of Scout 100 quarterback Chris Robison, who threw for five touchdowns in his season opener.

Despite the three-year difference, Alvarez remembers Robison well and the families are very good friends.

“Oh yea, definitely,” Alvarez said. “Chris is my little boy. I knew him in high schools. Every time he visited, I was here for him. He’s a great athlete and a good friend.”

Alvarez said he always got the feeling Robison was going to commit to the Sooners, but he had no idea when it would be or how early it ended up being.

“I could tell he loved it, he would talk about it a lot,” Alvarez said. “But he would say things like he wanted to come to the first game and think about it. It wasn’t like a week later where he committed so we must have done something right when he was here.”

Alvarez said the goal isn’t to get every Horn product to Norman although he mentioned how badly he wanted Dyer to be a Sooner. More than anything, it’s about getting the Horn name out there and seeing all of his friends be successful.

At least until they play OU.

“When it comes time to play them, you know, it doesn’t matter. I’m going to destroy them,” Alvarez said.

Walker getting familiar with OU

Moore (Okla.) Southmoore offensive lineman Brey Walker is the perfect example of how you plant the seeds early and hope the hard work pays off.

Walker, a Class of 2018 four-star prospect, was offered by OU in the spring but never got the full Sooner experience until a spur of the moment trip to Norman this summer.

Even though no visit was planned, offensive line coach Bill Bedenbaugh didn’t hesitate to welcome Walker and his family back to Norman to get a full view of things.

Walker introduced himself nationally at The Opening regional in the spring and then really turned some heads with his performance at Alabama, who he says has offered.

So it won’t be an easy race to win, but Bedenbaugh putting in the early work is giving hope the Sooners can find a way to make this happen.

“It was one of the first times we really got to just hang out,” Walker said. “I like him a lot, like his attitude toward linemen.”

Walker returned to OU two more times during camp and is going to make another trip to Norman this weekend to go along with Southmoore prospects Casey Thompson and Quindon Lewis.

Walker didn’t have a crazy summer, electing to only camp at Alabama and then an NFL prep camp in Philadelphia. So the fact he keeps returning to Norman is obviously a great thing, but Oklahoma State is certainly going to be a school to watch as well.

OU was the second school to offer because OSU was the first, and there’s no doubt Walker likes what he’s seeing from both of the Bedlam rivals right now.


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