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Sooner mailbag: Early defections?

Mailbag looks at what's happening at OU following early departures.

First recruiting mailbag of the new year so let’s get right to it and see what’s going on with Oklahoma four weeks before signing day.

With Zack Sanchez leaving early, will OU look for another defensive back to close out the class?

Rolling with no on this one. When Sanchez posted he was leaving early for the NFL Draft on Twitter on Friday, it didn’t take OU coaches long to congratulate him and wish him best.

In other words, no surprise. Believe OU’s staff has been keeping this in mind throughout this cycle and have planned accordingly.

What was that plan? This could be where Washington D.C. Woodson athlete Parnell Motley gets the choice made for him. Is he a receiver or cornerback could be answered with Sanchez leaving, guaranteeing Motley being a corner at the next level.

Jordan Thomas will be a junior and will anchor things. And then you’ll have to see who emerges among Dakota Austin, P.J. Mbanasor and maybe the freshmen like Parrish Cobb and Jordan Parker.

Parker and Cobb are both ranked in the Scout 300 so the expectation is they’ll be able to come to Norman and compete right off the bat.

OU won’t have a lot of depth in the spring, but the Sooners should be OK at cornerback once the 2016 class arrives.

With Dominique Alexander leaving early, will OU look for another linebacker to close out the class?

Now this going to say yes about. Alexander’s departure was 100 times more shocking than Sanchez when Alexander announced Saturday.

It didn’t compute, but wish Alexander the best. OU went right back to the offer well Monday with one to Scranton (Pa.) Lackawanna CC linebacker Kapri Doucet.

He’s listed as an outside linebacker and ranked No. 78 in the Scout Juco 100, but OU has had good success in turning outside linebackers and safeties into middle linebackers. Alexander is just one example of that.

Doucet committed to Arizona last week before decommitting Monday because of coaching changes with the Wildcats. OU jumped immediately and made the offer.

The other one to watch remains Miami (Okla.) NEO A&M linebacker Chris Baccus. When you take into consideration everything, Baccus seems like the most natural fit.

He’s familiar with the program. He’s now a pure middle linebacker. And he had one heck of a 2015 season to put himself on the recruiting map.

So far nothing has changed with Baccus and OU. Baccus seemed to be headed to Louisville, but it hasn’t happened just yet. Will be intriguing to see if things heat up once again.

Any other players leaving early and how will it affect recruiting?

The one to watch was definitely Charles Walker. Know it sounds a bit crazy to say because he wasn’t even a starter for the Sooners in 2015, but he has the talent and the tools to have made the leap.

Two things happened, though. One, he missed the Capital One Orange Bowl against Clemson because of a concussion. Two, the Sooners defense didn’t look the same without Walker, and that’s not how he wants to go out.

Walker has emerged in a major way for OU, but 2016 could be his breakout year where he really puts himself on the NFL Draft radar with scouts.

OU has plenty of depth at defensive line, especially when you factor in guys like Du’Vonta Lampkin and Neville Gallimore being redshirt freshmen in 2016.

Walker should be staying, and OU should be content with three defensive linemen for this class and Diron Reynolds has done a great job of swinging for the fences with this group.

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