Watching the 2016 recruiting class for Oklahoma develop is going to be very interesting. It could mark a point of reflection when looking back.
A record-low three signees were from the state of Texas for the Sooners. And the question going forward is going to be whether or not that’s a good thing, bad thing or even matters at all?
No way to judge that in February, a week removed from signing day itself. Certainly something to keep tabs on in the future.
The debate rages on. The success of TCU and Baylor. Texas A&M going to the SEC opening the doors for the whole conference. Houston putting together a magical season. Can OU recruit Texas? Or more importantly, should OU recruit Texas as hard as it traditionally has?
“We’re always gonna scour Texas the best we can,” head coach Bob Stoops said. “But we have interest around the country we always have gone after since I’ve been here and I believe always have. You get Abdul Adams from DC, who was to me one of our top targets from day one, and same with JohnCarlo Valentin, who we believe is as good a lineman as we’ve seen. So we’re able to reach out and go further.”
True. Despite only having a class of 20 if you include Bryce Youngquist, the Sooners were able to get kids from 13 different states. That sounds unheard of when looking back at previous OU classes that were littered with recruits from Oklahoma and Texas.
The combined number for this class was five. Is it harder than ever before, or does it just appear that way to outsiders looking in?
“I think it’s always challenging,” Stoops said. “Distance or proximity have always mattered to some degree to some kids. But the landscape of college football is different now. So it is challenging. Fair to say, yeah it is as challenging as it ever has been.
“The footprint of college football continues to change. But again, I’ve always felt strongly we have a national brand to go across the country and have for my 18 years of doing it. And will continue to. For instance, Tapper and Striker, look at what they’ve done the last four years. I wouldn’t trade them for anybody regardless of where they’re from.”
The Tapper influence might be growing in Norman as OU was able to land its version of East Coast Sooners in Austin Kendall, Abdul Adams, JohnCarlo Valentin, Parnell Motley and junior college kids like Ashton Julious and Kapri Doucet.
A break or two here with the 2016 class and there might be another narrative. If Chris Daniels (Texas) or Jared Mayden (Alabama) pick OU on signing day, that’s another major recruit. If Parrish Cobb (Baylor) stuck with his OU commitment, singing a different tune.
Instead OU is left with three from the Lone Star State, and OU didn’t even have two of those in Zach Farrar and Mark Jackson until three days before signing day.
For the second time in three classes, OU’s top two signees are from the state of California. In 2014, it was Joe Mixon and Michiah Quick. This time around it’s Caleb Kelly and Jordan Parker.
And for the third year in a row, the top-ranked signee is not from Texas. Sandwiched between Mixon and Parker is Ricky DeBerry from Virginia for 2015.
In the end, maybe it’s all numbers because the last three times the top-ranked signee came from the state of Texas, it didn’t pan out so well. Keith Ford (2013), Trey Metoyer (2012) and Brandon Williams (2011).
OU recruiting used to be based on success in Texas. It’s not anymore. On the other hand, the Sooners have gone back to Texas in a major way for 2017 with four of the five commits coming from the state (Chris Robison, Robert Barnes, Tyrese Robinson, CeeDee Lamb).
So was 2016 an aberration or a start of a trend? We’ll all find out together.