Sooner Intel, Pt. I: OU news and nuggets

Intel returns trying to break down exactly where OU stands after an eventful visit weekend.

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.


Speights feels the love

It felt like OU did everything right with McAllen (Texas) Memorial four-star running back Trevor Speights on his official visit. Only thing missing was the commitment.

Speights made his first trip to Norman last weekend since coming to OU for junior day back in February when he was still committed to Arizona.

Eight months later, and yea, a lot of things had changed.

“It was a lot better because I had the offer,” Speights said. “I wasn’t wondering if the offer was going to come so I was able to relax. There was a lot of love, too. I was loved on more by the fans who already knew my name.”

Speights has rushed for more than 2,000 yards and has 34 touchdowns in eight games but said he wants to take official visits to Texas A&M, Vanderbilt and Stanford before making his decision.

It will be very interesting to see if things last that long as OU has certainly made it known in the last month he is the No. 1 running back target.

Speights wasn’t the lone four-star skill player on a visit as Sachse (Texas) High wide receiver and Navasota (Texas) High receiver Tren’Davian Dickson was also in Norman.

“I didn’t really know those guys until the visit, but I had a great time with them,” Speights said. “I could definitely see myself playing with those guys in the future.”

Did Speights leave the door open for another running back to come in and take the spot? Only time will tell.


Julious makes the call

It didn’t feel like there was any possible way the Sooners could leave the weekend without one immediate commitment. Things went too well to get the goose egg.

That all changed Monday afternoon when Lackawanna (Pa.) CC offensive tackle Ashton Julious announced his commitment to the Sooners.

Julious, a high three-star offensive tackle, had a great visit and needed just a day to talk it over with family, friends and coaches before calling offensive line coach Bill Bedenbaugh to tell him the good news.

“After my visit, just figured and felt like I belonged there,” Julious said. “It’s the best place for me. I talked to my coaches and my family, and they all agreed with me so I was ready.”

Julious said it was important for him to talk things over with his mother. But after describing the visit to her, he said his mother wasn’t shocked one bit that her son was looking to come to Norman.

Julious said the moment hit him Sunday afternoon when the recruits were taking a tour of the campus and showed them all the jerseys and equipment. He just had to make sure that feeling didn’t go away when he got back home.

He was hosted by redshirt offensive lineman Cody Ford, who had a simple message. OU is a great place to be where you work real hard but can still have a lot of fun.

It was the right weekend for Julious to see everything as OU rushed for 405 yards in an emphatic 63-27 win against Texas Tech.

“It was pretty cool to see the guys work up close like that,” Julious said. “Knowing some of them are going to be my future teammates – it was a lot of fun.”

Coming from South Carolina and playing in Pennsylvania, Julious said he no idea what to expect from Norman or Oklahoma. He said the environment was much better than he anticipated and loved seeing the facilities and campus.

The No. 1 thing that carried the day, though, was the support of the fans. It’s common to hear that from recruits that aren’t from football-crazy locales, and Julious certainly noticed it.

“The whole town is so much behind the football team,” he said. “They give the team so much support. I loved it.”

A lot of credit has to be given to Bedenbaugh, who put in the work with Julious for the last several months. As other schools came in and left the process, Bedenbaugh was there every step of the way.

His first call was to Bedenbaugh to let him know. Julious said his future coach was very excited he committed and knew the interest was still real.

Julious had mentioned possible visits to Arizona State and Florida but said flat out he is done with the process and proud to be a Sooner.

The interesting part, of course, is Julious committing right now just as OU’s offensive tackles seem to be finding their footing. OU is going to be bookended by a couple of young guys for a while with redshirt freshman Orlando Brown and true freshman Dru Samia.

So why would somebody, who is a two-for-two guy without a redshirt season, decide now’s the time to head to Norman?

“The coaches there really kept telling me how much they can use me,” Julious said. “They kept emphasizing how much they wanted me to come and how much they could use my experience.”

At 6-foot-8, it’s hard to imagine Julious playing anywhere else but tackle, but Bedenbaugh has a history of figuring it out once the kid gets to campus and that should be the case here.


Kendall officially a Sooner…sort of

It was more good news for OU later in the week with Waxhaw (N.C.) Cuthbertson four-star quarterback Austin Kendall tweeting a picture of him signing his financial aid agreement with OU.

This is not a binding contract, but it essentially allows OU to treat Kendall as if he’s already signed. If Kendall were not to enroll at OU, the Sooners could face recruiting violations if they do publically comment on Kendall in the future.

Kendall’s senior season has been nothing like his explosive junior year, but a lot of that is because of injuries. Kendall has 15 touchdowns and nine interceptions this season, but Scout’s Michael Clark said Kendall should get some of his top targets back and Cuthbertson could make a nice, late run.

Kendall is going to be a mid-year enrollee for the Sooners so it’s still up in the air as to whether or not he’s even going to take an official visit to Norman.

He was back with his family in Norman to see the Sooners’ win against West Virginia, but there’s no guarantee he’ll be able to get to Norman again before he actually enrolls.

That won’t be a problem as Kendall has said in the past he’s not worried about it. It’s just the difference between a free weekend at his future home compared to just arriving and getting ready to work.


Youngquist ready to battle

Coming off a great official visit to OU last weekend, it’s safe to say Rancho Cucamonga (Calif.) Los Osos four-star linebacker Bryce Youngquist is going to be a Sooner.

Now as to whether or not he’s going to try to recruit fellow Cali recruits to join him, well, that’s still not his style.

“I just back off,” Youngquist said. “Everyone has a different feel. I would never force anything on anyone. That’s a personal decision each individual has to make. Everyone has a right to be comfortable and make their choice. Everybody has a different vibe so you have to back off.”

He’s going to back off on the trail, but he’s not going to back off when it comes to getting on the field. Youngquist isn’t an idiot. He noticed OU’s linebackers last weekend. He has seen the depth chart.

Eric Striker, Devante Bond, P.L. Lindley, Frank Shannon – all gone after this season. The spots are there, all about fighting to earn the nod.

“There are a lot of linebackers leaving,” Youngquist said. “You look at the situation right now, and it’s just you go in and do the best you can and just see what happens. You don’t know, but you fight for those spots and be as ready as you can possibly be.”

With linebackers Ricky DeBerry and Arthur McGinnis seemingly destined for a redshirt season to go along with OU bringing in at least four linebackers for this class, competition should be intense in Norman at the spot heading into the 2016 season.

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