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 bringing the big guns
No other way to say it. When it comes to this weekend, OU has an absolute golden opportunity to make a major impression on multiple top targets.
Everybody has circled (rightfully so) TCU weekend as the weekend of the year, but Texas Tech quietly became something to watch. It helps the Red Raiders 5-2 with the only losses being to TCU and Baylor.
And it helps OU was able to get a 2:30 p.m. CST kickoff time instead of an 11 a.m. start. OK, enough talking, breaking down the official visitors.
McAllen (Texas) Memorial RB Trevor Speights
It’s just a hunch that he’s the one that pulls the trigger. It’s not his first trip to campus so he knows 100 percent what to expect when he gets to Norman. He talked about trying to visit OU after the season because of state playoffs only to accelerate the visit to this weekend.
The signs are there. He’s coming off an unofficial visit to Texas A&M this last weekend. He has set up visits for the Aggies and for Stanford next month, but it just feels like this weekend can end all that drama.
When OU was the favorite for Devwah Whaley, it never made sense why Speights couldn’t just commit to A&M so it feels like the Aggies have just never been too serious about him.
Stanford already has a big-time Texas RB commit in Plano’s Brandon Stephens (also offered by OU) so hard to see the Cardinal taking both of them.
The door is wide open for Speights and the Sooners and the stars seem to be aligning on this one. He has a game Friday night so it will be another rushed weekend, but he’ll get there.
You figure that as long as things aren’t an unmitigated disaster, the Sooners are sitting pretty with Speights. And a real good time could lead to just ending the speculation and earning the commitment.
And why are the Sooners so high on Speights? Through seven games, he has rushed 149 times for 1,932 yards and 30 touchdowns. He’s averaging more than 275 yards per game. Sure, the competition isn’t great down in the Rio Grande Valley, but he’s taking care of business just like you should in that situation.
Lackawanna (Pa.) CC OT Ashton Julious
Julious has been a curious case because OU has been pursuing him for so long now. After taking that visit to Baylor in the summer, thought there would be more scuttlebutt surrounding Julious in the last couple of months.
It has been pretty quiet, except for schools like Florida and his hometown South Carolina making offers. The Gators weren’t a threat at the time of the offer, but have played their way into the conversation.
Offensive line coach Bill Bedenbaugh has been leading the charge here. This is a case where OU sort of needs the commitment but is highly unlikely it will be able to get one. Julious is a major target at a major position of need but still feels like Sooners will have to sweat this one out.
Lawrence (Kan.) High DL Amani Bledsoe
Like Julious, OU needs to make its mark with Bledsoe. And like Julious, sorry, don’t be expecting any #OUDNA this weekend.
OU is official visit No. 2 for Bledsoe, who has already seen Oregon. Trips to North Carolina State, UCLA and Missouri are already set in stone as well.
Bledsoe, of course, was originally a Jerry Montgomery guy, but Diron Reynolds has put in the work to make the Sooners the favorite heading into the visit part of this scenario.
The Scout 300 prospect did visit Norman back in August for a practice, and it’s clear OU continues to do everything right with him. Reynolds either makes the impression or doesn’t and so far everything has been positive regarding Bledsoe.
OU can be picky at defensive end. The feeling is the Sooners will take two for the class with the prevailing thought Bledsoe will be one of them and could be the only one if the class somehow sort of shakes out that way.
Sachse (Texas) High WR Devin Duvernay
The top prospect coming to Norman is the high four-star receiver from a school OU just hasn’t been able to strike it big with so far.
Duvernay’s teammate, OU legacy Jared Mayden, is committed to Oregon and recently stated he is no longer looking at any other school.
Duvernay’s twin brother, Donovan, committed to Baylor a few weeks ago and the Sooners haven’t shown one bit of interest in Donovan.
With all that being said, OU has been hanging around with Duvernay for months ever since his trip to OU for junior day back in March. It looks highly unlikely OU is going to be able to nab Devin when Baylor is also in his top school and has the pledge of his brother.
But you never know unless you try.
New Orleans McDonogh 35 S/OLB Clifford Chattman
Only recently offered as OU has been looking at McDonogh 35 a lot in the last month, Chattman is already committed to LSU. The chances of plucking an LSU commit out of New Orleans don’t seem great, but as of now, Chattman is listening.
The plan is for Chattman to make it to Norman this weekend, just have to see if that’s how things go. He’s listed as a safety, but it feels like he is in that same mold of the outside linebacker/safety with OU at this point.
At 6-foot-5, his size is appealing for so many reasons. If he visits, things could get interesting as OU continues to fight for a foothold in Louisiana.
Rancho Cucamonga (Calif.) Los Osos LB Bryce Youngquist
As of now, the only commitment making his official visit this weekend although others are bound to make unofficial trips.
This is what OU fans have been waiting for ever since his commitment July 31. A major four-star prospect that OU seemingly stole from Oregon back in the summer.
The question has been about visits. Youngquist said OU would be his only visit, and now is the time for that visit. It will be very interesting to hear Youngquist’s take on Norman the second time around and how he felt being at OU as a commitment instead of a top target.
Stoops with no issues on recruiting philosophy
Some of the attention this week has been about the emergence of Will Johnson in the nickel spot for the Sooners. And when you talk about Johnson, you have to remember about his incredibly strange road to get to Norman.
Johnson, like a few others, is another example of OU plucking a kid from seemingly out of nowhere. Taking that leap of faith that he can help the team and will pan out.
