It’s that weekend in October once again. It’s time for the Red River Shootout Showdown between Oklahoma and Texas.
The Sooners and Longhorns both have a pretty good idea of who they’re attacking for the 2016 class and the recruiting battles aren’t as intense between the schools.
But 2017 is another story. Sooners Illustrated publisher Bob Przybylo and Horns Digest publisher William Wilkerson look at five realistic uncommitted targets being pursued by both the Sooners and Longhorns and state the case for that respective school.
Bellaire (Texas) Episcopal DT Marvin Wilson, 6-4, 309, No. 20 Scout 300
Why OU: The Sooners attacked real early with Wilson, being one of his first offers. The problem is it doesn’t feel like right now it has resonated as much as you would like at this point. Wilson seems to be favoring LSU, and it’s unclear if there’s anything OU can really do to sway things back toward the Sooners. OU has developed a nice initial start, but it’s an uphill battle.
Why Texas: Like the rest of the country, Texas has let Wilson know that he is welcome at anytime. Like the rest of the country, UT probably feels like it is behind LSU at this point. Wilson did attend the Longhorns “Under the Lights” camp over the summer as an observer but, like the rest of the country, he can’t be too excited about what’s going on in Austin these days. Texas has its work cut out here.
Plano (Texas) East LB Anthony Hines, 6-2.5, 218, No. 32 Scout 300
Why OU: The Sooners are one of the big-time favorites here. Every time Hines makes a cut, there’s no doubt OU is going to survive. Based on his actions, you would have to think OU is at least in his top five and maybe even his top three. Hines has made several unofficial visits to Norman and should come back this year and has developed a great bond with OU coaches Bob Stoops and Tim Kish.
Why Texas: Hines is a high-priority guy and a player the Longhorns would obviously love on their roster. But I’m just not seeing it happen. I’d put OU and Baylor ahead of Texas at this point. The good news for UT is that Hines is a big-time Charlie Strong fan and he really admires the way Malik Jefferson plays football. Jefferson is in on his recruitment as well doing what he can to sway the most offered kid in the country. Still, though, I don’t see it happening at this point.
La Grange (Texas) High ATH J.K. Dobbins, 5-9, 184, No. 56 Scout 300
Why OU: Dobbins, if he is indeed a true running back, was OU’s first offer at the position. It’s clear he has built a great relationship with running backs coach Jay Boulware after it started in the spring. OU’s offense is getting more tailor-made toward what Dobbins does best. Dobbins was back at OU last week, and there’s no doubt the Sooners are going to be there until the end with Texas.
Why Texas: Conventional wisdom might suggest that because he lives a short drive from Austin that Texas would be considered a favorite. While that is true the Longhorns have a lot of work to do in order to get the dynamic back to commit. He’s visited UT on a few occasions and came away feeling good about things. But other programs have definitely made an impression on him [OU, Texas A&M, etc.]. The Longhorns are in dire need of a play-making back like Dobbins. UT will be in the mix until the very end here.
Bellaire (Texas) Episcopal OT Walker Little, 6-7, 301, No. 65 Scout 300
Why OU: Certain guys can be difference makers, and it’s obvious offensive line coach Bill Bedenbaugh knows Little is one of those guys. It’s going to be tough to pull him out of Bellaire when you’ve got a list of who’s who in college football going after him, but Bedenbaugh has done an incredible job since getting to Norman and has found ways to win what looked like losing battles before.
Why Texas: The Longhorns are borderline desperate for offensive linemen at this point based on the way their current line is playing and what the cupboard looks like with this group moving forward. Little is a guy that offensive line coach Joe Wickline would love to have on campus and a player that Charlie Strong made sure to keep tabs on when he came to Austin over the summer for Texas’ “Under the Lights” camp. The path to early playing time would be there for Little in Austin. Not sure that will be enough o get him to Texas, but it’s a selling point for UT nonetheless.
McKinney (Texas) Boyd OL Tyrese Robinson, 6-3, 275, No. 144 Scout 300
Why OU: Robinson seems to be the No. 1 priority for the Sooners in terms of interior linemen for this class. OU has made a strong early impression, but these next few months are going to be crucial to keep that connection going. Obviously it would do OU a world of good for Robinson to visit Norman this season. Not the favorite, but OU is definitely in the hunt.
Why Texas: The Longhorns offered Robinson early enough [May 20] to where he should feel like Texas views him as a top priority. He is. He’s one of the very few linemen in his class with a Texas offer. Like Little, the path to playing time would be fairly easy for a guy of his caliber. I think the Longhorns will be in the mix for the long haul and have to be considered a favorite at this point along with OU, OSU, and Baylor.