Things are starting to work themselves out on the recruiting trail. It’s time to start looking more intently on Oklahoma’s “wish list” for the Class of 2016.
Here is an idea of where OU stands heading into January. The number in parentheses indicates the number of recruits OU is looking to sign at the position for the Class of 2016. The names do not necessarily reflect OU’s official board but are the best guesstimate of who OU is targeting.
Committed (1): Waxhaw (N.C.) Cuthbertson’s Austin Kendall. Kendall has been all-in since his commitment and that is not going to change. Kendall has embraced being the face of the class when it comes recruiting and put his recruiting hat every step of the way. He is going to report to Norman this month and will officially be a Sooner.
Favorite: None. Moving on.
Running back (1)
Committed (1): Durham (N.C.) Hillside’s Abdul Adams. Jay Boulware and Lincoln Riley have finally caught their white whale. Adams has seemingly been OU’s top target from the jump, been that faded out of sight and out of mind only to come back in a major way in the last month. A great official visit two weeks ago was sealed with a commitment last month. OU has its top-tier running back for the 2016 class.
Favorite: None. OU wanted one quality back and found him.
Wide receiver (2-3)
Committed (2): Houston Spring Dekaney’s Adrian Hardy. The surprise commitment of the cycle to this point. Hardy had no other offers, but OU got in there nice and early. Following a great trip to Norman for junior day in March, Hardy went home and thought about it and committed less than 72 hours later. He has also been offered by Texas A&M but so far that has not mattered in his recruitment. A great official visit sealed the deal for Hardy, who said he wants to stick with OU.
Tyler (Texas) Junior College’s Ryan Parker. Not known nationally at the time of his commitment, Parker is now. Could end up being a true steal for the Sooners for the one-time TCU commit coming out of high school. Still learning the game, but it didn’t take him long to jump on the OU offer. Made an unofficial visit during the summer, made an official visit during the season so all signs point toward Parker being a 100 percent locked in with OU. Bumped to four-star status last month and No. 1 overall juco WR. Just has to take care of academic business and qualify.
Favorite: Saraland (Ala.) High’s Velus Jones. Still technically a USC commit, Jones had an incredible time in Norman on his visit in November. Add in the fact he has family that lives close to Norman, and OU is in great shape. Problem is Jones has become one heck of a hot commodity, and the Sooners are going to be involved in a pretty big battle until the end to see how it all goes down. USC is not about to back down from the fight just yet.
Houston Spring Westfield’s Tyrie Cleveland. Call it the Kyler Murray Effect. Cleveland committed to Houston last month, but the door is going to remain open because of Murray picking the Sooners. Even without Murray, OU was going to continue to pursue Cleveland. Now with Murray, it has some real ammo in its recruiting pitch.
Houston Langham Creek’s Quartney Davis. Issues at Texas A&M have led to Davis opening things back up. OU has a lot of momentum, including the Kyler Murray addition. Right now it feels like Oklahoma State and UCLA have the edge, but the Sooners will get their first real crack at Davis this month who was never really on Sooners radar the first time around during his recruitment.
Next in line: None. Strangely enough, OU hasn’t been able to connect with a lot of receivers following an outstanding regular season. Perhaps that all changes during the next couple of weeks, but it is a head-scratcher right now. There are backup plans waiting (Zach Farrar comes to mind), but OU doesn’t want to go that far.
Tight end (0-1)
Favorite: None. OU has cooled off with Mustang (Okla.) High’s Blake Williams and nothing to suggest just yet OU has made the inroads with Clemson commit J.C Chalk. Best guess is OU would rather pick up that fourth receiver than first tight end when examining it all right now.
Interior linemen (2)
Committed (2): Harrah (Okla.) High’s Logan Roberson. The definition of why camps still matter. Roberson camped at OU’s elite camp and dominated, having the best day of his life in that sort of environment. Two days he was offered and was committed to OU. His size and strength make him perfect for what offensive line coach Bill Bedenbaugh loves in his guys. Roberson had a great official visit and has already signed his financial aid agreement. He will arrive in Norman this month.
Butler (Kan.) CC’s Ben Powers. OU is dipping back into the juco waters but in a different way here. Powers is someone who has four years to play three with his eligibility. A major riser in the juco ranks in the last month, he visited OU for TCU where he was offered in person. The Sooners made him a priority and got the job done. Powers has signed his letter of intent and will arrive this month.
Favorite: None. That could do it for interior guys. Quality recruits like Trystan Castillo, Blake Hickey and Rowdy Frederick have all received looks from OU and Bedenbaugh, but the conventional wisdom here has always been OU is taking two interior guys. Bedenbaugh has them.
Offensive tackle (2)
Committed (1): Lackawanna (Pa.) CC’s Ashton Julious. The Sooners are on the board at tackle as Julious is officially signed. He a two-for-two guy so there is no doubt some speculation about whether or not he’ll be a tackle or guard going forward. Bill Bedenbaugh did a great job of keeping in contact and then closing the deal on Julious’ visit. Julious will report to OU this month as well.
Favorite: Oklahoma City John Marshall’s Tramonda Moore. After seemingly losing momentum with Moore for the last several months, it all changed with his official visit to OU in December. The Sooners are in the driver’s seat but will have to contend with Oklahoma State in this essential Bedlam battle. The Pokes get their shot later this month, and then we’ll see just exactly where everything stands.
Next in line: Lawrenceville (Ga.) Archer’s E.J. Price. Has flirted with an OU visit the entire season and had one scheduled before cramping didn’t allow him to visit. Will he finally make his way to Norman or will he remain the one who got away? Price is set once again for an OU visit later this month. Sooners seem to be on outside looking in, but they will give it their best shot.
Washington D.C. Archbishop Carroll Jauan Williams. OU has a lot of work to do here, a lot. A visit isn’t even guaranteed and Florida State seems like the clear pick for Williams. But OU’s recent success on the east coast at least puts it in the running. How much? We’ll find that out this month.
Allen (Texas) High’s Greg Little. Could just be more wishful thinking than anything else, but adding Murray might mean something going forward with Little. The two have an incredible bond although Little wasn’t going to play with Murray anyway, being committed to Ole Miss. OU has been there since the start, but it has to get him on campus this month.
On the radar: None, for now. Bedenbaugh seems to putting a lot of eggs in unsure baskets. Still two months until signing day so things can change in a hurry but no clear-cut favorite as to where OU is going to find its answer. One thing with Bedenbaugh is he’s so good at finding versatile guys so maybe some of these interior guys can turn into tackle guys, too.
Special teams (0)
Committed: None. The way Austin Seibert rose to the challenge as a freshman means this is a dead issue for 2016 class.