Recruiting isn’t an exact science as we all know, but Bob Stoops said he’s happy with the program and its direction in recruiting. Johnson is another showcase of that mentality.
“It shows that we look at everything that comes through our building,” Stoops said. “We watch everything and do our best to evaluate whether a guy can help us or not.
“When we see one we can, we’re going to try to recruit him. Proximity is always a factor in recruiting, but some kids are looking to leave certain places.”
Johnson, of course, was looking to leave Baltimore and prove he could make it on his own. Another common thing usually happens, too, after an OU offer to an out of the blue kid.
Readers have mentioned it many times how it doesn’t take long for a recruit to get a lot more offers after the Sooners take the plunge. If you didn’t think Stoops was aware of this as well, you do have another thing coming.
“We trust ourselves,” Stoops said. “I marvel at how many schools… As soon as we offer a guy, I’ll tell the kid, ‘You bet within five days you’re going to get about five more offers.’ Here they come, a lot of them people we compete with. But that’s the way it goes.”
When looking at OU’s 2016 class, two names come to mind in that same regard in Houston Spring Dekaney wide receiver Adrian Hardy and Tulsa (Okla.) Victory Christian linebacker Jon-Michael Terry.
Following his commitment to OU, Hardy has been offered by Texas A&M but has stayed with the Sooners. Terry, on the other hand, saw his stock soar after his commitment to OU. Several schools have tried to poach him. His message has been the same the whole time: “thanks but no thanks.”
These don’t always work out well for OU, look at guys like K.J. Young and Tito Windham and who knows what will eventually happen with Dalton Wood, but it hasn’t deterred Stoops in any way, shape or form in terms of his mindset and willingness to find those proverbial diamonds in the rough.
Julious not ruling anything out
One of OU’s big-time visitors is big in size, too, in juco offensive tackle Ashton Julious. An OU target for a long time, things had been so quiet lately that it was unclear whether or not Julious was still on OU’s radar.
He is and in a major way. Julious made an official visit to Baylor in the summer but hasn’t made another trip since then. With Lackawanna having a bye week this weekend, it was the perfect time for Julious to make that first in-season visit with OU being the choice.
“I want to see how the school is,” Julious said. “I know they have a good fanbase, but I want to see it for myself. I know I’ll be taken care of if I go there, but you just want to be able to see it all in person. It helps.”
Julious will be coming alone, which he said is a good and bad thing. On one hand, he does wish he had somebody else to talk with and bounce ideas off of during the visit. On the other, he understands it’s his decision in the end anyway so why shouldn’t he be there alone?
Julious’ recruitment had sort of slowed down when the season began. Two notable exceptions to that are offers from Florida and his home state, South Carolina.
A lot of people have pegged the Gamecocks as the clear leader for the high three-star prospect, but with Steve Spurrier leaving, things are definitely more up in the air than they were two weeks ago.
“Somewhat, not too much, it’s tough,” said Julious about Spurrier’s departure affects things. “I feel like the program can still be good. They have good coaches and do feel like they’ll be a good program.”
Turmoil there highlights one thing as Julious said South Carolina has not reached out to him in a long time. The schools that have are OU, Florida and Arizona State. Julious said he would love to visit both the Gators and Sun Devils but has not set up those visits just yet.
One reason for that is because it could all end this weekend. Julious has not been able to watch any OU games this season because of his juco schedule, but he has seen the highlights. And offensive line coach Bill Bedenbaugh continues to be in constant contact.
“Know their tradition at offensive line does help in getting people to the league,” Julious said. “Coach B is in touch with me every week. Every time he is allowed to call me, he does. I feel like he’s a great coach, and we have a great relationship.”
Anytime there is an uncommitted prospect coming for a visit who doesn’t have a clear leader, the question is asked about perhaps committing on the spot. Julious, though, didn’t deflect the question one bit.
“It is somewhat of a possibility,” Julious said. “I’m not going to lie to you about that. It would be nice to be done with the pressure, but I’m not going into the visit with that mindset of I’m going to commit.”
Julious is a mid-year graduate and is a 2-for-2 recruit so you know OU’s constant issues at offensive line actually work in the Sooners benefit this time around.
Despite known for his massive frame, Julious said what helps him stand out from the rest of the crowd are his hands and feet. Of course, to go with his size and strength.
OU sitting pretty with Daniels
Good news in a good position here. Hard to see the Sooners falling off with Euless (Texas) Trinity defensive tackle Chris Daniels.
Daniels, ranked just outside of the Scout 100, has felt like an OU vs. Texas A&M battle the whole time. Yea, Alabama, Michigan and Ohio State are there, but that feels like token finalists.
This should be the Sooners or Aggies. But cross off the Aggies. Texas A&M was able to land T.D. Moton going forward. Moton, a Class of 2015 Scout 300 prospect, was signed with Mississippi State but didn’t qualify.
Moton announced earlier this week he’s officially an Aggie going forward and that sounds like it could open the door for OU with guys Daniels, Jordan Elliott and Marcel Southall.
No way the Sooners land all three and even two of them might be a stretch. But OU is looking good as you possibly can at this point with Daniels, who has tentatively set his official visit for next month against TCU.
You heard Daniels say last week he is no longer waiting until his birthday in mid-December to commit and instead will do it sooner. Think all the writing is on the wall that he’s bound to be a Sooner unless something drastically changes in next few weeks.