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.
Buchanan still weighing his options
The major shakeup in recruiting this week for OU is in the secondary with three-star junior college cornerback Maurice Chandler decommitting from the Sooners on Monday evening.
Chandler was expected to sign next month so it was definitely a bit of a surprise. Conventional thinking was with Chandler out, Suwanee (Ga.) Peachtree Ridge cornerback Baylen Buchanan would fall right into place with the Sooners.
Buchanan, a high three-star recruit, made his OU official visit last month and hasn’t made another visit elsewhere since.
“It has been tough trying to balance everything,” Buchanan said. “Between practice and film and doing homework, it gets pretty late. Coaches start thinking you’re not interested, but that’s not true. It’s just tough to find the time.”
Buchanan was in a tough spot last month as he visited OU the same weekend Pittsburg (Calif.) High Scout 150 cornerback Jordan Parker committed to the Sooners.
He said it was a little awkward only because he knows a lot of people thought he would commit with Parker, but he said that was never his intention. What did stand out, however, was the way the OU coaches responded to his mindset.
“It put a lot of pressure on me,” Buchanan said. “When one commits, everybody assumes the other guy is, too. But it wasn’t like that from the OU coaches. They didn’t pressure me at all. I can say this: I can see myself playing there.”
Buchanan said communication with the OU staff has not dropped off at all since the visit, which is good from both sides. Buchanan’s mindset has been if the school really wants him, then they’re going to be willing to wait and go out of their way to come get him.
Buchanan said he was hosted by former teammate redshirt offensive tackle Orlando Brown, who didn’t pull any punches with how things would be like in Norman.
“He did a great job of showing me everything,” Buchanan said. “He was being very open and honest. He said he didn’t think he was going to like it at first, but he loves it there. He said the coaching staff is great and gets the best out of you.”
The fans stood out with Buchanan. Not just for their love of the Sooners, but for their knowledge of him. Buchanan said it caught him off guard when fans were calling him by name for an autograph and stuff of that nature.
“The visit was everything I thought it would be, but I didn’t know I was going to enjoy myself as much as I really did,” Buchanan said.
He’s still a soft Louisville commit and schools like Georgia Tech and Georgia are still in the running, and Buchanan said Tennessee is now making a late charge although the official offer is not there just yet.
Buchanan said he will dive headfirst into recruiting as soon as his season is over. Right now his focus is all about finishing his senior season in style as Peachtree Ridge is undefeated heading down the stretch.
Terry feeling good about change
It’s a weekly question. With the Sooners doing so well in terms of recruiting linebackers for the 2016 class, where would everybody fit?
When it comes to Tulsa (Okla.) Victory Christian’s Jon-Michael Terry, the answer is obvious. Originally an outside linebacker, he has been moved to inside this season. And that’s exactly where the Sooners see him going forward.
“It has been a good move for me,” Terry said. “I’ve been playing the middle the whole season. It’s a little different. You’re playing the play more instead of just rushing.”
One thing Terry is not worried about is his official visit. He has already made a couple of unofficial visits and said the official one just doesn’t concern him. It won’t be this week. He said it could be TCU weekend. But even if it’s not, again, no big deal.
TCU weekend will be intriguing because although OU is expected to bring the house in terms of visitors, some of that could be negated by high school playoffs. That is the second week of Oklahoma high school playoffs, and it’s definitely possible for Victory Christian to still be alive in the hunt for the gold ball.
With so many unofficial visits in his back pocket, it has given him a chance to see what the OU defense looks like and where he would fit in going forward. Safe to say he loves what he’s seeing right now.
“It has been pretty awesome,” Terry said. “It has driven me to be better. It’s a great defense, and I’ll fit in nicely. Coach (Tim) Kish wants me to play inside, and I think that’s a good fit for me.”
Terry said that’s just another reason why the move for his senior season is so beneficial. He didn’t play much of any linebacker before this year. It has helped him become a smarter player, he said, as well as preparing him for his future.
The inside linebacker position, though, is not a surprise to Terry. When he walked into OU’s junior day back in February, he said the coaches made it clear they saw him as an inside linebacker going forward.
Terry is not the most vocal recruit of OU’s 2016 class, but he said he continues to build a great bond with Kish.
“He’s a great coach and has made things really clear,” Terry said. “It feels like he’s easy to work for and somebody who is always striving to make you better.”
Hardy’s versatility on full display
With each passing month, the question looms about what is it about Houston Spring Dekaney wide receiver Adrian Hardy the Sooners love so much and can’t live without?
Hardy has gone virtually silent on the recruiting trail, but Sooners Illustrated was able to catch up with the two-star receiver earlier this week.
It has been an experience of a senior season for Hardy, who has done everything from being quarterback to receiver to running back and then back to quarterback. Through it all, he has taken it in stride.
“It hasn’t been weird, but I’ve been experiencing new positions, I guess is how I would say it,” Hardy said. “Learning these new positions is giving me more experience for the future.”
Hardy started off at quarterback, but he knows his future is at receiver. It’s the spot OU and Texas A&M have offered him for. With a little bit of prodding, Hardy was able to get the move to receiver to make way for a sophomore quarterback.
Hardy did produce at receiver although it has been another incredibly uneven season for Dekaney. However, an injury two weeks ago, put Hardy right back in the quarterback spot.
“I feel like I could have done more this season,” Hardy said. “I really wanted to make a statement and get us to the playoffs. We had two teammates that had passed away. I wanted to play hard for them and make them proud. I did OK, I guess.”
For the season, Hardy is 38-of-62 passing for 763 yards with nine touchdowns. He has rushed for a team-high 490 yards and three more scores and has 14 catches for 210 yards and three more touchdowns for Dekaney who is 4-5 heading into this weekend’s finale.
On the recruiting side of things, there have been a lot of whispers about Hardy and the Sooners. Does he still love OU? Does OU still love him? Where do the Aggies fall into things?
After speaking to him, nothing is too clear.
“Right now I’m all-in with the Sooners,” Hardy said. “I’m really liking where I’m at right now. We’re good right now. A&M is talking to me every now and then. I might go to A&M (visit). I don’t know. I don’t think so, not sure.”
Hardy said he’s in constant contact with outside receivers coach Dennis Simmons and loves what he’s seeing from the OU offense right now.
“He’s a real cool, cool coach,” Hardy said. “He understands what I want and knows how to get me there. Talking to other coaches, too, and they’ve said Coach Simmons is a great coach. I’m excited with the offense because the wide receivers are getting a lot of attention. They’re throwing it around. It’s fun.”
The A&M question looms, but as of now, Hardy hasn’t made one visit during the season. That should change here soon as Hardy said he’ll be one of the several recruits coming to Norman for TCU weekend in two weeks.
Following that visit, we should all get a much better understanding of where things stand between Hardy and the Sooners.